The typical day for my two dogs starts with a big hug, a hearty breakfast, a post-breakfast treat and a morning Reiki session. And it’s tough to say which ritual they enjoy the most. Reiki for dogs has the power to soothe, heal, relax and energize. It has become a regular habit in our household, and your dogs may dig it, too.
What’s Reiki for Dogs?
Reiki’s an ancient Japanese healing practice. It involves the channeling of a natural healing energy from its divine source into a subject. The divine energy is believed to enter the Reiki practitioner through the crown chakra on the top of the head. It then flows through the practitioner and out through the palms of the hands.
There are several dog chakra points, including the crown, heart and throat.
The practitioner is not contributing or generating any energy on her own. She merely acts as a vessel through which Reiki can flow freely to its designated target. Anyone can become a practitioner by undergoing what is known as Reiki attunement. Here a Reiki Master channels special energies into the student, opening the way for the student to channel Reiki energy herself.
Laying the hands on a specific location can help focus the Reiki on that particular part of the body. Reiki is intelligent energy with a mind of its own and it goes exactly where it’s needed. It can travel over great distances across the world or small bounds across the room. It can even go into the past or future to help heal previous trauma or pave the way for tomorrow’s endeavors.
Reiki is also smart enough to know how much energy, making it impossible to overdose on energy or otherwise cause harm. Think of Reiki for dogs as a natural supplement, kind of like daily vitamins that just so happen to be packed with nutrients.
What Reiki Can Do for All Dogs
The benefits of Reiki may not always be obvious, either in dogs or humans, but there are many to be had. Reiki can help:
- Ease pain
- Boost the immune system
- Decrease healing time after surgery or illness
- Remove emotional or psychological blocks that are impeding physical health
- Reduce stress and promote relaxation
- Enhance well-being
- Strengthen the bond between practitioner and subject
[Related: There are also benefits of using reiki for dog aggression. Find out more here]
A Typical Reiki for Dogs Session
A Reiki session for humans involves a comfy massage table to lay on. The practitioner lays her hands on different areas of the subject’s body. Sessions usually last about an hour.
At the end of a session, the practitioner performs a sweeping motion around the subject. This smoothes out the energy, channeling all excess energy out the window, door, or otherwise out of the room and back into the universe.
A session of Reiki for dogs is a bit different. For starters, dogs aren’t usually apt to hop up on a massage table and lie quietly on their back for an hour. They may also prefer to receive Reiki from a distance, like across the room, rather than have the practitioner touch them.
A good way to start is for the practitioner to sit on the floor with the dog in the room. Invite the dog to share in the Reiki session if the dog so desires.
It’s also helpful to let dogs know they can take as much or as little Reiki as they wish to ensure they know they have a choice as to how much Reiki they receive.
If the dog approaches the practitioner and appears to want to be touched, the practitioner can place her hands in a series of positions that are comforting to the dog. You don’t need a timer to let you know when the session is over. Dogs are not bashful about getting up and leaving when they’ve taken in the amount of energy they need.
What Reiki Has Done for My Dogs
When I invite my dogs to join in my morning Reiki sessions, they immediately come romping into the room. After lighting incense and flipping on the music, I lay back on the couch as my dogs take their normal positions.
Hyperactive Belgian Tervuren Reggie is a lover who can’t get enough petting. He typically can’t get enough Reiki, either, lying by my side or on my chest throughout the entire Reiki session. He’ll frequently nudge my hands to move them where he wants the Reiki to flow.
My laidback mixed breed Elmo, a rescue with scars and a mangled foot from past abuse, prefers Reiki from a distance. He usually lies on the floor on his side in the middle of the room.
Reggie jumps up and leaves the moment I start the finale energy sweep. Elmo stays put, staying in the same position long after the session is complete.
I’d like to say Reiki has calmed down Reggie enough to walk without pulling on a leash. That it has healed Elmo’s past anguish enough to remove his fear of strangers. I’d like to say it has transformed my hounds into well-behaved beings that no long bark at everything that walks by. But it hasn’t. And it may never do so.
Because Reiki has a mind of its own, it’s going to do what it’s needed to do – which is not necessarily what you want it to do. Reiki’s job is to do whatever is in the greater good for all, something we humans may not always be privy to.
I have, however, seen instant results when I use Reiki to relax my dogs when they’re particularly nervous or upset. I’ve seen my dogs become noticeably calmer when I turn it on during crazy moments to soothe distress.
And you can use it to help your dog at home too.
Touching Techniques You Can Use at Home
Here are some touching techniques you can try even if you aren’t a Reiki practitioner. While you may not be channeling Reiki energy through your touch, placing your hands gently on your dog can still serve to soothe and comfort him.
Dog Reiki Hand Positions: Keep your hands flat, palm down, with your fingers and thumbs held straight and pressed together. Keep your hands in this position when placing them on your dog.
For General Relaxation
These touching techniques start at the neck area and then move down your dog’s body to finish off near the base of his tail. Hold each hand position for several minutes. Breath deeply and let your own relaxed vibes seep into your hound.
Shoulders: Place your hands side-by-side on your dog’s shoulders. Both hands can be on one side of your dog if he’s lying down, or above each shoulder blade from the back if he’s sitting or standing.
Midsection: Place your hands side-by-side on your dog’s belly area if he’s lying down. Place them in the middle of his back, on either side of the spine, if your dog is sitting or standing.
Lower Back Area: Place your hands side-by-side on your dog’s hind area near the base of his tail. Keep hands side-by-side if he’s lying on his side; hold them on either side of his spine if he’s sitting or standing.
For Emotional Healing
Certain hand positions can help with emotional healing and balance. Here are two you can try.
Back and Chest: Place one hand gently on your dog’s back between the shoulder blades, the other on his chest.
Head and Chest: Place one hand lightly on your dog’s head and the other on the chest.
Just because you may not notice obvious changes in your dog after a Reiki session, that doesn’t mean Reiki for dogs isn’t hard at work behind the scenes. There are probably small changes or adjustments that you can’t see or feel but will eventually come to realize.
Besides, you can never go wrong making it a regular habit to relax and bond with your dog, whether it’s with a Reiki session, gentle touching techniques, or simply giving your pooch a big hug before breakfast every morning.