Reiki is an easy-to-use energy therapy that is complementary to both conventional and holistic approaches. Reiki translates from Japanese as “spiritual energy,” and is a system of meditative practice that uses mindfulness techniques to help bring the body, mind and spirit back to harmony and balance. Reiki meditative practices are a wonderful addition to any wellness program.
Research suggests that meditation helps people to manage health conditions such as anxiety, cancer, depression, heart disease, pain and more.
A recent study entitled, “Integrative Reiki for Cancer Patients: A Program Evaluation,” concluded that Reiki may “activate the relaxation response.” (Fleisher et al., Integrative Cancer Therapies, 2014, Vol. 13(1) 62-67)
Meditation brings you to a peaceful, balanced state of mind, emotion and physical being. This peacefulness will ripple out! We call this the “Reiki ripple effect”—when we find peace of mind and heart through meditation, then healing, contentment, transformation and renewal will follow. This can happen not only for us, but also for animals and people around us.
The Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA) is a nonprofit, which Kathleen Prasad co- founded in 2008 with Leah D’Ambrosio, to bring Reiki training and treatments to shelter and sanctuary animals. SARA now has over 400 members worldwide, and is endorsed by over 40 animal organizations. SARA supports wellness through its Reiki programs in so many ways, and here are four main ways below.
1) Reiki helps animals build trust with humans again.
Because many rescued animals come from abuse and/or neglect, finding a way to help them to trust people again is crucial to their healing progress.
2) When animals are in shelter environments, they experience an extreme amount of stress. This stress results in behaviors that may not be attractive to potential adopters, such as aggression, fear or depression. One of the amazing gifts of Reiki is the inner transformation it creates in animals displaying stress behaviors. This is because Reiki creates a strong and peaceful space, so that animals can release their stress and get back in touch with their true essence. Once they remember who they are, their sweet spirits can shine through again so that potential adopters can see who they really are. Then it’s only a matter of time until love finds them their forever home.
3) Reiki Helps Animals Through Transitions
BrightHaven founders Gail and Richard Pope often speak of how Reiki has transformed the hospice experience. BrightHaven is a senior and special needs animal sanctuary and hospice in northern California. Since learning Reiki and using it to help with their care during animal hospice, they report that all of the deaths they have witnessed have been extremely peaceful. They now consider Reiki to be one of the most important ingredients to a successful animal hospice program.
4) Reiki helps shelter and sanctuary staff/volunteers learn meditation practices for coping with on-the-job stress.
Burnout and high turnover rates among shelter and sanctuary staff are an ever-present threat, due to the brutal daily realities they have to face. To help with this very difficult issue, SARA Teachers are available to train interested shelter/sanctuary staff and volunteers in simple meditative practices to help them to stay grounded and peaceful, even in the most chaotic situations. This training has been a transformative and life- changing support to shelter and sanctuary staff who practice Reiki.
Written by my beautiful teacher: Kathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki Source & Co founder of SARA,The Shelter Animal Reiki Association.