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Animal Reiki

There are two ways of spreading the light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. –Edith Wharton

The word Reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) comes from the Japanese words “rei” meaning spirit and “ki” meaning energy. It is written with two Japanese kanji, or characters. These kanji mean “spiritual energy.”

  • reiki-symbol-1Rei—(lit. Japanese) spiritual or sacred.
  • reiki-symbol-2Ki—(lit. Japanese) energy, the energy of everything, which is usually translated as “universal life energy.” Animal Reiki Source.

Mollie Receiving Reiki
Mollie receiving Reiki

What is animal Reiki? It’s essentially meditating with your animals. But in a broader sense, Reiki is a spiritual system cultivating compassionate intention, which in turn may bring about healing transformation. The practice of Reiki helps us navigate life’s challenges with grace and surrender while we to learn to listen to and be present for others in a compassionate space. Offering one’s self as a conduit through which energy can flow for the good of another is the single most powerful gift that one can give and receive.

During a Reiki session, animals often experience a deep state of peace as the Reiki clears imbalances, allowing for new and harmonious patterns of health and wellness to emerge. Physical contact is not a requirement for Reiki and traditionally the practitioner offers Reiki to the animal hands off. This way, the animal controls the treatment, either accepting Reiki from a distance or settling themselves against the practitioners hands. Many people have unique experiences in connecting with and learning from the animals themselves.

Kathleen Prasad & 2 cats
Kathleen Prasad sharing Reiki with two feline friends

Easy for anyone to learn and use, Reiki can do no 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. –Kathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki Source

To be a clear channel for Reiki, students practice meditation and the principles of Reiki as a lifestyle, which includes the five original Reiki precepts:

For today only:

Do Not Anger

Do Not Worry

Be Humble

Be Honest in Your Work

Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others

What Does Reiki Do?

  • Heals at physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.
  • Remains gentle and non-invasive, but powerful.
  • Finds the source of the problem and brings healing, whether we know the problem or not.
  • Can relieve symptoms and reduce pain.
  • Accelerates healing of illnesses and injuries; speeds up healing after surgery.
  • Reduces side-effects of drugs and other treatments.
  • Improves behavior problems and heals anxiety-related problems.
  • Promotes energetic harmony, wellbeing, relaxation and stress relief.
  • Complements both conventional and alternative healing methods
  • Eases the transition to death when physical healing isn’t possible.

The Animal Reiki Experience

Reiki is not about healing as much as it is a journey to the center of the universe—ourselves! It is about recognizing oneness and being a true part of all there is. Reiki practice is a place of peace where we can share in the deep and true love that IS oneness.

When healing occurs so does the innate understanding that many humans already know: the power of love in true and deep healing. Universal or divine energy IS Reiki and we are truly lucky to be able to take this journey of learning about ourselves in Reiki practice.

Why are so many animal lovers drawn to learn Reiki? It is because animals resonate at a higher vibration than humans, and they attract us into their lives so that we may learn and heal as they offer us their unconditional love.

Reiki can be practiced directly with the animal present or at a distance, even many miles or countries away. Because Reiki can flow in this fashion, it is ideal for some animals that do not wish for direct contact or hands-on treatment, but still want to benefit from the healing energy. The average length of a Reiki treatment is 30-60 minutes.

How Reiki Came to BrightHaven

Our journey into the world of animal Reiki began in 2005. We had become so inspired by what natural medicine could do for animals that we decided we would offer seminars at the sanctuary to help spread the word about natural healing. Soon after that, Kathleen Prasad of Animal Reiki Source appeared, as if by magic, to request a meeting to discuss holding her monthly workshops at BrightHaven. That day heralded a new beginning as we started on our journey with animal Reiki.

To be with another being with an open heart, with a listening spirit, with a humble eye, to truly become One: this is our experience of wisdom and compassion as Reiki practitioners. It is not that we are doing something to them; rather than we are sharing and being.” —Kathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki Source

During animal Reiki sessions with Kathleen and her students, BrightHaven animals experienced a deep state of peace as Reiki clears imbalances and complements all other forms of treatment. BrightHaven became all the more peaceful and harmonious thanks to Reiki.

Animal Reiki practice became an integral part of life at BrightHaven. When our sanctuary was open,* each of the staff received animal Reiki training and attunements from Kathleen. On a daily basis, Animal Reiki continues to bring even more depth to our relationships with our animal family and the healing work we do.

BrightHaven animals were already known for their longevity and astonishing returns to health—our formula for balance and healing, and classical veterinary homeopathy as the chosen modality of healthcare is found in our Menu for Healing. In addition to Reiki, also infused into daily life at BrightHaven was the application of flower essences, Feng Shui, and a natural raw meat diet with nutritional supplements.

During times of transition and emotional or incarnate obstacles, Reiki remains a valuable part of our work in health and healing.

Kathleen became and continues to be a strong BrightHaven supporter and close friend. She also donated a generous percentage of the workshop tuition proceeds to help the BrightHaven animals.

For more information about Kathleen Prasad, her amazing Let Animals Lead® method and Animal Reiki Source workshops, please visit

Harley receiving Reiki from Kathleen Prasad of Animal Reiki Source (Photo by Lexie, in joy photography)

* In 2018, BrightHaven sold our Northern California sanctuary property and closed the sanctuary due to financial sustainability concerns. We are pleased to say that all of the sanctuary animals found new loving homes, and that our Rescue and Education programs are still going strong.

Thoughts from the President and Founder of BrightHaven:

Gail Pope & Woody
BrightHaven President & Founder Gail Pope with Woody

“As so many before me, I had always been conscious of the heat in my hands and accepted it as energy. I had experienced, too, some astonishing healing of animals as I laid my hands on or close to them.

I did not question these miracles too closely and had learned to accept them as a wonderful part of life. When Reiki first came to BrightHaven, I was avidly reading as much as I could about life and various philosophies such as Buddhism and Hinduism, and had thoroughly enjoyed my exploration into the world of Paramahansa Yogananda, a spiritual leader who opened my mind further with his books entitled Autobiography of a Yogi and Divine Will Healing.

I knew already that these experiences were “not about me,” but did not quite see where and how this energy could fit into the grand scheme of things. Kathleen’s initial workshop was to be the first of many, as I stepped gladly along this new path that opened suddenly and so very clearly before me.

Over the years I have taken all of Kathleen’s classes here and learned more than I can say. I have learned more about life and love and joy and the wisdom of Mother Nature, but above all I have learned that to be able to offer one’s self as a conduit through which energy can flow for the good of another is the single most powerful gift that one can give and receive. As I continued on the journey of animal Reiki and developed a relationship with Kathleen, I came to believe that she had begun to resonate at a level of love and kindness allowing her to attract and share universal wisdom with other beings while progressing on her own journey.

As I have become more used to the energy of Reiki, I have found I can utilize it in an instant as it is always available. I consciously invite Reiki to join me at the beginning of my day and offer it to my family, friends and out to the universe at bedtime. During my day I offer Reiki to those not feeling well or out of sorts—and don’t forget Reiki can be offered to human beings just as easily and effectively as animal beings! For me, though, the single most important benefit of this gentle healing method comes towards the end of life, at a time when there is nothing left to do but await transition. It is at that time when humans often feel completely ineffective and wish they could do more or be a part of the journey in some better fashion.

Now we can. To offer Reiki during transition, and sometimes the days or weeks previously, is to feel something miraculous taking place, as Reiki offers healing, peace and bliss to all involved.

Here at BrightHaven we have long held the belief that healing is needed for wellness and also for transition to the next life, and we see just that as we offer Reiki. Reiki can be offered to the poor wet fly just rescued from the sink; the bird inadvertently caught by the cat (!); the bugs on our wall, more terrified of us than we of them; the animal or human injured on the road; the sad situation seen on TV or heard about on the radio; and on and on. In fact Reiki can be offered for the highest good of all beings at any time. It seems to me that the healing goodness of Reiki may be an essential part in the healing of our planet.

The animal Reiki practitioner is taught an exacting code of standards and ethics by which to live and practice his or her art, and I would like to present here for you the animal Reiki practitioner’s code of ethics as developed by Kathleen, the Founder of Animal Reiki Source, in order you may see and better understand the level of commitment given to their work by Animal Reiki practitioners or teachers. Thank you, Reiki.”

Animal Reiki Practitioner Code of Ethics

Developed by Kathleen Prasad, Founder of Animal Reiki Source

Animal Reiki Source by Kathleen Prasad

Guiding Principles:

  • I believe the animals are equal partners in the healing process.
  • I honor the animals as being not only my clients, but also my teachers in the journey of healing.
  • I understand that all animals have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects, to which Reiki can bring profound healing responses.
  • I believe that bringing Reiki to the human/animal relationship is transformational to the human view of the animal kingdom.
  • I dedicate myself to the virtues of humility, integrity, compassion and gratitude in my Reiki practice.

In working on myself, I follow these practices:

  • I incorporate the Five Reiki Precepts into my daily life and Reiki practice.
  • I commit myself to a daily practice of self-healing and spiritual development so that I can be a clear and strong channel for healing energy.
  • I nurture a belief in the sacred nature of all beings, and in the value and depth of animal kind as our partners on this planet.
  • I listen to the wisdom of my heart, remembering that we are all One.

In working in the community, I hold the following goals:

  • I model the values of partnership, compassion, humility, gentleness and gratitude in my life and with the animals, teaching by example.
  • I work to create professional alliances and cooperative relationships with other Reiki practitioners/teachers, animal health-care providers and animal welfare organizations in my community.
  • I strive to educate my community in its understanding of the benefits of Reiki for animals.
  • I continually educate myself to maintain and enhance my professional competence so that I uphold the integrity of the profession.
  • I consider myself an ally to the veterinary and animal health community. I work to support their efforts in achieving animal wellness and balance. I honor other disciplines and their practitioners.

In working with the human companions of the animals, I will:

  • Share information before the treatment about my healing philosophy, the Reiki healing system and what to expect in a typical treatment, as well as possible outcomes, including the possibility of healing reactions.
  • Provide a clear policy ahead of time regarding fees, length of treatment and cancellation policy, as well as “postponement” policy, should the animal not want the treatment that day.
  • Honor the privacy of the animals and their human companions.
  • Share intuition received during Reiki treatments, with compassion and humility, for the purpose of supporting their understanding of the healing process.
  • Respect the human companion’s right to choose the animal’s healing journey, selecting the methods, both holistic and/or conventional that he or she deems most appropriate, with the support and advice of a trusted veterinarian.

In working with the animals, I follow these guidelines:

  • I work in partnership with the animal.
  • I always ask permission of the animal before beginning, and respect his or her decision to accept or refuse any treatment. I listen intuitively and observe the animal’s body language in determining the response.
  • I allow each animal to choose how to receive his or her treatment; thus each treatment could be a combination of hands-on, short distance and/or distant healing, depending on the animal’s preference.
  • I let go of my expectations about how the treatment should progress and/or how the animal should behave during the treatment, and simply trust Reiki.
  • I accept the results of the treatment without judgment and with gratitude toward Reiki and the animal’s openness and participation in the process.

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Knowledge reduces fear and increases confidence, and conscious decision-making may minimize future regrets. We invite you to explore our caregiver resources (including animal hospice education and holistic healthcare education), online learning and publications to learn more. You may also wish to book a consultation with BrightHaven President and Founder Gail Pope.