Canine Life

Healing your dog with Massage or Reiki

Vet information

I have been practising Canine Massage and Reiki for several years now. Although I always ask the vet to confirm they are happy for me to do a treatment, the reply I have usually received is that it could do no harm. This was good, however, I would rather one day have a vet recommending me to their clients. I understand this has not been easy, as Reiki has up until now not been regulated, and there has been a huge variance between training and experience. I have always been aware of my responsibilities when working on dogs. In 2007, when I learnt Canine Massage with Galen, I had to do canine anatomy as well as behaviour. We were always taught to massage on the floor with no restraints, allowing the dog to decide whether they want the massage and how long for. This I transferred to my Reiki practice, sometimes not even touching the dog in the first treatment, just sitting quietly nearby. This gives the dog the choice of whether to participate or not. There was a module in the Canine Massage where a vet, Andy Mead, BVetMed M.R.C.V.S explained about injuries as well as muscular and soft tissue issues where massage could help. He was also part of the assessment process for the final qualification.

I recognise that many veterinary professionals seek scientific evidence to support therapies not within the scope of veterinary surgery or veterinary training. Although there is little research on Animal Reiki, substantial scientific evidence exists for Reiki and massage in human medicine in the form of a significant number of published studies. It is also better regulated with Government supported National Occupational Standards and the formal agreement for GPs to refer clients to Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) Accredited Reiki Practitioners. Reiki for Animals (RfA) is just starting to follow with the UK Reiki Council overseeing stricter regulation with any recognised Reiki for Animals practitioners having to demonstrate awareness of animal behaviour and communication through body language leading to species specific treatment as well as individual treatment plans. We also need to show we understand when a dog needs to be referred back to a vet or other professional. We need to recognise any reportable diseases and understand what to do.

Although some Reiki practitioners do not feel it is essential to ask for Vets permission before treating any animal with Reiki as it is regarded as not a manipulative treatment, I will still check out of courtesy and to ensure the animal’s welfare. If I intend to give a massage I would be expected to contact the dog’s vet, so it is sensible to check before doing any treatment. This way the vet can give a diagnosis and I will treat under their guidance/direction.

Examples of Reiki’s increasing use/ development:

  • In branches of well-known UK cat and dog rescue centres and also in some smaller independent rescue centres
  • At horse racing yards, stables and horse sanctuaries
  • General support for veterinary care or where veterinary care has not been able to diagnose the issue or find a helpful treatment
  • To benefit some animals with behavioural issues
  • To improve quality of life for older animals

Vets Letter of Consent

Click here to download the form!

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