Reiki is an energy healing technique developed by Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1900s. The word “Reiki” is usually translated as universal energy or universal life force. “This life force, when activated, brings the receiver into better harmony and accelerates the body’s natural healing processes,” says Sally Morgan, a holistic physical therapist whose services include Reiki for pets.
Practitioners use hand positions to channel healing energy. It’s not with the intention to heal, but rather to offer energy for the receiver’s body to use as needed. Reiki for dogs or cats can take place using a light touch directly on, or above, the body, or it can be done remotely. “Remote healing can be a leap for some, but it’s not that complicated. It’s energy, so it doesn’t matter whether the animal receiving Reiki is in the same room or halfway around the world,” says Ingrid King, Reiki Master and publisher of The Conscious Cat.
The original Usui style of Reiki, the most widely practiced style, has 12 standard hand positions: four on the head, four on the upper body and torso, and four on the back. Human and dog Reiki hand positions are similar, with minor adjustments for size variances. Reiki for cats is pretty much the same as Reiki for dogs, again adjusting for differences in size.
“The different and unique part about Reiki for pets is that they will move their bodies around and let you know where they want the Reiki, because they’re intuitive and in tune with energy itself,” says Diane Larson, a Reiki Master who works with people and animals.