Reiki Debate: Is Animal Reiki a Thing?

In the spirit of the season of debate, I’ve been thinking about some of the more heated Reiki discussions I’ve been a part of over the years. Over this week and next, I’ll discuss a couple of contentious topics in the Reiki community.

Debate and discussion can actually be a good thing, because it gets multiple ideas out there for contemplation, and it can create more understanding in a world of increasingly polarized views. Plus, without debating and challenging old ideas, our world would never advance.

The negative side of debate is when people don’t listen to each other, and anger erupts. Intelligent discussion can turn into something non-productive and cynical. And then of course there are the social media trolls that only bring negativity and disrespect to a topic.

I’ve found that when I debate a topic with someone, it helps me understand more clearly where they are coming from, but also, in communicating my views to them, it can help me more clearly express my own understanding on the issue.

This week, I’m focusing on a statement I’ve heard from many in the Reiki community over the years:

1) “Animal Reiki is not a thing, Reiki is Reiki and there’s no difference.”

I’ve written and taught on this topic many times over the past 22 years, but when someone first challenged me with this statement, I admit I was speechless. I just assumed that everyone else had my same experience and understanding, which was unrealistic. After some contemplation, I realized that of course most Reiki people did the bulk of their work with humans, and had very limited interactions with animals, (or perhaps only worked with their own animals or animals who were friendly and trusting) so of course they wouldn’t see things the way that I did. My understanding of treatment protocol had evolved so gradually over the years with the animals’ teachings, that I almost didn’t realize how much it had changed until I was challenged!

Regarding debating of this issue, over the years I’ve found that some Reiki people are open to discussing this topic and sharing specific stories and viewpoints. I had a long discussion with one Reiki teacher, using specific animal stories to help illustrate why I don’t approach animals with physical contact and why I use meditation. We came to a beautiful and respectful understanding of one another. I’ve spoken to other Reiki people who are very rigid in their treatment protocol (for example that specific hand positions that MUST be used) and after some debate, they did not see what I do as Reiki at all. Other Reiki people (with the assistance of online anonymity), rather than discuss valid points, have unfortunately descended into negative and personal attacks, claiming that the Animal Reiki profession is fake and simply a money grab.

By honoring my inner truth, taking a deep breath and letting go of the trolls, while also learning to explain my position to Reiki people who don’t see my point of view, I have become even more confident in articulating the lessons I’ve learned from many animals along the way. I’ve also realized that my depth and breadth of experience with animals cannot be undervalued and am very grateful to the many years I have devoted to this practice and the animals who have led the way.

"Animal Reiki is different because we have chosen to modify our treatment protocol in order that animals feel respected and comfortable at all times during sessions." Click To Tweet

Animal Reiki is different not because we use some other “kind” of energy, or because we see animals as separate from nature and the universe, but because we have chosen to modify our treatment protocol in order that animals (whom we humbly recognize as sensing and understanding energy much more easily than we do) feel respected and comfortable at all times during sessions.

Next week I’ll share another controversial Reiki topic I’ve found myself debating!

Now it’s your turn! Have you debated this topic? I’d love to hear about it.

How did you speak about it? What did you learn from the discussion and how did it deepen your practice?

Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,

Kathleen Prasad's Animated Signature

4 thoughts on “Reiki Debate: Is Animal Reiki a Thing?”

  1. Funny story: a Reiki Master friend & I were passionately (and compassionately) debating the need to ask the animal’s soul permission before starting Reiki. I expressed that she should just BE Reiki, and if they chose to then receive it they could, but to clearly let them know they are NOT obligated. I shared that I had encountered many “no’s” that soon turned into acceptance, sometimes because of a lesson I needed to learn first! She decided she would ask her Reiki teacher for advice.
    Later that day she reported back, “Kathleen says…..” I almost screamed, “WAIT A MINUTE, you took Reiki from Kathleen Presaad and didn’t already do that?? I’m not fortunate enough to be her direct student, but have read all her books where she stressed that (as did my own teachers), and it’s now ingrained in my very existence!” She and I had a good laugh over that!

  2. Hello Kathleen: Hoping all is well with you and your family and all are staying safe. I hope I am understanding what was said and my reply makes sense.
    1) “Animal Reiki is not a thing, Reiki is Reiki and there’s no difference.”
    I am assuming you are asking this question of debate due to offering and technique as opposed to online teaching, as it is what led me here.
    When humans seek REIKI they are in charge as far as the decision to receive it and understand most of the time what to expect from a practitioner, although many are receiving it for the first time and may have a slight learning curve.
    With animals, it is the human who wants Animal ReikI for them and understand REIKI practice. It is the animals that do not. So here is an animal meeting the practitioner for the first time. It is like meeting any animal for the first time, each will act somewhat differently towards you. I also pet sit and these animals all react to a new person in their life differently.
    Obviously allowing the animals to lead is best and makes the best sense. How often have we went to pet and dog for the first time and it says away? Animals will be more intone to REIKI energies so they will come around when they decide to do so. Yes you can agree or disagree with the above statement, however it is how each person interprets it. REIKI and Animal REIKI “energies” are the same. It is how we deliver and practice with this “energy” that can differ. Some may say touch and others no touch. Giving Animal REIKI to wild, exotic animals is no touch, obviously as is the practice for birds and fish and swimming mammals in their natural habitat. As animals feel more comfortable not only with the practitioner, yet also the REIKI energy they feel. they will relax and come around. At times even coming up to you and asking for your touch at times by rubbing up next to you. Otherwise it is no touch, sort of a non hands on close/distant REIKI session.
    Yes, there is a difference between REIKI and Animal REIKI. I would think it is the delivery and the practice. Look at all the different types, of Yoga, Meditation, and Massage. The mani title is the same, however there are many ways and forms of practicing, and many have various results and outcomes. Animal REIKI is more meditative relaxation for the animals, balancing them for wellness overall. REIKI balances human energies and wellness as well. It too, can be done with touch and no touch. So one can say they are the same and also say they are different, depending other individual interpretations. This allows every individual to to believe, and understand, and practice REIKI/Animal REIKI in a way that best suits their beliefs. It can be the same, it can be different, it is still REIKI. In closing REIKI is REIKI, and Animal REIKI is a separate was we practice with animals. The main purpose should be REIKI and how we practice it. Just imagine what the original lineage REIKI Masters would have to say in this debate. How would REIKI Master Usui react to this debate subject matter? Perhaps it could also be decided by these: For today only:

    Do not anger
    Do not worry
    Be grateful
    Work diligently
    Be kind to others

    With COVID19 it brings a whole new meaning to Distant REIKI and Distant Animal REIKI, it now becomes Safe Distance REIKI & Animal REIKI. So even teaching the various REIKI Degrees nay have to be interpreted. Namaste Safe!

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