dog initiates contact while a black woman meditates close by while practicing reiki with animals

Top Tips for Practicing Animal Reiki

Our top tips for practicing Animal Reiki will have you rethinking everything about sharing Reiki with animals!

a baby bird perches on a man's hand just above the grass as he uses tips for practicing animal reiki with wildlife

Our Top Tips for Practicing Reiki with Animals Will Change Your Relationship with Them.

Animal Reiki is a wonderful way to support your animals when they need you the most! Many people are familiar with Reiki for humans as a “’hands-on” healing therapy; however, in order to respect animals’ preferences and sensitivities, Animal Reiki practitioners should make important modifications in their approach with animals, especially when it comes to physical touch

In this blog, we are going to cover the following pro tips for practicing Reiki with your pets and other animals:

a monkey relaxes in a hot pool in Japan while people nearby practice animal reiki in the Japanese style

Let’s go over some of our top tips for creating successful Animal Reiki sessions using the Let Animals Lead® method of Reiki.

What is Reiki and why is there a difference between Human Reiki and Animal Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese healing therapy (originating in Japan 100 years ago) that is often used successfully in human hospitals and hospice centers around the world.  According to numerous scientific research articles and much anecdotal evidence, Reiki activates the parasympathetic response in clients (human and animal), creating stress-relief, deep relaxation and a strong sense of well-being. When our body, mind and spirit is at rest, our natural healing mechanisms can work their best! 

Human Reiki sessions use hands positioned lightly on, or just off, the body to relax the client. Humans sense energy most easily through touch, and so it makes sense that touch is central to a human Reiki session. Animals, however, sense energy a lot differently than humans do.

We Have to Approach Animal Reiki from a Different Angle than Touch.

Animals sense energy differently than humans do and animals are much more sensitive to energy than we as humans are, so it’s important to recognize and honor that when connecting with animals through Reiki sessions. 

This sensitivity to touch that animals feel makes animals our greatest teachers when it comes to energy work and we need to respect that about them and listen to their wisdom. And, to do that, it’s so important that we change the way we approach practicing Animal Reiki by modifying our Reiki mindset. 

a blonde woman stands with hands in gassho as she invites animals into her Reiki practice without laying hands on them with the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal reiki

How to Modify Reiki Sessions to Respect Animals and Learn from Their Energy

1) Be Mindful of Your Purpose

A very subtle but important way to begin connecting energetically with animals is through intention. This is the first place to start in creating a gentle and safe space that animals can trust. First, remember your purpose as a practitioner: you are there to hold space, not “fix” issues. You need to see deeper than what is “wrong,” to the inner, bright spirit of the animal: that place of All is Well. Remember the energy you are bringing to the space—stay grounded and peaceful, no matter what situation the animal (and their family) may be facing.

a blue butterfly perches on a woman's hand while she practices the let animals lead method of animal reiki with wildlife

2) Let Animals Lead®

To begin the session when practicing Animal Reiki, always make sure to set your intention in an open way that asks the animal’s permission. 

Here are a few ways Let Animals Lead® practitioners begin Reiki sessions with animals:

  • By asking, “Would you like to share Animal Reiki today?”
  • By saying (or thinking), “I invite you to share space with me today during this Animal Reiki session.” 
  • By dedicating all the energy of their meditation to the animal and inviting them to connect, and then leaving it up to the animal to decide.  

Remember, the Animal Reiki session is about them, not you: their comfort, their happiness, their peacefulness.

a woman sharing Reiki with dogs smiles as she puts a gentle hand on two who are seeking  physical touch as part of her Let Animals Lead® training with Kathleen Prasad

3) Recognize an Animal’s Choice

It’s one thing to ask an animal’s permission to connect during an Animal Reiki session, and quite another to recognize their comfort and preferences.

Depending on the species you are working with, animals can show different signs of comfort and acceptance of your presence, relaxation, and stress relief, and these are what you are looking for to show that the animal is happy with the Animal Reiki session. 

We must constantly observe and listen, throughout the session, to make sure animals are happy in each moment:

  • Some animals may sit, lie down, or stand in a relaxed manner. 
  • Licking and chewing, deep sighs or yawns can also indicate an animal’s comfort with Animal Reiki. 
  • Other animals will have periods of rest and periods of activity within the session. I call this the natural “ebb and flow” of a session.

Throughout it all, regardless of movement and/or periods of rest or activity, the animal should be accepting and comfortable with your presence as the practitioner.

If an animal shows aggravation or active discomfort with your presence, this is an indication that they are not comfortable with connecting in the session, and the practitioner should respect this by stopping.

Four Tips to Achieve Perfect Animal Reiki Connections

As you can see, animals require a deeper sensitivity from us, as humans, from the very beginning when we start practicing Animal Reiki. 

Once they are comfortable with our purpose and trust that they are leading the session, there are four ways we can assure a successful Animal Reiki connection every time!

One: Let go of believing you have to use your hands!

Although hands and physical touch are central to human Reiki sessions, because animals are more energetically sensitive than we are, we’ve got to be able to let go of using our hands when working with them. Many don’t want to be touched or approached and using our hands or trying to send Reiki to animals puts them in a high state of agitation and distress—the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve when sharing Reiki with them.

Hands aren’t needed in Animal Reiki sessions!

Try to think of your hands as merely a part of the whole “space” of peace and compassion the Animal Reiki session is creating within and all around you.

Because some animals don’t have good past experiences with hands (and hands aren’t safe or good to them), we would never want to make them uncomfortable by pushing physical contact where it isn’t wanted.

Animals don’t have hands, and this is not the way they express compassion, presence and peacefulness. 

It is our responsibility, as Animal Reiki practitioners, to meet them where they are—heart to heart. Don’t imagine you are “beaming” energy out of your hands.

Not only that, but some animals, such as wild animals or very sick or old animals, cannot be comfortably or safely touched. By letting go of hands, we are challenged to find a deeper, better way to connect energetically.

Only use your hands if animals initiate contact.

If animals come forward during an Animal Reiki session for touch, then simply place your hands wherever they offer. As long as the animal is the one initiating the touch, we know it is what they want, and there is no reason to move your hands to various pre-determined positions; if animals want different areas to be touched, they will be the ones to move their bodies. 

Let the animals be the ones to lead any touch that may happen during sessions.

Two: Be Aware of Your Physical Impact on the Animal

There are so many ways our physical presence can create discomfort in an animal:

  • Some animals feel uncomfortable when you are too close. 
  • Some animals may be sensitive to direct eye contact. 
  • Some animals don’t like it when you are taller or standing over them. 
  • Some animals prefer when you are facing slightly away from them. 

Be flexible in your physical posture and distance, and continue to take steps back or redirect your direction or gaze until animals show you they are comfortable with your presence. If you’re paying attention, you’ll feel it and see it when they become comfortable with your distance and position. 

Keep re-evaluating this during the entire session and stay adaptable.

Three: Keep Your Focus Inward

Because we must let go of hands and physical touch, as practitioners we can no longer rely on these things during sessions. Instead, we should keep our focus on our meditation and keeping our energy calm and grounded. In this way, our focus stays inward (on the breath if we are doing a breathing meditation, or on the precepts if we are doing a precepts meditation, and so on). During an Animal Reiki session, our “ritual” of the session is on the inner meditation, not on the outward hands-on positions, as it would be for a human session.

When animals feel our focus inward, rather than outward, it helps them feel more comfortable and trusting to connect with us.

Four: Stay Positive

Animals are very aware of our thoughts and emotions when we are connecting with them. They can feel very uncomfortable when we are focusing on what is “wrong”—their ailments or their struggles or their diagnoses, and so on.

Help animals by seeing them as whole and perfect! 

To help animals feel safe while we are practicing Animal Reiki, we should see them with our “Reiki eyes” (in other words, with our hearts. See them as whole, no matter what conditions they may be facing. See deeper than their diagnosis to their perfect, beautiful inner soul, light and essence. This light can never be dimmed or diminished, no matter what difficulties they may be facing. Positive affirmations can help us shift our minds into a better focus.

When we can see deeply into the heart of their being, we can see that they are perfect and All is Well, no matter what! 

Realizing this on a deep level as a practitioner will literally uplift and lighten your energy. Animals will feel a lightness and brightness in you, and will be drawn to you. Animals will show you that the greatest healing gift you can offer them is your open-hearted, compassionate presence.

Final Thoughts About Practicing Reiki with Animals

As you can see, all the tips this blog covers focus on our inner state of being, as a practitioner, rather than the outer, physical rituals of a session. And because of this, Animal Reiki sessions can feel very different than human Reiki sessions…at first! But the more you practice this way, the more comfortable it becomes.

We owe it to animals, for all they do for us as our constant companions and for all the beauty they bring to the world, to adjust our physical and mental mindset to make them more comfortable, especially while practicing Animal Reiki. By making just a few adjustments to our purpose and focus, we can ensure we are protecting the freedom and agency of animals within sessions, as well as honoring their choices as independent and wise beings. 

Now more than ever, the world needs more compassion, and as Animal Reiki practitioners, we can be beautiful examples of humans who listen to and respect animals.

Courses + More Information to Help You Learn About Sharing Reiki with Animals with the Let Animals Lead® Method

Upcoming Podcast chatting about our top tips for practicing Reiki with animals!

YouTube player

Recognizing signals from animals and knowing when to end a Reiki session.

An article by the American Kennel Club about practicing Reiki with our animals.

And, lastly, a fast and fun course on how we should Always Let Animals Lead® our Reiki Sessions.

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

Kathleen Prasad's Animated Signature

1 thought on “Top Tips for Practicing Animal Reiki”

  1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge Kathleen! This reinforces that my practice is the best path for the horses (& other animals). 💗

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