So, dog reiki is a thing… who knew! I certainly didn’t until I came across Trigony House. The Scottish hotel has been voted one of the UK’s most dog-friendly so it’s little wonder visiting pooches can be as pampered as their owners.
I’m a big fan of spa treatments but had never experienced reiki before and, as far as I’m aware, there aren’t many places that offer it for dogs so my interest was piqued.
Reiki is a Japanese method of channelling energy that was founded in the 1920s. It works by releasing blocked energy and moving it to different parts of the body to promote health, healing and well-being.
As well as relaxing the body and mind, the holistic therapy can help with stress and physical and emotional problems. It is also quite common for therapists to pick up on any aches and pains because they will feel them too.
Trigony’s resident reiki guru is Julia Downie, who has been treating hotel residents since 2017. In that time, she has seen an increasing number of canine customers – many with curious owners, like me.
Dog reiki sessions are generally carried out in your hotel room or a quiet public area, wherever your dog feels more comfortable. As we were staying at the hotel for the weekend, I opted for Ernie’s session to take place in our room while mine took place in the Garden Spa (more on that later).
Julia came to our hotel room bang on time and Ernie was very happy to see her, having been introduced at dinner the previous evening. After giving him lots of fuss, she began by sticking a note on the door to say canine therapy was taking place then spread out a cosy blanket on the floor. Settling down, she explained how it was important not to sit by the door in case Ernie felt trapped.
While Julia put on some relaxing music – the sort of thing you’d hear while getting a massage – I got comfy on the bed and Ernie hopped up next to me, both of us curious about what was to come. I was keen to close my eyes and relax but I really wanted to watch what Julia was doing, too.
Unlike human sessions, dog reiki is very much hands-off but pets feel the benefit of the energy Julia pulls into the room. She also assured me that we’d all get a very good sleep that night, thanks to the extra energy bouncing around – and she was right.
For much of the 30-minute session, Julia sat very still and quiet with her eyes closed and appeared to be holding an invisible ball in her hands. Every now and again, she would change position and Ernie appeared to be very relaxed… until the dog in the room opposite started barking.
Ernie reacted in typical terrier fashion, barking back with gusto, but as time went on and the dog kept barking, he seemed less and less bothered. Within minutes, he was laying down again, smacking his lips, and the barking had reduced to a little growl.
Around ten minutes before the end of the session, Ernie trotted over to Julia and curled up by her side – something which brought a tear to her eye afterwards as she hadn’t even realised he was there.
Apparently it’s quite common for dogs to go to where the energy is strongest so I found that really interesting. I was also a bit taken aback when Julia asked who had the sore shoulder – me or Ernie. How could she possibly know I had been struggling with a stiff neck for weeks?
Ernie slept for hours after his reiki session but I’m pretty sure I felt the benefits too. My hands felt warm and tingly throughout and my mind – which is normally racing – felt calm and collected.
That continued when I followed Julia to the Garden Spa for my 30-minute neck, back and shoulder treatment. I’d heard that some people see colours when they have reiki but I just felt very peaceful.
I must have a lot going on in my head though because Julia said that energy-wise, it felt like I was trying to pull her on to the table at one point. She also said that the back of my head was “very busy” – and I’m still not sure if that’s normal!
After my session, I felt weirdly calm yet emotional and did have a little cry, which I was not expecting. I wouldn’t say I was sceptical about reiki before but I was really surprised by how much it affected me.
Since returning home, I have been looking for local practitioners because I’m keen to give reiki another go – and I’m sure Ernie would be up for it, too. Julia, you’ve converted us!
Half-hour reiki sessions at Trigony House cost £30 for both humans and dogs. For more information or to book yourself in, click here.