Reiki for Rover – How Energy Healing Can Help Our Pets
by Catherine Morris | November 17, 2020, updated about 7 hours ago
Pups, pigs, pigeons, and a bunny rabbit named Peanut—reiki master Deanna Tsang boasts a very unusual client list.
While Tsang does work with humans, the majority of her reiki customers are animals. Since starting her business just over a year ago, she's worked in shelters, sanctuaries, and with private clients seeking solutions for their beloved pets' health problems. Tsang was a skeptic in the early days, but says the response has been undeniable—from the limping pug who was back on his paws after just one session, to the cat with pancreatitis whose lab tests came back clear.
“Even though I have been doing this for over a year, it still blows my mind. It's like magic. Every animal I have ever met loves reiki. I think it is because they vibrate at a higher frequency than humans, and they are so much more in tune with energy.”
First discovered in Japan in the 1920s, reiki uses symbols, hand positions, touch, and sometimes crystals to transfer healing energy to where it's needed in the body. Following the philosophy that all disease stems from imbalance, reiki practitioners aim to bring the body back into alignment by directing energy to either curtail an excess, or correct a deficiency.
The principle is the same whether treating humans or animals, according to Tsang who says she's used the treatment to help pets cope with chronic illnesses like cancer, injuries, and ailments common to older animals such as arthritis and fatigue.
She's also seen success in four-legged clients with behavioural issues, using her skills in sanctuaries with frightened and traumatized rescue animals—
“Reiki is great for treating distress, anxiety, emotional trauma. It helps the animal feel relaxed, more peaceful and at ease. All practitioners are different but I work on three levels: you treat the emotional issues first, then the next stage is treating illness, and the third is reversing disease.”
In one unusual case, Tsang volunteered to work with an organization that helped urban street pigeons, by freeing their feet which often become entangled in garbage. Tsang's role was to soothe the birds so that the other volunteers could capture and treat them.
“The ones that were hurt came over to me and just stood there while I did the reiki. I could see their eyes start to close.”
It's common for injured animals to seek her out, according to Tsang who says she can sit in the middle of a busy shelter or sanctuary and wait as troubled animals come to her. They may even give her a sign—
“The animals will plant whatever part of their body needs healing on me, or point it towards me. I had one goat who had lost part of her ear to frostbite and she would come over and push her ear into my chest. Another one, a donkey, had a cut on her eye and she would press her eye into me when she saw me.”
Tsang says any creature can receive and benefit from reiki, but that each may require a slightly different approach—
“It works on any animal, any species, but it can also be different for each individual. Animals are like people—everyone has different preferences, needs, and comfort levels.”
For most of her private clients, sessions are done remotely so that the pet is comfortable and in its own space. Based in California, Tsang treats pets all over North America, spending around 45 minutes to an hour with each. Before beginning the treatment, Tsang will often pick out crystals appropriate to the client. For this important task, she has some help in the form of Peanut, her rabbit, who she refers to as her “reiki assistant”.
“Peanut loves the crystals. He comes over and has to smell them and rub his chin on them. He always sits right next to me when I'm doing reiki. He gets that residual energy.”
Tsang starts an animal’s treatment the same way she would a human—with a short consultation. “I talk to them before we start. I let them know they are in control and it is up to them if they want to draw the energy in,” she says. “We choose a time when the pet is most inactive, whether that's at night or after they've eaten. They need to be rested and relaxed, not playful or distracted.”
The results are usually immediate, and pet owners often report back to Tsang to say their pet has more energy, is more playful, and appears pain-free. It's extremely rewarding for Tsang who says she gets attached to all her clients, and loves to see them thrive.
Holistic Health for Animals
More and more pet owners are seeking out alternative treatments for their beloved animal companions, but the movement still has a long way to go.
Reiki cannot, of course, replace veterinary medicine, but there is a definite sense among practitioners like Tsang that more alternative therapies can happily coexist with mainstream medicine.
“I love vets. They heal and save animals every single day, but they can only do so much. I think a combination of western medicine and alternative healing is a great approach.”
It helps that reiki is now making its way into the medical literature—recent studies show the treatment delivers more than just a placebo effect, and has significant potential in treating chronic conditions and postoperative recovery.
Of course, studies on animal reiki are non-existent (for now), but people who have seen the benefits for themselves are eager for their pets to experience them too. Tsang says–
“Energy healing is not as well known as acupuncture or massage for pets [but] more people are becoming in tune with their spiritual selves and realising we are all energetic beings, and that includes animals. I'm hoping as awareness increases with humans, that will make its way to our animals too.”
Catherine Morris is an award-winning journalist with a bad case of wanderlust and a passion for all things health and wellness. Originally from Northern Ireland, she worked as a news and feature writer for media outlets in the UK, South Africa, France and the Caribbean before settling in Canada. Catherine now lives in Alberta with her husband and rescue mutt and spends her time happily exploring the great outdoors with both.