As I mentioned in my post on Friday, I’m starting a new series here at AWG where we learn more about a specific healing modality in each post, and also get to meet a practitioner and read one of their case studies. I’m very excited about this series; it’s fascinating to read all the stories, and I’m sure you will enjoy them as much as I have.
First out is Reiki. I had never heard of until I was a student at Bancroft and we had a class exploring energy healing techniques. I remember having a very interesting experience while practicing on one of my teachers: I wasn’t even touching her, but something in her leg that had been bothering her all of a sudden twitched, and my arm did too at the same time. And she felt a lot better afterwards.
I always assumed that you had to have a special gift in order to do any kind of energy healing, but apparently anybody can learn how to use Reiki.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese energy healing system that is gentle and noninvasive but still has the power to heal the body, mind and spirit. It is administered by laying on hands or healing from a distance (you don’t have to have physical contact with the person/animal you are treating) and is based on the idea that an unseen life force energy (“chi” or “ki”) consistently flows through us. If one’s ki is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress.
The name Reiki (pronounced ”Ray-key”) comes from the Japanese words ”rei” meaning spirit, and ”ki” meaning energy. It is usually translated as ”universal life energy.”
When using Reiki to heal, the practitioner simply sets an intention to facilitate the healing process and allows the energy to flow in whatever amount the client wishes to receive and for whatever he or she needs most. The energy “knows” where to go; you don’t even have to be aware of what the problem is exactly in the person/animal you’re treating. You are just a conduit for the energy.
It is ideal for use with shy or fearful animals since the effectiveness is not dependent upon physical contact. The animal controls the treatment, accepting Reiki in the ways that are most comfortable for them, either hands-on or from a distance, or a combination of both.
Reiki is easy for anyone to learn and use, and can’t do any harm, even when used by the most novice practitioner. It always goes to the deepest source of the problem and always supports a path towards balance and harmony.
To become a practitioner, you go through training sessions with a Reiki Master where you learn different techniques and symbols, and get attuned. There are 3 levels: Level 1 is the basics, Level 2 is advanced (this is where you learn the symbols) and Level 3 is the Master level. You can take a teacher training at this level after which you are able to teach Reiki to others.
Meet Kathleen Prasad
Today’s case study comes from Kathleen Prasad, world-renowned animal Reiki teacher, founder and director of Animal Reiki Source, and President of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association. Kathleen is truly a leader in her field, and I am greatly honored that she agreed to be part of this series.
Kathleen’s Path to Reiki
While Kathleen was teaching in the San Francisco public schools in the 90s, she designed curriculum and community projects for her students in animal kindness, encouraging volunteer work in animal shelters. In 1998 she learned Reiki and began volunteering Reiki with local shelter animals. Inspired by her volunteer experiences, Kathleen decided to dedicate her teaching career to Animal Reiki full time in 2002.
Publications and Teaching
Since then, she has co-authored the books The Animal Reiki Handbook – Finding Your Way With Reiki in Your Local Shelter, Sanctuary or Rescue and Animal Reiki: Using Energy to Heal the Animals in Your Life and written many articles on animals and Reiki for publications such as The Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Fair, The Whole Dog Journal, Dog Fancy, Animal Wellness Magazine, Equine Wellness Magazine and Natural Horse Talk Magazine. In 2007, Kathleen authored The Animal Reiki Practitioner Code of Ethics – the first code of ethics for the profession – which has been published in professional Reiki publications and adopted by practitioners around the world. Her three volume series Animal Reiki Tails is a compilation of real life animal Reiki stories from practitioners around the world, and her latest book, Reiki for Dogs: Using Spiritual Energy to Heal and Vitalize Man’s Best Friend was published in 2012. She has also been featured on several radio shows as well as local news.
She has provided Reiki training to the staff of organizations such as The East Bay SPCA, The Humane Society of Silicon Valley, BrightHaven Healing Arts Center for Animals, Guide Dogs for the Blind, and The Elephant Sanctuary. In October of 2008, Kathleen was invited to teach a seminar on Animal Reiki at the 33rd Annual Conference of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. She continuously teaches courses and workshops, both in person and through teleclasses, audio and correspondence courses, and also offers a Reiki internship, conducted via phone and email.
In May of 2008, Kathleen co-founded the non-profit Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA). SARA aims to boost adoption rates in shelters nationwide by reducing stress and supporting healing in homeless animals. The mission will be achieved via a standardized rollout of animal Reiki programs in shelters worldwide and the creation of an unprecedented global information resource for practitioners and facilities that assist animals in need.
Here is Kathleen’s case study, in her own words: