The healing instincts of animals Animals have an uncanny knack for healing, not just others but also themselves. Kindred Spirit meets some unusual healers – across many species Many years ago I went for a very emotional counselling session – my counsellor was a large shire horse. Therapist Helen Wingstedt worked with a herd of horses to explore what her clients needed to learn about themselves. The interaction was mighty strange and Helen’s interpretation of what the horses were doing was scarily accurate in terms of what I was going through. It was my first taste of how animals can give us incredible insights and healing that is more profound because it is beyond words. I then went on to meet a number of exceptional people working with animals, interviewing the amazing Amelia Kinkade for example and discovering a number of people whose relationship to animals is so fascinatingly complex that the end result is healing for themselves, the animals and the planet as a whole. Rescue animals rescue us James French is an animal healer who is pioneering a method called The Trust Technique. Here’s his thoughts on his work: “I find myself sitting in a caged area of a rescue pen, in Tipperary, Southern Ireland. I am sharing the space with two dogs. One is very friendly and the other, a petrified being. She is only one year old, but for the 6 months that she has been in rescue, no one has been able to touch her. A larger rescue centre had tried but to no avail leaving a gloomy report that nothing was going to help her and the only way forward was euthanasia. “I am at this Rescue Centre demonstrating a new method of working with animals that uses peace of mind. This is called the Trust Technique. I have a small group of students watching me with keen interest from outside the pen, ready to learn. “As I crouch down and find my focus by placing my attention into the present moment, I can see in my peripheral vision little Gabriella in the far corner of the pen and the other friendly dog travelling between the both of us. It feels like the friendly dog knows exactly why I am there and is assisting in the healing work. My attention glances over to Gabriella and I feel a huge sense of panic. My stomach tenses up and I know that I must now overcome this thinking by re-focusing back into the present moment. “I don’t know how long I have spent in this caged area. My vision is now quite fuzzy as I keep my attention on a focal spot in the cage. The friendly dog is still walking between Gabriella and me as slowly a new relationship begins to form. Then something new happens on this journey, the friendly dog is closely followed by a soul who is prepared to feel touch. “With the friendly dog sandwiched between us, I gently reach out to touch and stroke Gabriella on the shoulder. I feel a sense of honour and gratitude flood over me. I have stroked thousands of dogs before, but with Gabriella, I feel like I am stroking her soul. “I taught the handler how to use the Trust Technique and within five minutes she too was stroking her. It feels like little Gabriella had been desperate for this type of attention, but was so sensitive that no one could get close to her. Fifteen minutes later we all watched as the handler and dog proudly when out on the lead for their first walk. A year of repressed feelings and an hour of the Trust Technique was all it took to give Gabriella a positive direction in life.” James explains his amazing work: Animals are part of the human psyche. The animal/human relationship is something very special. Animals have been part of our lives for as long as we have been alive on planet Earth. They have been a huge part of our own existence, with many civilisations and cultures created around the physical needs and even the spiritual understanding that animals have offered us. Animals and their roles with us humans have been constantly evolving and throughout this process they are now intertwined with our own psyche. Take the example of the dog, which was once a completely wild wolf. Over time, the wolf has been bred into many shapes and sizes, evolving through our own needs of desired looks, traits and roles in our lives. The dog has evolved so much with us that they have learnt to read our body language, facial expressions and deeper internal feelings. Often they know their owner, like no other human could! This is why we are so open to them, being man’s best friend, partner, worker, family member or child substitute! This change has not just happened with dogs, but all the animals that we call pets. We have changed their evolutionary path to be more like us and to adapt to our everyday life cycle. Physical beings that think and feel, slowly over time are taught the complex emotions that humans have to share and they can respond to this whether it is consciously or sub-consciously. Animals have gained advantages via this evolution as well! Look at the cat, first thought to have befriended humans in the early Egyptian times by helping us reduce the mouse population to generate growth of the grain stores. These days the normal domestic cat has evolved to a great life, suffering the luxuries of such things as radiator beds!
Animals are emotional mirrors Animals are far more sensitive than us human beings. Physically, the horse can hear things that we cannot, as their range of hearing is between 14 Hz to 25 KHz while us humans have a range of 20 Hz to 20 KHz. Dogs and their amazing sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than ours! They smell in parts per trillion! That means that they could smell a few drops of a substance in the volume of an Olympic sized swimming pool! These are statistics taken from the University of California, where dogs are being used to detect the very first stages of cancer with their sense of smell. They are also more sensitive with their feelings to the point of showing very impressive ESP (Extra Sensory Perception). Rupert Sheldrake has conducted hundreds of experiments showing the telepathic abilities of animals. His most famous experiment of such, being when dogs know that their owners are coming home. Video cameras were set up in the home so that the dog’s behaviour could be viewed while the owner is out in town. Then at unarranged times he would send a text to the owners to head back home. As soon as the owner has the thought of going home, the dog responds to this by waiting by the door or responding in anticipation! Many people are aware of the fact that animals pick up on their feelings in this sensitive way.Surely it cannot be too much of a surprise that when we are going through emotional situations, our animals respond to this in a very unique way! If a dog can pick up on your thoughts of coming home, then your emotional stress that you bring home from where you have been is going to be like a loud speaker barking your emotions at them! A stressful day at work, shouts a stressful day of feelings to your dog. We have accurately discovered that over 80% of animal behavioural problems that we have worked with are a direct reflection of the human feelings! The animal will mostly likely have picked up the feelings you produce and then express them through an undesirable behaviour. In these situations it is absolutely pointless to only focus on the animal, as this is not the true cause. It is the environment, meaning the thoughts of the human, which needs to change.
The Trust Technique The technique changes the human feeling levels by creating a very strong present moment. When we decrease our thinking level and enter a peaceful state of being rather than thinking, the animal that is close to us also picks up on this non-thought. The result we get is the animal enters a trance-like sleep state! Yes, they are also very sensitive to this non-thinking state! This is a completely different way of changing the way a problematic animal behaves, as it changes the human thinking first. The humans become conscious after being present and literally teach the animal using peace of mind. The implications to this are huge! Not only is it a very clean efficient way to work with animals, but it also helps the human and animal to move forward in a positive way. The result is a beautiful relationship. The animal’s sensitivity highlights to the person the need to change. The human responds by creating peace of mind for the animal and themselves. Often it takes a crisis point for humans to become aware of their thinking. This can come in many forms such as a disease or a breakdown or a loss of something we love, to get us to re-address who we are and how we live and think. Animals could help us well beyond dogs smelling cancer. It could be that they can warn us before any of these problems start to even materialise. The gift of animals is more than we have ever imagined and we can learn so much from them. It is time for us to see them as equals and not underlings so that our own consciousness can evolve for the benefits of everyone and everything. Moving forward with purpose We have created a very purposeful way to promote the work that we are doing with the trust technique. We have done this by creating an online TV show where you can see the technique in action and, as well as this, learn how to use the Trust Technique with your very own animal! The monthly membership funds us to provide our services to rescue animals free of charge and teach the staff members, so that they can carry the work on with other animals. In the videos you can see exactly what the funding is doing, view the effects of teaching animals with peace of mind and see how they release their emotions and the close relationship that this creates with their owner. The other part of the membership site teaches you how to create a strong peaceful mindset that can be directed to any part of your life and how to share this special feeling with animals. The education is valuable for anyone who recognises that thoughts affect your life, even if you don’t have animals. This idea of promotion is new to us. We are excited as it means we can now share this valuable information of being conscious and creative in our lives, while being of good service to the many animals in need. These stories are touching as some of the animals are being given their last chance to live a happy life. With your support and with a monthly membership, we can help make this change for everyone. Every life has meaning and value and you can start changing them today by following the link below! Please join our team at: www.trust-technique.com or call 0845 4194951, or email [email protected]
Animals that heal themselves We speak to Gill Schweizer about her work in zoopharmacognosy – the amazing act of animals choosing their own medication for healing. Often humans don’t know what will make them better so how is it that animals, supposedly less intelligent than us, have this innate ability. The ability to self medicate in animals is innate – it is something they are born with – it exists within them without them having to learn about it. Intelligence is the capacity to learn, understand knowledge and humans learn from each other through word of mouth and behaviour – Zoopharmacognosy is not learned behaviour – think of how people’s own cats and dogs are often taken from their mother around 8 weeks old and have never been outside to learn about which grass to eat to purge themselves but you will see them do this – it is not just any grass but specifically chosen. They drink out of muddy puddles and ponds taking in the nutrients and minerals they may need, eat clays that bind to toxins to detoxify. The woolly caterpillar – which most humans would say was not the most intelligent creature – switches to eating highly toxic hemlock to rid itself of deadly parasite infection (Kartban and English-Loeb 1997) However animals do have two routes to take odours to the brain- humans only have one. As well as the olfactory route animals have an organ called the vomeronasal organ above the hard palate(equines and felines in the hard palate) and on both sides of the nasal septum which when stimulated transfers the odour molecules via chemical signals directly to the limbic system in the brain where the amygdala and hypothalamus interpret these olfactory clues into neuroendocrine responses. It is thought that although humans have this organ in the womb it disappears sometime after birth. Do you think there is a lesson in there from the animals for human intuition when it comes to healing. Definitely . Because of today’s lifestyle humans have lost touch with their intuition but it is still there within. A dog needs to behave as a dog, a horse as a horse, a tiger as a tiger – when they are prevented from doing this dis-ease happens. Humans need to know its ok to be yourself – we are conditioned to think we need to be ‘someone ’, to be seen as successful and it takes us away from our inner self, our intuition, with pressures and stress to be what we are not leading to dis-ease. By accepting our selves – as animals do – it allows us to connect with out intuition and have a balance between mind body and spirit. In the last issue of Kindred Spirit David Hamilton describes in great detail how Oxcytocin plays a great part in human health and happiness. It doesn’t cost anything or take time to be kind – it is connecting with that oneness within all of us. It is thought that the secondary metabolite from Achillea millefolium is linked to the stimulation of Oxcytocin and animals do seek it as a support and trust mechanism when they release their traumas. Are all species of animal equally able to access this knowledge or are some animal species more likely to know what they need? I believe that as all animals have evolved over thousands of years, each species has developed the innate ability it needed to survive – using the environment around itself otherwise the species would have died out. There were no humans advanced enough to help them. For example, the woolly caterpillar selects Hemlock to rid itself of parasites, chimpanzees suck only the pith of the Veronia amygdalana plant to purge the parasites, American starlings line their nest with selected aromatic leaves to deter mite infestation, other birds roll in ants nests to use the formic acid sprayed by ants to kill the lice in their feathers – horses may well choose Wintergreen to relieve pain whereas dogs tend to choose Yellow Birch for the same pain relief. Snakes taste the air with their tongue to wipe the molecules across the openings of the vomeronasal organ. However, the route of absorption can differ between the species, Cats are more likely to roll in plants releasing the aroma to inhale. Herbivores have developed a very efficient enzymatic physiology to process the secondary metabolites they ingest, carnivores may also take secondary compounds from the guts of herbivore animals such as rabbit, deer that they kill to eat. Animals can determine the healing effect of a compound by selecting the route of absorption e.g. The compound Bornyl acetate in valerian is effective as a sedative if inhaled but rendered ineffective if taken orally. Most Incredible case I’ve ever dealt with. From a pure Zoopharmacognosy perspective i.e. evidence of self selection – it has to be Fairy an elderly 27 year old pony who had been with the same family for many years and now belonged to the young daughter (pictures of spotty pony and little girl!) I had been asked by a lady for help with her horse that had been described as explosive/ unpredictable and dangerous. During this consultation, the pony in the next stable was craning her neck round the stable wall over the rope, to inhale the oils I was offering to the other horse. The pony had been very poorly with Cushing’s related laminitis and was on veterinary medication. The pain made it difficult for the pony and she was lying down in her stable unable to stand. However she made the supreme effort to try to receive the oils that were being offered to the other horse in the next stable. The family had already made the decision that it was time to put an end to the suffering of their pony and she was about to be put to sleep. The young daughter understood and wanted to be there with her pony when the traumatic time came. The owner agreed that as the pony had shown such a desperate interest in the oils she should be allowed to try to self select, but was also concerned not to raise the hopes of her daughter. The pony showed a keen interest in the oils, extracts and dried powdered herbs that were potent anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories, heat relieving and immune supporting. The next day the pony showed some improvement, standing up moving around her stable, she then progressed to outside and although a little sore on the concrete was fine on the softer ground. 15 months later, the now 28 year old pony, has not had a re-occurrence of laminitis, is enjoying life and in the words of the owner ‘at times running around like a 2 year old . It was also useful that the oils I use are high quality organic oils as this family run the UK’s first and only organic livery yard. To me this shows the truth of self selection – this pony was not even being offered the oils but knew in her desperate state just what she needed to heal herself and save her life– and she did! Won’t a greedy animal just eat everything? No, these secondary compounds will taste bitter and unpalatable to an animal if not needed. Even when selected, once an animal has taken enough – the body recognises this and the taste in their mouth will change – the compounds become unpalatable ensuring that they do not overdose themselves. Is it this aromatherapy for animals? No, Zoopharmacognosy uses, dried fruit/ seeds, dried roots, leaves, herbs, macerates, clays, chalk as well as volatile oils, absolutes and co2 extractions. They may be inhaled, ingested, absorbed sublingually in the mouth, or applied topically to ability to self dose and could lead to over dosage. Animals must be allowed to walk away from the compounds at all times. Can I just put the compounds in their food? No, this would lead to an animal having to ingest a set amount of the compound, again taking away the opportunity not only to self dose but also route of absorption. The way a compound is taken into the body has a big impact on the resulting behaviour. The other choice would be not to eat the food. If a compound needs to be ingested e.g. horses love dried rosehips which help with strengthening their hooves and immune system – interestingly rosehips are found later summer before
the winter chill,- it can be offered separately giving the animal the choice. Can I also thank Caroline Ingraham who has been a leading pioneer for over 25 years and without her dedication and perseverance none of this knowledge would have become available and many animals would have suffered as a result. Gill Schweizer www.holisticanimalhealing.co.uk tel: 01233 861443 or 07745121352 or email [email protected]
The Healing Power of Horses Leanna Milward explains Equine Facilitated Therapy For millennia, man has been the leader in the horse-human relationship. Horses have faithfully served us in many areas, allowing us more speed by riding on their backs; they have carried us through many wars, and ploughed our fields. These days the role of the horse is mainly one of pleasure riding and sport, although across Europe and America, a much more highly regarded role has been unfolding for the horse, one which may change the way we see animals altogether. More and more, horses are being recognised as having a special and powerful ability that is having a profound effect on people who are interacting with them. Equine Facilitated Therapy (EFT), guided interactions with horses, is showing the horse in a new light, for it is the horse that is providing the healing, and the results are phenomenal. The benefits of EFT are being utilised in many areas, such as assisting people in overcoming drug and alcohol addictions, rehabilitating young offenders and prison inmates, and also helping people who are wishing to transform their lives and spiritual growth through personal development. EFT is even being incorporated in managerial and executive training for corporate companies. What is it about horses that enables them to be such powerful healers? Having evolved for millions of years as a prey animal, horses have developed a keen ability to sense their environment, and all things within it. Horses are also herd animals, and share a strong empathic bond with each other. Through living in herds, horses have developed an advanced ability to communicate, and a whole new world of interaction unfolds to anyone who can understand this language. Thanks to the horse’s strong empathic nature, he is able to immediately sense how we are feeling. Horses are not fooled by any false persona that we display, for they can read the slightest gestures of our body language and are able to sense both our conscious and subconscious energy states. And if a horse is in any doubt about what we are expressing outwardly, it is always our inner state that the horse will respond to. Through the horse we have a direct window into our subconscious. What are we able to learn from horses? Horses are masters of authenticity. They live fully in the present moment, they show no hesitation in expressing themselves fully and succinctly, and all their actions are for the highest good of the whole herd. If they sense a negative or imbalanced energy around them, it is perfectly natural for them to assist the herd member (be it horse or human) in regaining a state of equilibrium, for the peace and well-being of the herd. Living in a structured herd hierarchy, horses are also excellent teachers in leadership. Able to show us where we are not leading our lives with integrity and confidence, the horse is a master at guiding us to overcome our emotional blocks and limiting patterns of behaviour so that we can regain leadership of our own lives. How does EFT work? Generally an EFT session is totally open and free of all format as it is always the horses that leads the healing experience. A general outline for what occurs during one of these experiences is a trained EFT assistant and their horse or horses, preferably outdoors in the horses natural environment, assisting a client. The client is encouraged to talk about the areas of their life that they wish to improve, all the while the horses are being closely observed, as it is their expressions that guide the healing. Horses express themselves in the same ways that we do, namely through sound, body language, and also role playing. Anytime a horse does something noticeable, such as lifting a head and looking, swishing a tail, or making a sound such as sighing or snorting, the horse is signalling that what the client is expressing is important, so we follow that thread of communication further. Horses often take people straight to the heart of the matter, to the things that we long-ago suppressed and hide even from ourselves. Even though this can feel quite intense, it is exactly this that makes this form of therapy so powerful, as the horses bring up that which we need to release in order to live freer, happier and more creative lives. And all the while that the client is talking about their issues, the stored cellular memory of trauma starts to be cleared from the body. Horses assist greatly in this, they are powerful energy healers and work together as a team to beam love and support. Sometimes the horses take a more active and physical role with the client. The horses may all move away and ignore them (bringing up rejection, failure, ‘nobody likes me’), or they may come right up to the client and crowd them or gently herd them around, indicating that this client has no boundaries and allows people to walk all over them. Through role-playing, horses may indicate that a relationship needs healing by them pairing up and mutually grooming each other, or they may signal a troublesome relationship by fighting and bickering with each other. By understanding the individual characters of the horses, it is quite easy to discern what it is that they are expressing. If Joseph, the big Shire gelding and leader of the herd comes over and starts to push the client around (often under the guise of gentle nuzzling and affection), he is indicating that there is an overpowering authoritative male influencing the client, such as a father, boss, or partner. Whereas Blessing, being the youngest member of the herd, often indicates childhood issues that need addressing and clearing. Once the main issue that the horses are addressing has been brought out into the open, the clearing can begin. Going back to the original example of the horses ignoring the client and moving away from them, we explore all the other situations in that person’s life that made them feel how the horses are making them feel. As the client gets more to the root of these negative feelings, one by one the horses start to turn and face them, and step by step they approach. And even though the client may experience the emotional pain of these memories as they pour out of their subconscious, a great reward awaits them. Once the horses feel that the person has reached to core of this issue, they all come close and gently nuzzle, showing their love and support. The horses indicate that those negative memories and emotions that were stirring within that person to be cleared, but were also pushing people away energetically, are now gone. Only when the horses feel that we are clear of this issue will they approach, and the reward of feeling accepted and loved is simply priceless. If a client experiences the opposite with the horses, such as them crowding around them and being disrespectful of their personal space, they are guiding the client to a more physical experience, and often a totally new one; pushing the horses out of their personal space, but without touching them. Horses love this game, it is the basic structure of their herd life. A subordinate horse is not allowed to approach a dominant horse, unless the subordinate horse is showing submissive body language. Whereas a dominant horse is allowed to approach any horse in the herd, and maintains a check on their authority by consistently approaching the lower ranking horses and asking them to yield by taking a step or two away. So by us moving the horse out of our space, we are gaining a more dominant position in the herd, which is exactly where we want to be if we want to experience a safe and respectful experience with these magnificent animals. Of course this brings up the personal issues within the client, such as a fear of saying ‘no’, feeling that they will be rejected if they express themselves. Here the resistance to raise our energy and use our body to move the horses away can feel enormous, as all the memories of where we have let ourselves be dominated by others start to pour out of our bodies. But the resistance is short-lived, for once the client experiences the empowering energy of moving horses without touching them, they
feel energised. The horses move with ease, they hold no grudges or resentment. And then something unexpected happens… the horses start to follow the client. By asserting themselves in a clear way, they attract the respect of the horses, who now wish to be near the client in a respectful way. And the benefits that people experience while working with the horses have far-reaching benefits way beyond their paddock interactions. Something deep transpires when we open up to horses is this way, and powerful inner shifts transform us, and our lives. We find a new creative energy flowing through us, inspiring us to reach for our goals and express ourselves more fully. People around us treat us differently, with more respect and dignity. And we see the world with new eyes, with a deeper understanding that there is meaning and magic in nature, that animals understand us more than we realised, and that we are not alone on our path. We are one with the world, and we have a huge family of animals who are willing to help us on our way. To walk the path with the noble and majestic horse, is to walk a path with a powerful and wise teacher and friend who is always ready to show us new potential, if we are open to seeing. Leanna Milward Equine Facilitated Therapist, Horse Whisperer, Equine Healer & Animal Communicator www.flyingwithhorses.com, email [email protected] or call 01252 844246
Reiki & Massage for animals Jo Rose and Terry Shubrook do amazing healing work for animals using a combination of massage, reiki, Kinesiology and other healing modalities to bring relief to animals and people. “I started with reiki and I did that for myself originally,’ says Jo. “Then I was working in a dressage yard for a short while and while I was there I practised reiki on some of the horses, the ones with emotional things or behavioural problems and they responded well so some of the owners asked me to do this for their horses as a sideline. Over time I realised this was a thing by itself, a therapy by itself, and so I took my Reiki master level course in order to teach it.” Now Jo teaches practitioner courses the following animal therapies: Reiki, Kinesiology, Equine and Canine Massage, Horse Listening, plus workshops in Colour and Sound therapy and Zoopharmacognosy. “Over time I began working specifically with animals. Vets have a bit of a mixed reaction to what I do, some are more open-minded. The vet I work with, because it is a legal requirement to do so, is very open-minded. One of my reiki students works in a veterinary practice and they’re now getting her to go out and use reiki for animals with behavioural or anxiety problems. It’s slowly being brought in now and is more accepted. “I’ve worked on horses, dogs, calves, goats, the odd farm animal. Usually people bring their animals to me. Cats are a bit difficult as it is hard to bring a cat somewhere. It can be hard to pin them down so I teach the owners how to work on their own cats. You can judge by the animal’s response how they’re reacting to the healing. It is quite intuitive.” Terry Schubrook works both on site and with distance healing. “The way I do distance healing is different to most people and the way Reiki healers do distance work. I use a person, quite often my wife, as a surrogate so then I have a live body to work on and they can tell me what they’re feeling. Once someone is used to being a surrogate they can tap into emotions and energies and feedback on physical issues. I carry out corrections from my tool kit of healing sound, colour, kinesiology, and can work with them in current time, go into past lives and into different dimensions. So I work on the body of the surrogate and that is transmitted through the ether and basically at the end of the session I go through a three stage process to disconnect the person from the subject at the other end. “When dealing with past lives, I’ve found that most animals stay within their species but I have had one or two where they’ve transposed from dog to horse and I’ve had a couple of clients who’ve gone from horse to human.” You can find out more about Jo and Terry’s fascinating work by visiting www.rose-therapy.co.uk or calling 01273 299611.