Reiki is a Japanese healing energy system founded by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century. It uses Ki, the natural life force energy, which flows inside us and around us to offer healing for the higher good of all. Traditionally there are 3 levels of Reiki training, and it can be used with both humans and animals. Human Reiki often focuses on hand positions and moving around the human client who is seated or lying down. This may not always be relevant when working with animals however as they don’t always want or are available for a direct connection. This is where The Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki comes in.
The Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki
The proprietary Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki is a school of Reiki begun by Kathleen Prasad over in America. She trained in Reiki initially for humans and discovered early on in the practice that she was guided to share Animal Reiki with her dog Dakota in a specific way and progressed into working with animals from there and developing her own methodology. Her method includes 6 main pillars or teachings and practices and a strong code of ethics. You can find out lots more information at her website Animal Reiki Source and you can access a free gratitude meditation to try at home too. This was my first experience with Reiki and working with animals.
Working with Cats Specifically
One of the main reasons I was interested in this particular school was that it doesn’t focus on having to have hands on contact with the animals. Working with cats as I do, a lot of them are not too fond of being held or touched. Especially for longer periods of time. Being able to work hands off is a great way to let cats control any Animal Reiki or other healing session. Allowing them to come in and out as they choose is a wonderful thing and a great way to give choice back to our feline friends.
Shelter Animal Work and SARA
SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association), a charity organisation co-founded by Kathleen Prasad, focuses on working with shelter animals. This is something very close to my heart. I have been lucky enough to work with many cats now with Garston Animal Rescue and I am looking forward to being able to offer Animal Reiki to both volunteers and cats within the organisation soon. I am also very open to working with other cat specific charities and shelters around the North West and beyond.
I first tried Animal Reiki with my current foster cat Shiva. For the first time he came out from his den while I was in the room with him. It was a wonderful experience! It was such a beautiful moment and one I will always remember. Cats like Shiva are very withdrawn and frightened so being able to practice without any actual contact or even having to be in the same room as him is a really great way to start to build a connection and trust.
Animal Reiki Scotland
I have been training with Alison McKinnon from Animal Reiki Scotland and I feel that she is such a great fit as a teacher for me. She strongly believes in letting the animals choose what they do or don’t take from a Reiki session. It’s very much about offering healing and love but not pushing or forcing anything onto them. I have termed it “self-selection” energy work as a result! Alison also works with botanicals, self-selection and zoopharmacognosy which I am studying also. She works with local rescue centres up in Scotland as well as those in more far-flung places like India and Egypt which is pretty incredible.
Benefits for Cats
The Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki is such an open and gentle healing energy that comes from the natural energy around us. Nothing is conjured or called upon, there is no negative aspect or removing/dispelling involved. Animals are very sensitive to our energies and moods, cats particularly so. Offering them healing to take or leave on their own terms is a wonderful way to bond with your cat. Cats instinctively hide any pain until it is very severe so regularly checking in and offering Animal Reiki can help keep them balanced and healthy. It’s also a really great way to work with timid, shy and shut down cats and start to introduce them to humans and building a relationship after a possibly difficult past/start in life. Hands on healing can be applied if the cat initiates contact, leaving them with the freedom to move away and back as they please. This only helps to let them know that they have freedom and acceptance. It’s totally noninvasive and can be really calming for anxious cats. Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki is a great healing method to try when things have been stressful for your cat such as moving home, loss of a companion (human or animal), rehoming, building work, etc.
How I Use Animal Reiki with Cats
I use the Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki with my 4 cats to check in with them and see if they need or want anything from me and to address any imbalances they may have. I am also using it regularly with Shiva my foster cat to help build up trust and a gentle connection. His history before being rescued is completely unknown. Who knows what his previous experience with humans is (if any)? I will be offering it as a holistic therapy for cats from August 2021 to any feline clients and to their humans. One of the great things about this method is that it teaches working with humans as well as animals and how to integrate the two which I am excited to explore further. The Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki can be used if your cat has a specific physical or behavioural issue or just for a general wellbeing check. It is always offered to the cat to use how they wish though without directing it to something specific. Cats aren’t able to communicate with most of us about how they are feeling and what their needs are, so leaving it to them to decide seems the best approach to me and why I love the Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki. Hopefully I will meet some of you and your feline friends on my Animal Reiki journey. Both in person and distance Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki sessions will be available. Do contact me with any questions or enquiries.
By SARA Practitioner Katie Gwilt
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