Is Animal Reiki Safe for Practitioners?

As part of my Animal Reiki classes and shares I emphasize the importance of safety for both people and animals. When treating a person we don’t often consider such an issue as we are generally comfortable with the people we treat, as well as in a controlled environment such as a treatment room. However, treating an animal can be different.

The Animal Reiki students I work with, as well as those who participate in the monthly Animal Reiki Share, work with the animals at Luv Shack Ranch Horse Rescue. Most are accustomed to being around small pets such as dogs and cats. Coming face-to-face with a 1200 lb. horse can often be a little intimidating for the human. For some this even brings up fears and safety concerns.

At a recent Animal Reiki Share one of the human participants, I’ll call her Pam, had some experiences with horses in her past that left her feeling vulnerable and uncertain about being in close proximity to them. She worked up the courage to enter the large turnout where the herd was finishing up Sunday afternoon lunch. Things were fine until one of the grazing equines decided it was time to drag race around the turnout, stirring up a lot of action quickly. To Pam’s credit rather than calling it quits for the day, I watched her quickly and quietly go into a pen in the middle of the turnout and lock herself in. This allowed her to continue to work with the animals through the rail fencing while keeping her safe and out of harm’s way. It was an ingenious solution.

Here are some suggestions for safely engaging in Reiki treatments with animals:

  • Respect your own personal boundaries. Acknowledge and work within your own personal limits, fears, and concerns about the animals and/or space within which you are working. Ignoring these and stuffing them inside doesn’t make them go away. You will carry this energy into the session with you. Animals will sense this, and you will likely also be distracted during the session because of them. This may also be the perfect opportunity for some personal Reiki work with yourself to address and overcome these things.
  • Have the animal’s caregiver present if you’re uncomfortable with the animal. They can help calm and handle the animal if necessary.
  • Keep a comfortable distance between you and the animal. Remember Reiki is just as effective from a distance, especially if safety is a concern.
  • Working from outside the animals stall, kennel, tank, or other space is perfectly acceptable, especially if there are concerns about your personal safety.
  • Never corner, chase, or otherwise pursue an animal in an attempt to offer Reiki. The animal may think this is a game and you are playing with them or they may become defensive and irritated.
  • If working within a herd, pack, or flock, be aware at all times of the movement of other animals around you. One animal can set the rest into motion very quickly.
  • Avoid approaching an animal in what may be seen as a dominant or confronting manner. Approaching head on, staring at them, firm or harsh eye contact, quick movements, or trying to make yourself bigger than them may be perceived as a threat. Talk softly, approach from the side, use soft eyes, keep your movements slow and steady, and always enter the animal’s space with respect.
  • Never hesitate to move either you or the animal you are working with to a safer location, even during the session if necessary.
  • Watch for signs of discomfort or fear in the animal and adjust or stop your Reiki treatment immediately.

Following these guidelines will keep Animal Reiki safe for animals and practitioners alike.

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