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 Image courtesy of Lynne McMahan

Animal Speak - August 2017

Reiki: The Life Energy That Flows Through All 

By Lynne McMahan


“The way that Reiki heals is to touch that deep, inner spiritual light, and in that space, all healing possibilities exist.” -Kathleen Prasad


As a Reiki practitioner who works with “the life energy that flows through all” I believe strongly that Reiki is wisdom and compassion and that through Reiki, as Kathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki Master, has stated, “all healing possibilities exist.” In my column this month my focus will be on applying this life energy healing process with the animals in our homes (inside and out) and with the animals who are hoping to find their forever homes.


There are many wonderful Animal Reiki practitioners and Animal Communicators and I have had the pleasure to know and work with a few of them. Though I have not yet had the opportunity to work with Kathleen Prasad directly, I have used her resources and I had my initial Animal Reiki training through the SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) materials, a training she put together for shelter volunteers and staff. From her website ( I have found a great list of benefits that Reiki provides and these benefits are the goals I have when I visit the Santa Fe Animal Shelter (SFAS) each week and my visits with Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary (KSAS).

  1. Reiki helps animals re-build trust with humans

  2. Reiki helps animals get adopted

  3. Reiki assists animals through transitions

  4. Reiki helps shelter workers cope with job stress

(Animal Reiki Source, 2017)


To illustrate the Reiki healing process, I want to share one of the recent shelter animals I was privileged to work with. I’d like to share the story of Jackson, recently adopted from the shelter (SFAS). Jackson came to the shelter with physical, mental/ emotional, and spiritual challenges. The shelter staff determined that Jackson was a “bait dog” (dog fighters use “bait dogs” to train their fighter dogs to be more aggressive and to be better fighters). Jackson had been so beat up and neglected, that maggots had entered his open, unattended wounds. The clinic staff removed all of the maggots, cleaned up his wounds and gave him the love and care he needed. I came in the next day and spent a long time in his kennel with him, giving him Reiki and communicating the love we humans had for him. At that point he was deciding whether he would survive his ordeal or take his leave from the torture he had experienced. I assured him he had a choice but that the humans who cared for him at the shelter hoped he would choose life. He chose life.


Each week as he was healing, I spent time with him, giving him hands-on Reiki and communicating the love we all had for him. Each week his wounds healed—the physical wounds, as well as the mental/ emotional and spiritual wounds. He not only rebuilt his trust with humans, he rebuilt his trust with other dogs. He made it through a difficult decisions and transitions—whether to heal and move on to the possibility of a new life with a family to love, or complete this difficult life.


His new family is so grateful he made this life affirming decision. I believe too that his story helped the shelter staff, affirming to them how important their work is. Though they don’t necessarily use Reiki energy techniques to heal, they do heal the animals they work with, using the Reiki energy of love and compassion.


It is important for the shelter staff and volunteers to do their own healing work in order to be fully present for the energy work they do with animals. Animals will pick up the energy from their human friends, whether the energy is positive and healthy or “not so much.” Humans need to prepare themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually for this important work.


Kathleen Prasad shares a suggested practice for anyone (whether Reiki trained or not) to do before working with our animal friends. “This practice will help you keep your energy centered and will in turn help calm every animal you work with” (Animal Reiki Source, 2017).


Creating Reiki Space for an Animal

  1. Place your hands over your lower belly.

  2. Inhale, feeling your breath as a beautiful light coming in through the nose, moving down to your lower belly and filling the body with energy.

  3. Exhale, expanding this light out of the body and through your skin. Continue to expand the energy in all directions, into your surroundings.

  4. Repeat the inhale and exhale visualization for several minutes. Then return your breathing to normal and for several minutes just sit in the energetic space you have created around yourself through your breath. Feel yourself grounded, calm, peaceful.

  5. Set your intention to share this beautiful, peaceful space of light and healing with an animal.

  6. Invite the animal into the “Reiki space” you have created with your breath. Imagine he can move in and out of the space at will.

  7. Sit with the animal and observe his response. Just relax and “be” – there’s no need to “do.” If your mind wanders, come back to the breath for ten repetitions and then relax again.

  8. Signs of relaxation in the animal, such as yawning, lying down or sleeping, or perhaps coming forward for physical contact/petting, indicate that he has said “yes” to your invitation for healing.


Finding the practice of Reiki and sharing this gift with others, especially the

animals at SFAS and KSAS has been an incredible and reciprocal gift of love. Each week I learn and practice and feel honored and humbled by the power of this life energy called Reiki. “Today, with the help of my animal [friends], I will nurture peace, humility, gratitude and compassion” (Animal Reiki Source). 

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Lynne McMahan, Ed.D., En-Light-En Reiki, is a Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and Mind-Body-Spirit Mentor, supporting the healing of each person or animal on their journey of transformation. For more information:,, or 505.400.3168. 

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