Horses can be stressed by many things: travel, a new home, change of pasture or owner and herd dynamics, to name a few. But what takes the heaviest toll is stress from emotional loading. This type of stress significantly affects performance horses as shown in a scientific study of equine blood serum. Emotional loading can also stress horses that are used in equine therapy programs.
Two Ukranian researchers from the Kharkiv State Zooveterinary Academy studied blood samples taken from of 12 healthy Ukranian riding breed horses.1 The samples were taken from the jugular vein in conditions of relative rest after ordinary training and then again after the horses performed in entertainment venues with large crowds and loud music.
Test goals and results
Their goal was to identify the biochemical changes to equine metabolic profiles after regular training and then after emotional loading during a performance. The researchers analyzed a wide range of biochemical markers, including whole protein, urea, creatinine, uric acid, total bilirubin and its fractions, glucose, cholesterol, triacylglycerol, calcium and ferrum lactate. They observed multi-directional changes in these markers, which was evidence of stress in the horses’ metabolic processes.
For example, dramatic changes occurred in one biomarker of oxidative stress, uric acid. It increased 8.6% after training and increased by 55.1% after emotional loading. The researchers concluded: “Emotional loading is the stronger stress factor which causes negative changes in indicators of the metabolic profile.”
In performance horses, stress cannot be avoided. Every performance as well as the associated travel, change of water and/or food, different stall environment, etc. will adversely affect the horse. So the question becomes how to reduce the effects of stress after the fact. What is needed is preferably a therapy that enables the horse to relax and drop the stress/emotional load taken on during the performance. The therapy itself should not be an additional stressor for the horse, such as use of an invasive procedure such as injecting a relaxant or other drug.
A remedy: energy healing
What’s really important to understand here is that stress is an energetic load placed upon the horse. This calls for an energetic therapy that works on the electromagnetic energy or biofield of the horse and supports its immune system in regulating and dissipating the effects of stress.
An energy healing modality, such as Reiki, uses both hands-on and hands-off techniques to first relax the horse and then enable him to drop the negative energy (stress) that has impacted his biofield. The physiological response to energy healing affects every cell of the body, releasing endorphins, relaxing muscles, regulating hormones, releasing toxins, increasing circulation and more.
In addition, Reiki is an energy healing method that heals on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. So not only does the horse experience a physiological release and re-regulation of his immune system, he experiences a body/mind/emotional release as well.
This aspect of Reiki is especially significant in the case of therapy horses that work with people experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, autism, the aftermath of abuse or a challenging life situation, such as cancer or other life-threatening disease. These horses experience significant emotional loading since those receiving equine therapy off-load their energy to the horses.
It is my belief that therapy horses need as much energy healing as performance horses to offset the load they accept in an equine therapeutic setting. There is a reason horse therapy is so helpful for people. They feel restored after a session, but what about the horse? What about the build-up of emotional loading after successive therapy sessions? What is it doing to his overall emotional state? His physical body? Organizations that offer equine therapy would be wise to consider energy healing sessions for their horses to help them stay balanced and dissipate the effects of ongoing emotional stress.
In the case of performance horses, energy healing after the performance is definitely indicated and possibly several days before the performance, giving the horse time to recover from travel and be at optimum levels for the event.
As shown by these Ukranian researchers, emotional loading has a profound effect on stress levels in horses. In light of all they do for us willingly and gracefully, it is our responsibility to be conscious of the impact to them and support them in return.
1. Influence of physical and emotional activity on the metabolic profile of blood serum of race horses T. I. Bayeva, G. F. Zhegunov, Visnyk of Dnipropetrovsk University. Biology, Ecology. 2016;24(2) DOI 10.15421/011665
The study can be read here.
Caspian, a late-teens gelding rescue, came to Zuma’s Rescue Ranch for rehab at the end of October 2018. He had multiple infected bite marks, a serious wound on his right front knee, a heart murmur, at least one systemic infection and was severely underfed. After several vet visits and up to 10 lbs. of mash per day, he improved significantly, showing increased interest in his environment and positive response to his caregivers. He received about 40 minutes of energy healing (Reiki) during his second vet visit Nov. 2, and has been receiving short (15-30 minute) Reiki sessions periodically.
Toward the end of December, he presented with a sore left leg. He did not want to put weight on the left foot and was essentially lame. He received 2 back-to-back Reiki sessions Christmas Eve in his pen, both beamed (touchless) from about 5 feet. The first session lasted 30 minutes and was conducted while I was grazing another horse near Caspian’s pen. He had several tension/blocked energy releases, including 5 or 6 large yawns, licking and chewing with lowered head and half-closed eyes. I put the other horse in his pen and came back to Caspian. To treat his left foot, I decided to refine a technique I learned in Healing Touch for Animals. Called Utrasound, it’s used to clear blocked energy patterns in specific areas of the body.
I added Reiki energy to the technique and beamed it because Caspian was still in quarantine, and I didn’t want to risk touching or getting too close to a painfully sensitive area. I imagined my hands as sources of Reiki light energy and traveled down his left shoulder the entire length of the leg on both sides past the hoof. I grounded the blocked energy to the Earth to remove it from his biofield. I did this numerous times and visualized the blocked energy being replaced by golden healing Reiki light. I also used a spiritual invocation related to the Christmas season in addition to calling in my Reiki guides.
During this time, Caspian did not shift his weight from the injured leg or lift his left hoof off the ground. He remained very still with head and eyes lowered. After about 15-20 minutes, I finished, sealed the session and told him to use the energy as he saw fit. That night, I made a brief entry about the session on my Reiki River of Peace Facebook page. The next day, (Christmas) Zuma’s posted a comment to my entry: “He had an abscess burst today…feeling much better now.”
Blocked energy can prevent the immune system from clearing wounds or infections. In addition to being blocked physically by inflammation or a build-up of infected material, the affected area is blocked energetically by a build-up of congested energy patterns that, in effect, prevent the immune system from working properly. Removing the congested energy allows the immune system to do its job. In this case, resulting in a spontaneous release of accumulated infection.
It will be interesting to see how the abscess heals and how follow-up energy healing sessions will promote this process.
It’s kind of a wild west out there for those who want to learn Reiki. Adding the word Reiki to other types of energy healing adds acceptability and legitimacy, which may or may not be deserved. It depends on how much Reiki is actually taught. The ancient form of energy healing known as Reiki has become trendy. And many are jumping on the Reiki bandwagon.
What prompted me to write about this were two recent disappointing experiences with Reiki Master teachers. Both left me feeling deceived or mislead on one or more levels. As a Reiki Master teacher myself, I believe any Reiki student has the right to expect a professional quality learning experience, complete and clear student materials, and an environment that is conducive to learning. If you are going to pay someone to teach you the Reiki system and attune you to the Reiki energy, there are certain fundamentals that should be covered in class. Here’s what to look for:
Based on my background in Reiki, manuals from the International Center for Reiki Training https://www.reiki.org will give the student a comprehensive reference for learning and understanding the system and practice of Reiki, as it was brought to the West from Japan. The International House of Reiki http://www.ihreiki.com/ focuses on what was taught in Japan before Reiki came to the West. Another source for Japanese Reiki is The Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto, Japan https://www.jikiden.org/institute.htm. Under the link “Why Jikiden Reiki,” https://www.jikiden.org/whyjikiden.htm, there is an intelligent and easily understood discussion of what is happening to the practice of Reiki that you may find illuminating.
Some Reiki teachers use their own manuals. Ask questions about what their manuals are based on and if they have done their own Reiki research and study, and with whom. Yes, it involves some work, but it’s well worth it if you want to learn Reiki from a credible source and insure that your money is well spent.
Most importantly, ask for references from former students. This will give you an idea of the Reiki Master’s teaching style and approach to the material.
A word about online Reiki courses
While you can access a lot of information about Reiki online, you cannot be attuned to the Reiki energy via an online course. The Reiki attunement is passed from a Reiki Master teacher to the student. The experience of receiving a Reiki attunement is a process of empowerment that opens your crown, heart and palm chakras and connects you to the infinite source of Reiki energy. This is done in person and is a very individualized experience. It can be powerfully spiritual and can involve a clearing process that is an emotional as well as a physical toxic release.
Learning Reiki will start you on a journey that can be rewarding, healing and profoundly moving. Doing your due diligence before you choose a Reiki Master teacher is a commitment to yourself and your spiritual path. Many blessings to you in your Reiki journey!
(1 )An Evidence Based History of Reiki, William Lee Rand et al, International Center for Reiki Training, 2015.
The same things that make Halloween a treat for you can be scary for your pets. Noises, smells, a ringing doorbell, strangers in costumes that make them look different are all unsettling for your pet.
1.Make a room in your house a haven for your pets where they can feel safe, comfortable and relaxed.
2. If you’re going out trick or treating, leave your dog at home. He/she can easily get stressed by all the activity and noise and bite or get lost.
3. Keep treats out of the reach of pets, preferably in a locked, child-safe cabinet so your children can’t feed candy to pets. Chocolate and other sweeteners or preservatives are toxic to animals and can be fatal.
4. Just in case, keep this number handy: 888-426-4435. It’s the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline. (The hotline charges a fee of $65 per case.) If you think your pet has eaten something that's bad for them, call your vet or the Poison Control Center immediately.
5. Be careful of decorations that may pose a danger to your pets, such as rubber eyeballs (choking risk), glow sticks and fake blood (possible poisons), fake cobwebs (can choke or entangle pets and wildlife), potpourri (toxic to birds) and strung lights.
6. Choose pet costumes wisely. Don’t use masks, anything that covers eyes or ears, and anything that might tangle in your pet's legs. Make sure the costume is comfortable and lets your pet move freely. Remove any chewable parts or objects that could come off and choke your pet. If your pet looks uncomfortable, take off the costume. Signs of discomfort include folded down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail and hunching over.
7. Bring your pets indoors before it gets dark. Cats are always safest inside with you, but on Halloween it’s especially important to secure all pets inside. Many times those looking to use cats for “fun” will roam the streets looking for friendly house cats that have been let outside.
8. In case they escape, make sure that all of your pets are wearing tags with current IDs (consider microchipping them). Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of opportunities for a pet to sneak outside and disappear. Proper ID will help you find your lost pet.
9. For black cat owners: be especially careful to keep any black cat indoors, not just on Halloween, but at this time of year. It’s heartbreaking, but ritual abuse of black cats escalates in October, so most shelters and humane societies, including Denver’s Cat Care Society http://www.catcaresociety.org, will not adopt out black cats to anyone.
10. Remember that pets process stimuli a lot differently than humans and do all you can to reduce their stress levels during this time of year.
Follow these tips and you’ll make Halloween happier and healthier for your pets!
Recently women’s health expert Dr. Christiane Northrup wrote a blog titled “9 Ways to Awaken the Energy Healer Within.” Dr. Northrup discusses a variety of energy healing modalities including Reiki, chakra clearing, acupuncture, reflexology, tuning forks, and tapping. In answer to the question,” Do you need an energy healer?", she says ‘no, because we all have the ability to connect to Source.’
This is true. We all have this ability, but realistically, how many of us have the commitment/time to start a regular practice of being our own energy healers? If you can choose just one of the 9 ways she lists and do it consistently, good for you!
But for all too many of us living in such a time-starved, stressed out, chaotic world, DIY energy healing seems like just one more thing on our “To Do” list. The truth is that some elements of self care are easier to leave to someone trained in an energy healing modality.
As a Reiki practitioner, I’ve spent (and still spend) countless hours, practicing, learning and refining the ability to provide Reiki to both people and their animal families. Reiki is becoming more and more popular and as a result, there is a lot of information circulating about it that ranges from being half true to complete falsehood.
Reiki energy has been around for thousands of years, but was formalized by a Japanese M.D. in the early 20th century. The most important thing to know about Reiki is that it is more than just Life Force Energy. It is spiritually directed Life Force Energy. Reiki has its own intelligence, which is universal, Divine, and as some call it, “God energy.” But Reiki is not a religion and is completely independent of any dogma.
What sets Reiki apart from other energy modalities is that it works through the intention of the practitioner. Before I begin offering Reiki, I always intend that it be for the highest good of the client, and let the intelligence of Reiki decide what that is. This removes my ego and any attachment to the outcome. I am, energetically speaking, standing aside and letting Reiki flow unobstructed through me. Reiki balances the body’s subtle energy centers, called chakras, so that they are not compromised or blocked. The results are gentle, yet powerful, and even more so with animals.
So if you have the time and commitment, see Dr. Northrup’s suggestions here: bit.ly/2rxXrae They are all excellent.
We live in a universe of energy. Einstein’s iconic equation, E=Mc2, proves that. Loosely translated, it means Energy equals Matter moving really, really fast. Quantum physicists are in agreement that subatomic matter changes from a wave to a particle and back again depending on whether it is measured. What do you do when you measure something? Your focus your thoughts (energy) on it, and thoughts have power.
Sending energy (ki) with intention (Rei) changes things. Reiki has an intelligence of its own. The father of quantum theory, Max Planck, spoke about a conscious and intelligent Mind as the originator of all matter. When you look at Einstein's definition of matter as energy and Planck's quote, you understand the source of Reiki is the conscious and intelligent Mind behind the creation of the universe. Being part of this "matrix of all matter" is how Reiki creates healing in the body’s energy centers or chakras and balances mental, emotional, physical and spiritual levels.
"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter."
Even if you don’t have a black cat, there are several kitty hazards to watch out for in Halloween decorations and treats. Those shiny, crinkly candy wrappers catch kitty’s eye, and they are all too easy to swallow, so please keep them out of kitty’s reach.
Those plastic pumpkin lights and the accompanying electric cords can be fun to play with too, and so can rolling batteries, so keep both away from swiping paws. Your Jack O’Lantern will eventually grows mold, leading to an upset tummy for the kitty who chews on it. Chocolate is even more toxic to cats and can be fatal.
Noisy trick or treaters ringing the doorbell can upset any kitty. Please keep yours in a closed room so they can’t dart out the door and get hurt or lost. Many times those looking to use cats for “fun” will roam the streets looking for friendly house cats that have been let outside.
Be especially careful to keep any black cat indoors, not just on Halloween, but at this time of year. It’s heartbreaking, but ritual abuse of black cats escalates in October, so most shelters and humane societies, including Cat Care Society http://www.catcaresociety.org, will not adopt out black cats to anyone. No matter what the color of your kitty, be sure to keep him or her safe and healthy indoors and have a Happy, worry-free Halloween!
It sure seems that way, doesn’t it? I was just thinking about going away on vacation and getting excited about it and my nine-year old kitty BB started being a lot more cuddly. He knew. But he wasn’t reading my mind, he was reading my energy, emotions and the mental images I was creating. Animals can read us so well because they tune into the emotion behind our thoughts. They read our intentions and the meaning behind our words.
Reading the intentions of other creatures is necessary for animals, whether the animal is a predator or prey. It’s a very important, highly developed survival skill.
One time when Robbie, my young, high-energy kitty was pushing the envelope with BB, I told Robbie, ”BB has had enough and he doesn’t feel like playing anymore right now, so please leave him alone.” Robbie settled down and stopped bugging BB. Robbie understood the meaning behind the words.
It will help foster a better relationship with your pets if you communicate with them on other issues too, like what time you’ll be home after work and why they are going to the vet’s office. In her wonderful book titled, Conversations with Cat, animal communicator Kate Solisti connects to the Council of Felines, the higher group consciousness of cats. She posed questions to them and here’s how they answered:
“It helps us a great deal when you explain why we are going to the vet’s. If you do this, we will have time to shore up our energy field to better cope with the other animals at the clinic. Knowing when we’re going, why we’re going, and when we’re scheduled to return home will positively affect our recovery from surgery and help us focus on our healing. Tell us when you’ll be traveling. We hate it when the suitcases appear and there’s no explanation. “
So there you are, straight from the cat’s mouth!
How do you make sure your pet gets the most out of a healing session? The right preparation is key. Your goal is to make sure there are no distractions, so your pet can focus and give the Reiki energy time to soak into the areas that are ready to heal.
Follow your pet’s normal feeding and exercise schedule, so their basic needs are met. If there are other animals around the house, designate a room away from the main traffic areas for the Reiki practitioner and your pet. There should be no other family members watching, commenting or serving as a distraction. This is a time to be still and create a clear opening for Reiki to do its work.
In the case of horses, move them away from common areas where other horses are being groomed, fed, saddled, ridden, etc. to a pen where you and the practitioner can be alone with the horse. The horse can wear a simple halter, but no bit, saddle or other equipment. If necessary, a cribbing muzzle can be left on, but it’s preferable to take it off for the session.
Your pet may need time to settle down and get used to the presence of the practitioner. I use this time to talk with you about your animal’s history, any concerns you might have and to gently pet the animal to let them know they are safe with me.
Animals have their own way of accepting Reiki energy. Reiki registers for horses include: soft or half-closed eyes, lowered head, twitching mouth, passing gas, snorting, sighing, and breathing more deeply. They may stay in one place as I move my hands, or they may do a “healing dance,” where they walk around me or position certain areas of their body under my hands. They can change sides, present their head or buttocks, and/or cock one of their rear legs.
Dogs will remain quiet, yet alert and settle in front of me and usually prefer hands-on Reiki, while cats will curl up near me or at a distance and go into a Reiki nap.