You may have heard of the ancient Japanese holistic therapy Reiki. But did you know that it can be used for pets?
It’s a complementary treatment that uses hands on healing and sends messages to the dog’s aura.
This helps to treat emotional, behavioural and physical problems.
To see how holistic therapy works with animals, we met Maria Quin, a Reiki practitioner and dog groomer in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
Daisy had recently undergone an operation to replace a pin in her knee cap from surgery to correct a luxating patella.
Maria explained that Reiki would certainly help, not just for the injury but for Daisy’s sense of well being too.
“People see it as a way of giving something back to their pet for all the happiness they bring.
She said: “It’s such a kind and gentle treatment that improves their health and makes them content.
“The treatment can’t cure a condition like this but it can ease the lameness and help speed up the dog’s recovery.”
So what happens when you take your dog for Reiki?
Well first, it’s vital that the pet feels relaxed.
Maria explained: “It’s important for the dog to be settled and calm so I either treat them in their own home or they come to my house.
“I introduce myself and explain that I am going to treat them and establish the trust between us.
“I let the dog have a wander around and wait for them to settle and come to me to be treated.”
Once Daisy felt at home, we popped her on Maria’s treatment table.
It’s similar to those you would see at a vets and this normally makes Daisy nervous.
With Maria, she stood calmly on the table and even had a lie down!
As she carried out the Reiki, Maria talked me through the process.
“I start by stroking and soothing the dog then move my hands over their body,” she said.
“When I come to the part where the dog has a problem, I can feel a change in their temperature.
“With Daisy, I felt this in her back leg where she’d had the operation.
"The dog will feel a warm and tingling sensation.
“It’s very relaxing for them and I can tell when they are feeling the treatment.
"They will bow their head and feel sleepy and relaxed.
“It sends energy through my hands to the dog rebalances, their mind, body and emotions.
“Afterwards they will feel tired but will be relaxed and more settled.
"Hopefully with Daisy it will ease the discomfort she feels in her leg.”
I took along photographer Nigel Bennet to show what happens when Daisy had her treatment.
The photos were taken at the end of the session.
This was so both Daisy and Maria could focus on the Reiki and at first, Daisy did look a little startled.
Daisy was relaxed and sleepy, and did a few big yawns too!
But as the treatment went on, she looked more relaxed and sleepy, and as you can see on the photos, she did a few big yawns too.
“This shows her relaxing,” Maria explained.
In fact (and we didn’t photograph this) Daisy was so relaxed she went to the toilet on Maria’s floor!
I was completely mortified but thankfully she was totally understanding!
Did it work?
Daisy was certainly more relaxed that day and spent most of it snoozing on the sofa which was very unlike her.
It was a few years ago that she had Reiki as you can probably tell - she had much less white on her face!
Her lameness was slightly less too.
Reiki isn’t just for physical issues though - it helps dogs emotionally too - especially in times of distress.
Reiki helps dogs emotionally too.
This is a really sad story, but Maria told me that she used Reiki when her dog Quin, a Tibetan terrier, was dying.
She had an inoperable tumour in her stomach.
Maria knew when her health began to deteriorate the kindest thing to do was to put her down.
The night before, she gave her Reiki to settle her.
Maria recalled: “It was heartbreaking as I loved her so much and had her for nearly 14 years.
"But she was suffering and I didn’t want her to be in pain.
“Before the vet came to put her down I stayed with her and gave her Reiki all night.
“It sounds mad but animal lovers will relate to it.
"I spent the night talking to her and recalling the good times that we had together.
“She knew it was her time, but rather than being distressed and frightened she was calm and serene.
"The Reiki made her passing away easier.”
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