East York could be dubbed “Far East York” in March — at least around the corner of Pape and Mortimer avenues, where the ancient Japanese art of reiki will be applied to some of our four-legged friends, for their health’s sake.
An alternative pet store on Pape is offering the alternative approach to pet wellness in free workshops this month.
Reiki, which the International Centre for Reiki Training translates from the Japanese as “spiritually guided life force energy” is a technique of hands-on healing that some people already attest to. But in recent years, it’s also been applied to pets — and its practitioners and some pet owners say successfully.
The concept behind reiki is that energy flows through every living being, and loving intentions and touch can have a tangible effect. Moreover, its devotees say, animals are very intuitive, and reflect the feelings of the people around them. And so, the theory goes, reiki can have positive effects on animals suffering from acute and chronic pain, and even conditions like anxiety.
So an East York pet store is bringing in Leisa Peacock, a certified natural health practitioner and aromatherapy health therapist who has been practicing reiki for three years. Peacock is holding free pet reiki sessions at the store, which is called For the Love of Animals.
It’s a good fit for a store that has already carved out a unique niche with its philosophical approach to retailing: independently owned and family run, it refuses to sell live animals on ethical grounds, and promotes a holistic approach to pet care with its product line. Proprietor Marilyn Murray started the business at 930 Pape Ave. just over a year ago, after establishing herself as an expert in guinea pigs — running a local group that rescued the animals, and writing a book on their care.
When it comes to pet reiki, Murray says, “It’s nice to see people are getting into something that is going to relax their pets, or help enhance the medical conditions that they have, rather than just relying on pharmaceutical medicine.”
“Reiki is a gentle healing that channels positive energy as well as universal energy,” Peacock says. “The energy comes through my hands, which feels like a nice warm sensation.”
Reiki theory holds that negative energy that is accumulated over time blocks positive energy that flows through people and animals. So reiki is a way to clear, strengthen and heal humans and pets who were once blocked through negativity. The process allows positive energy to break through and heal in a natural, relaxing way.
“This method is beneficial for animals; it creates relaxation and better sleep,” Peacock says. “My cats are always coming to me and putting their body right under my hands and showing me where they want to feel the energy.”
Peacock has partnered up with Murray for sessions from 1 until 4 p.m. this Saturday, March 5, and later this month, on March 19. The treatments are free, but are by appointment only.
“Really all animals want to give is unconditional love. They only ask for shelter, food and water,” Peacock said. “So anything I can do to give back to these animals I’m more than happy to.”