By KIM LOCCISANO
Times Leader Staff Writer
Becky Brandenburg of Martins Ferry demonstrates the art of Reiki on Echo, a Morgan horse. The time-honored Japanese based traditions of Reiki is a practice that uses energy to help bring certain conditions back into a healthy and more natural balance. The techniques are beneficial to both animals and humans.
Universal Life force of Love
Guidance from the highest intelligence of all
The pulsing electricity of this universe, this solar system, our physical, mental and emotional bodies and the earth
Similar to a battery charger boosting the electrical system of the human body
The most natural way to touch another to ease their pain, stresses and struggles
The key to unlocking the door to the vitality of life when we have lost some of the 'spark' for ourselves
A complimentary technique that will enhance any medical treatment
The release of physical and emotional blockages that we have accumulated throughout life
-From The Reiki Teachers Manual
by Tina Zion
You don't have to believe in something to make it real; you do not have to have faith in something in order to make it powerful; and you don't have to see something with your own eyes in order for it to exist.
Some things just simply are what they are: such as is the case with different forms of energy.
The time-honored Japanese based traditions of Reiki, a practice employed essentially in the western world to improve or restore a natural sense of balance, is built on an acceptance of the idea that energy exists in each being and in the world we occupy.
Reiki techniques seek to use a person's ability to serve as a safe conductor of this energy to help bring certain conditions back into a healthy and more natural balance.
Identifying problems which result in throwing one's world out of balance has become a professional pursuit of Martins Ferry resident Becky Brandenburg, as she has worked diligently to achieve a professional standing as a canine and equine massage therapist and teacher.
Along the way, she became aware of the particulars of the practice of Reiki and the possible benefits it could bring to the injured or infirmed animals she encountered through her massage therapy practice. She soon learned the benefits of this healthful, completely non-invasive practice is not something only for pets, but that it could be a highly beneficial experience for humans in need of preventive or restorative efforts.
One therapy compliments the other when you are looking at canine and equine massage therapy and techniques available through the various levels of Reiki skill sets, she explained.
"It does not matter whether you are working with Reiki to help a dog or cat or a human," she offered candidly. "I don't even have to touch them to connect the Reiki energy to them. I'm the first to admit this sounds a bit over the moon, and I can't fault anyone for thinking that initially.
"But I know it works, even if I just reference the results seen by the people who call me and ask me to try this to help their pet. When they see ease or change in the condition of an animal they have a connection with is the best proof I can offer others. It happens, and a lot of times, the difference-the calm-the energy redirection, makes it seen almost instantly," shared Brandenburg.
The energy conducted through Brandenburg's subtle, quiet, calm skilled efforts are founded in what many have long accepted as the body's energy system regulators, the Chakras:
Each Chakra is recognized as being connected to singular aspects of individual's well-being and the flow of energy related to keeping that in a natural balance, she explained, offering a basic science class explanation everyone has encountered.
"All matter is made of atoms. Even a wooden table has this energy. It just moves at a much slower rate than water or air. We are alive because of this energy. In Reiki it is known as 'ki.' Since Reiki does not embrace a doctrine or dogma, the source of this energy can be called anything: life source, spirit, holy spirit (Native Americans would say it comes from Father Sky or Mother Earth).whatever your belief," she said.
"In our body, there are spinning vortexes of energy known as chakras. The seven main chakras lie along our spinal column. When an electrical current flows through a wire, that wire is coated with a protective covering to contain the electricity. Our bodies do not have such a covering, so our energy flows through us and out from us. This outpouring of energy from our body is called our aura.
"The free flow of energy nourishes us physically, emotionally and spiritually. When our energy, or ki, is disrupted, it causes diminished function. Physical illness can cause emotion disturbance, emotional upset can cause physical problems, and it all can lead to spiritual doubts and questions," she said. "To remain healthy and balanced, we must be open to our universal source of energy, and then this energy must flow freely through our being and radiate out through our aura."
"Receiving and giving Reiki will help us to remain open to this free flow of energy," said Brandenburg. "The energy that you receive during a Reiki treatment goes where it is needed, guided by the universal source. My clients all tell me that they feel a warmth, initially. Then a calmness. It is not necessary to have a belief in Reiki for this energy transfer to occur."
"I don't know exactly how it all works, I just know it works," said Shadyside resident Gail Groves, speaking both of techniques employed through Reiki and through massage therapy sessions two of her three dachshunds have benefited from, thanks to Brandenburg's efforts.
Thanks to a simple Reiki effort initiated by Brandenburg, Groves works at her home with the dogs to help relieve movement and pain issues rooted in the days before they came to the local family through rescue efforts. These issues resulted from abuse and abandonment and included severe muscle strains, mostly due to a complete inability to be calm or to relax, emotional upsets, physical problems including a badly broken leg, ruptured spinal discs and more.
One dog is benefiting from massage therapy. The second is benefiting from the introduction of Reiki techniques to its healthcare routine.
The resulting improvement in the wellness of each dog was immediately noticeable according to Groves, but it was the result seen from the Reiki effort she found to be nothing short of amazing when it came to the positive impact it had on the dog's chronically tense condition and personality.
"The difference was amazing. He relaxed! For the first time, he was able to actually relax and enjoy being held and petted like he always should have been able to do but wasn't because of everything he had been through before," shared Groves, noting the techniques have also resulted in improvements in their personalities, as they are much more at ease with people and aspects of daily life that had previously caused stress for the dogs, the family and visiting friends.
It was during a regular visit Brandenburg paid to the family's house to work with the dogs that discussion turned to the benefits Reiki offers humans as well as dogs, cats, horses and the like.
Brandenburg was unaware Groves had chronic shoulder pain for some time. A brief Reiki session seems to have helped rid her of that pain.
"She doesn't even have to touch you, she just put her hand near me and I could feel the heat coming from her hands toward my arm. Her hands were hot. She said the heat was actually the energy of Reiki," reflected Groves. "It just worked for the dogs and me. That's all I know."
Brandenburg is slowly introducing the details of Reiki to the public through open houses at her studio in Martins Ferry and through class sessions.
Depending on the focus of a specific course, classes are held at her studio in Martins Ferry or at a local stable which allows access to horses such as Echo, a Morgan, who is only too happy to serve as a teaching aid whether for equine massage or Reiki.
Class schedules and information on the practice are available to the public at becky @horseanddogtherapy.com or by calling 740-633-6639.
Two public open house events highlighting Reiki information will be held at her studio at 610 Hickory St., Martins Ferry on Sunday, Jan. 15 from 2-4 p.m., and on Jan. 29, from 2-4 p.m.