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What is Reiki?

Reiki is a complimentary holistic energy healing modality that is used in a variety of settings with people and animals. Let's dig into that: 

The word Reiki, (pronounced RAY KEY) comes from the Japanese word (Rei) which means “Universal Life” and (Ki) which means “Energy.” Reiki is the primordial life force energy that powers each of us, all life on the planet. It is also a beautiful Japanese meditation practice with many therapeutic applications. Reiki practitioners use intention, meditation, and mindfulness practices like breath and focus to "build a bridge” to the “recipient,”  whether human, animal, plant or other. When we talk about practicing Reiki as a system of natural healing, Reiki is a complimentary energy healing modality that works wonderfully alongside other traditional medical programs or treatments. This is because Reiki supports calming the nervous system, enabling deep relaxation, and invoking the body's natural healing process. The Reiki practitioner is like an energy antenna or channel, and Reiki therapy is the practice of creating and holding a healing space to promote the recipient’s innate self-healing abilitiesPlease note that as a Reiki practitioner, I do not diagnose or interfere with medical or veterinary care in any way. 

While there are many types of energy healing modalities, (acupuncture, meridian tapping, Qigong, Healing Touch to name just a few,) the underlying goal of each is to correct blockages and bring the body’s natural flow of energy back into a state balance supporting the recipient's inherent healing capabilities. Reiki follows a holistic approach which is characterized by treatment of the whole animal, or the whole person, taking into account physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. 

Reiki has been looked at in many peer reviewed studies for both humans and animals over the last 20 years, and we now know it activates the parasympathetic nervous system and can decrease stress, anxiety, pain and depression. The use of Reiki continues to increase in popularity and where and how it is used. Today you will find Reiki available in a variety of settings including spas, yoga studios and private practice. You will also find it is offered in many hospitals in the United States including Beaumont, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Cleveland Clinic, New York Presbyterian, the Yale Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic, and Brigham and Women's Hospital to name only a few. It is also offered in many cancer treatment centers, hospices, chiropractic offices, holistic veterinary centers, animal shelters, rescues and sanctuaries.​

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For today only...

Do not anger

Do not worry

Be humble

Be true to your way

Be kind to yourself and all living beings

The Reiki Precepts can be used as part of a daily meditation practice. They are a beautiful reminder to let go of the pain of the past, the fear of the future, to live humbly in gratitude in the present moment and to be compassionate to all, in all ways, always.. This version of the precepts also reminds us to be true to our own self and to follow one's authentic wisdom from within (seek inwards, be you).

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The Reiki Sanctuary follows The Animal Reiki Code of Ethics developed by Kathleen Prasad.  Reiki is one way we can empower animals by respecting their voice and choice when it comes to their wellbeing. Below are the guiding principles:

  1. I believe animals are equal partners in the healing process.

  2. I honor animals as being not only my clients, but also my teachers in the journey of healing.

  3. I understand that all animals have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects, to which Reiki can bring profound healing responses.

  4. I believe that bringing Reiki to the human/animal relationship is transformational to the human view of the animal kingdom.

  5. I dedicate myself to the virtues of humility, integrity, compassion and gratitude in my Reiki practice

The full code of ethics can be found here.



A 2019 largescale study at Harvard University collected data from a total of 1,411 Reiki sessions. They were looking at the effects of Reiki on both physical and mental health symptoms including but not limited to, pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, shortness of breath, appetite, and depression. The results showed that all symptoms were significantly improved following a single Reiki session. Read more...

Another research study at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut found Reiki improved patient sleep by 86%, and reduced pain by 78%, nausea by 80 %, and anxiety during pregnancy by 94% percent. This 5-year study also shows improvement in fatigue and anxiety for patients receiving Reiki.

Large-Scale Reiki Study


Reiki for Animals: The Power of Peace to Heal

Fantastic read from Psychology Today featuring renowned animal Reiki expert, Kathleen Prasad. Discusses the practice and importance of Reiki for animals, and how "meditating with animals can "help us find healing, even in difficult situations." If you're not familiar with Reiki or Animal Reiki this  feature story is a great way to get your 'toes wet!' 


Reiki in Top Hospitals

Hospitals are discovering for themselves the many benefits Reiki can offer. “As our health care system challenges institutions to offer high-quality but cost-effective service, Reiki is being recognized as an important tool to maximize patient care and minimize recovery time,” according to Libby Barnett and Maggie Babb, co-authors of Reiki Energy Medicine: Bringing Healing Touch into Home, Hospital and Hospice. More on Reiki and cancer.

One of my favorite reads is an article written by Jordan Kisner in the Atlantic titled,  "Reiki Can't Possibly Work. So Why Does It?" It covers the rising use and availability of energy therapies like Reiki in hospitals, and a shift in how both doctors and patients are thinking about their healthcare. Kisner  notes how Reiki is being used in hospitals to support managing symptoms for serious medical conditions like cancer and PTSD, and "to improve surgical outcomes, to regulate the autonomic nervous system, and dramatically alter people’s experience of physical and emotional pain associated with illness." It may surprise you to learn many top hospitals are offering Reiki as a complimentary therapy to support patients' healing journeys for a multitude of serious health conditions. Reiki is offered in hospitals affiliated with Yale, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Mayo, the Cleveland Clinic, VA medical centers, the University of Pennsylvania, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. They offer “energy healing” to help treat many health conditions including autoimmune diseases, migraines, hormonal imbalances, and “cancer treatment support and recovery.” It is also worth noting Reiki is used in Michigan at Henry Ford and William Beaumont hospitals.  


Reiki on Pain After C-Section

This 2016 study measured the effects of Reiki on Pain when Reiki was applied to the Incision area of the body after cesarean section surgery.  A reduction in pain of 76.06% was determined in the Reiki group patients between day 1 post-op and after application on the second day.  It was concluded that Reiki applied for 15 minutes to the incision area after a cesarean operation had the expected effects on pain and the need for the use of analgesics.

In another study Reiki application reduced the intensity of pain, anxiety, and breathing rates, as well as the need for and number of analgesics. Reiki application as a nursing intervention is recommended as a pain and anxiety-relieving method in women after cesarean delivery.

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