WORDS: Claire Munnings
You’ve already heard of Reiki, but do you realise the immense impact this energy healing therapy can have on humans and animals? We meet the practioners themselves to find out the profound effect it has on them, too…
As spiritual healing techniques such as acupuncture, sound healing and crystals hit the mainstream, Reiki is certainly stepping into the limelight. People across the country are booking themselves in for a session and benefiting from the transfer of energy and physical and emotional alignement it focuses on.
But, what exactly is it and what can it help with? Paul Miles (paulthehealer.co.uk) became a Reiki master more than 10 years ago and has helped around 400 Reiki practitioners attune to the practice. As he tells us, the spiritual technique originated in Japan in the early 20th century and involves practitioners balancing the energies working within us to allow our body to work its own healing magic. “Reiki is described as universal life energy,” he explains. “It is defined as the power that acts and lives in all created matter. The word consists of two parts: the syllable ‘ki’ relates to the vital life force energy that flows through all living beings while ‘rei’ refers to the Universe and describes the universal boundless aspect of this energy.”
For Paul, Reiki is a powerful tool that has numerous benefits. “Reiki plays a big part in my life, I Reiki my food, water, flowers and pets, as well as humans,” he says. “Reiki is an immeasurable gift and a wonderful way to help one develop conscious awareness – the very key to enlightenment.”
According to Paul, in a normal session a Reiki healer will use their body as a channel and pass energy from Source to their client using a serious of light touches or sweeping movements across the body (for more about what you can expect from a session, see the previous page). Proponents of the technique believe this has the potential to help in all aspects of life: it’s thought to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself, re-establish spiritual equilibrium, support mental wellbeing, loosen up blocked energy, promote relaxation and even help relieve the experience of pain.
It’s a popular treatment that has endless applications and is enjoyed by people across the world.
Flowing through all life
As Paul has touched on, it’s not just humans that can benefit from Reiki. Animals can also feel the power of this universal energy and be greatly affected by the self-healing it promotes. This is something that practitioners such as Sam Roe and Kate Chandler can attest. Sam runs Animal Reiki Care (animalreikicare. com) and offers healing for all types of animals in family households, animal sanctuaries, foundations and rescue centres across the world, while Kate is the founder of Equiheal (equiheal.co.uk) and offers Reiki healing for horses and pets in Essex, Suffolk and Kent. Both have seen the impact of the treatment first hand.
“Reiki is such a gentle and powerful therapy and can help maintain an animal’s wellbeing throughout their life,” Sam explains. “Animals are deeply connected to their surroundings and they too can experience deep emotional trauma. Reiki treatments are effective for those suffering anxiety or fear as this helps them to trust, relax and rest. If your animal is suffering from physical pain or recovering from surgery or illness, Reiki can also help soothe symptoms and enable their bodies to rest and recoup. It is known to help creatures become more relaxed and open to receive further therapies such as physiotherapy or hydrotherapy, too.”
As Kate tells us, animal Reiki works in much the same way as human Reiki. “The practitioner, or healer, channels Reiki energy and shares it through their hands, working with the chakras in the body to achieve a holistic balance and providing a foundation to enable the animal to heal itself,” she explains. Animals have the same seven chakras as we do, as well an extra one found at the shoulder. Known as the brachial chakra, this is the main energy centre in animals and is often where practitioners will start a treatment.
“As with humans, touch is not necessary to provide a beneficial Reiki treatment and this is very useful with nervous or traumatised animals – much comfort can be sent to them with no need to restrain or handle them,” Kate adds. “While watching an animal having a Reiki treatment you will see the different ways that they release negative energy and absorb the good energy – sometimes they yawn to release, they will twitch the skin, make mouth movements, stretch their bodies or even pass wind. They let their bodies totally relax, often closing their eyes, to take the positive energy in and let it do its work.
“I learn something new from every single animal I treat – it is very humbling and enriching,” Kate adds. “The feedback I get from the animals during the treatment is pure and not tainted by expectation or scepticism, which makes them very powerful.”
A two-way path
The benefits of Reiki are multi-fold. Not only does it support recipients of the therapy, but the healers themselves also gain a great deal.
“Reiki has given me my life back,” Sam says. “I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia more than 10 years ago and I have never felt at my best health-wise until I started Reiki. This has helped me move forward and start a new path in my life. I get pure joy and enlightenment from every Reiki session I give and I have seen the wonderful healing impact it can have when animals choose to connect to the Reiki space. I have witnessed amazing transitions in their behaviour and know I can offer comfort during difficult times.”
Kate has had a similar experience. “Discovering Reiki was like unlocking the door to something that I always knew was there but couldn’t find,” she says. “To be able to use healing energy for animals, people and myself in all sorts of situations is empowering in a dramatic but gentle way. It makes you aware of the world and more sensitive to the energies around you in a very deep way. It is wonderful to be able to help and to know that it is a sustainable, lasting way to make a difference. It has changed my life totally and helped to make me more self-sufficient, calm and confident.”
Inside the energetic space
If you feel inspired to book a Reiki session – either for yourself or for an animal in your life – the key is to find a practitioner that you feel comfortable with. Many healers work slightly differently, so it’s important to find someone you connect with personally.
Approach the treatment without fear and judgement, too. “Reiki can do no harm to either recipient or practitioner,” Sam says. For her, having an open mind is key as this offers the perfect opportunity for you to tap into your own energetic potential and prospective growth. “It’s in the energetic space of healing that signs of inner peace and relaxation take place,” she explains.
Paul agrees. “It is through this therapy that you can experience the blessing of spiritual growth and change,” he says. “As in most things in life, Reiki must be experienced to be appreciated.”
So, whether you’re just beginning your spiritual journey or have already connected with your own inner power, why not try it?
What you can expect in a Reiki session
As Paul tells us, receiving a Reiki treatment from a practitioner is a very straightforward process. You simply lie on a bench or sofa and relax. If you are unable to lie down, you may be given a chair to sit on. “There is no need to remove any clothing as Reiki will pass through anything, including plaster casts,” he explains.
“The practitioner will then gently place their hands non-intrusively in a sequence of positions which cover your whole body. They may also just put their hands near your body if you’d prefer not to be touched. The whole person is treated rather than specific symptoms and the Reiki will flow and go where needed.” A full treatment usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour.
Reiki practitioner Carlotta Artuso (carlottareiki.com) offers distance healing sessions as well as Reiki in her home and at her clients’ homes. “During a Reiki Level 2 course, practitioners learn and receive three symbols, one of which is the ‘distance symbol’, and this allows every Reiki practitioner to send healing energy beyond time and space limitations” she explains.
“Before a distance Reiki treatment, the practitioner need the name and location of the person in order to tune in. Distance Reiki treatments are as effective as normal treatments, even though they don’t include physical touch, and it’s recommended that the patient relaxes and stays still while receiving the energy. To create more atmosphere, I invite patients to light candles or incense, and I check that they are comfortable throughout.”
Communicating with animals through Reiki
Kate explains how animals can connect with their healers…
“People sometimes expect a communication to happen while their animal is being treated with Reiki. While it isn’t guaranteed, it can indeed happen and it’s wonderful when it does. Sometimes they send images or even a short ‘movie’ memory or vision to the healer’s mind. Sometimes a word or a feeling may become apparent. With pain issues, I find that the animal will communicate the pain either by transmitting it to the corresponding place in my own body or I will pick it up through my hands when they are over or on the painful area. They can also send their emotions through me so they can be released, which is all part of the clearing process.”
Want to find out more about how the energy healing can benefit you? Discover 10 ways Reiki could heal your life.