Everything you always wanted to know to choose the best holistic healing approach for your pet’s health.
1. Is your companion animal acting old, getting stiff, or having trouble jumping?
2. Has there been treatment by a veterinarian for any problem more than one time per year?
3. Are there problem behaviors?
4. Does your dog smell "doggy" and need bathing every few months or more?
5. Does your dog or cat have mouth odor or tartar on the teeth?
6. Have you noticed that anyone in the family is becoming allergic to your animal?
7. As the years pass, is your companion showing less interest and happiness in life?
"Holistic" is an approach to thinking about health that focuses on the whole animal rather than a "disease." The holistic approach uses both conventional and alternative treatments. Holistic practitioners are taught to use all the symptoms an animal has now and has ever had in the past to find and treat the individual’s underlying predisposition to illness. Each dog with thin hair, lethargy and obesity may need a different homeopathic remedy or different acupuncture point prescription. Each itching cat may regain his or her health with one of the different treatment options available. When treatments are successful, the current symptoms resolve over time, never come back, the animal is more active, feels better and no further treatment is needed. Keeping a journal is the cornerstone of the holistic approach because it helps you evaluate your animal’s total health and response to treatment.
A palette of choices
Think of an artist’s palette with many different colors of paint as this holistic approach. The palette is the approach of focusing on the whole animal and paying attention to the response to each treatment. Each different color of paint is a type of treatment—conventional drugs, conventional surgery, conventional lab work, classical homeopathy, combination homeopathy, needle acupuncture, laser acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, network chiropractic, herbs, flower essences, massage and more. Your animal’s life is the painting. Some paintings need only one color and others need many different colors to be beautiful. Conventional treatments, or homeopathy, or herbs or another may be the only approach needed to maintain health, or many different treatment approaches may be essential.
The underlying philosophy of holistic medicine
Shifting how you view symptoms and illness is a key step to having your animal be very healthy. The premise (the palette) is to treat the individual who has the disease, not merely the disease. Since the underlying energy imbalance is being addressed, treatments will address all the current symptoms at the same time. The itching, ear and digestive problems will be given a single energetic treatment. General health building supplements, mild topical treatments to soothe the skin and ears and gentle energy techniques may be also used. The main treatment is to re-balance the energetic basis of the body so the symptoms never return and there is general improvement in health. Physicists have now validated this energy approach, so read some of their material. Just as no two snowflakes are the same, no two animals have identical underlying problems. The treatment is chosen for each animal, not for the disease. If you glance quickly at snowflakes they may appear the same, yet they are unique. The same symptoms in different animals seem to need the same treatment, yet to achieve true health each animal may need a different combination of modalities, different homeopathic remedies, chiropractic or acupuncture prescriptions. Pasteur said "the microbe is nothing, the terrain everything." Terrain refers to the individual’s specific susceptibility to disease, including infectious agents. Where did the susceptibility come from? Can it be eliminated? Every generation and culture that looks at this deep level of "spirit" has different explanations for the cause of ill health. As you explore different way of healing your animals you will be sharing a journey followed by billions of people through the centuries. Try something yourself or with professional help, then evaluate its effect on your animal by carefully keeping a journal (The Healthy Animal’s Journal makes it very easy to track symptoms – order at www.healthyAnimalsJournal.com).
Definitions of Holistic Modalities
The following definitions are very brief and express my personal experience of curative ability versus merely palliative or supportive. . There are many more. The first are healing techniques you can and should learn yourself. They will often soothe the symptoms while deep healing is occurring. To find training in the following techniques first go to your local health food store, holistic health practitioner or search on the web. Many are used primarily to treat people. Learn it as taught to treat humans, then apply to animals. Some are specifically for animals. Both approaches are the same, since we are all energy beings. The second group requires training, certification or licensing. Some of these have certificationprograms with a year or more of courses, exams and evaluation of clinical ability.
Techniques You Can Learn Yourself
Tellington TTouch: Every owner and person working with animals will love this easy to learn healing technique. TTouch is a method based on making gently circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body, including the face and even the gums. The intent of TTouch is to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence. TTouch can help animals learn better, relax, pay attention and can heal many ailments. www.Tteam-ttouch.com 800-854-TEAM
Healing Touch for Animals: HTA/KHM uses bio-field therapies – recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – to integrate, balance and clear the energy body. It works by releasing endorphins to establish a deeper relaxation and state of being, allowing the body to function at a greater level. By allowing muscles to relax, circulation is increased, sending more oxygen, nutrients, and hormones into the body to support healing. HTA/KHM works on all levels of the body: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. These techniques allow the animals to come into a deeper instinctual presence of their body. Courses taught around the country. www.HealingTouchForAnimals.com
Reiki: The practitioner places her hands upon the animal (or it can be done from a distance as some animals are too sensitive for direct touch) with the intent for healing to occur. The energy flows through the healer into the animal. This is based on directly applying Chi (energy) to rebalance the energy field so it no longer needs to produce the physical symptoms. It is a very good adjunct to any healing modality, especially to relieve pain and inflammation. You can use Reiki to “take the bad” out of a substance, like a vaccine. By using Reiki on the site of the required rabies vaccine, your pet may not become ill from the vaccine. Different levels of training enable you to do hands on, long distance (thousands of miles away), just physical, just etheric body or both. www.reiki.org is one site.
Flower Essences: Totally safe liquids extracted from flowers, these are wonderful support for healing of animals and people, never suppress or harm, and you can use your intuition to select the essences. They are especially good in emotional problems. Some books on treating animals are now available and there are a large number of web sites to help you decide on the company you want to use and the which essences for your individual animal. Green Hope Farms, Spirit Essences, Anaflora and New Millennium have combination flower essences that are very effective in preventing fleas and ticks on your animals. The "emergency" essences are great to have on hand. Remember that you may need to take the same essences as your animals. See appendix for companies.
Massage: This is always nice for all beings. It stimulates the body to heal by relaxing muscles holding the bones, joints and organs in improper position and everyone can do it. Michael Fox’s Healing Touch is one good resource. His other books, some now out of print, are excellent and will soon be available on his web site —Touchlings and One Mind, One Earth.
Aroma Therapy: Aromatherapy uses aromatic, volatile extracts of plants to treat emotional problems in animals and people. By correcting the emotional imbalance, physical problems can be eased as well. Basil, Geranium and Lavender, among others, have a calming effect. Lemon has a cleansing effect. Use caution with cats as some essential oils can be toxic. Their smell is so acute that they may be bothered by the oils diffused in a room they cannot leave. Good sources are www.PulseParty.com/HealthandWealth4You, www.Aromaleigh.com and www.thePetWhisperer.com.
Magnets: Medical benefits work via bio-electrical (electro-biochemical) effects at the cellular level. The electro-motive force exerted by the magnetic field will re-organize molecules within the cell and thus affect biochemical processes. Magnets have been particularly effective in pain management from arthritis or old age. They have been effective in many other illnesses as well. Nikken is a great source of good magnets.
Pressure point therapy: Chinese medicine is based on the principles of energy flow throughout the body on meridians. There are specific points that access these meridians. Anyone can learn how to press on these acupressure points to relieve symptoms or assist with healing. Four Paws, Five Directions by Cheryl Schwartz is a wonderful guide to this therapy. Learn from your acupuncture veterinarian specific points to help your animal’s problem.
Herbal: Use of the medicinal herbs in their material form to treat specific problems, conditions or to enhance overall vitality. Mild ones like slippery elm, burdock, dandelion, comfrey, dill, Echinacea, eyebright, garlic, ginseng, goldenseal, horsetail, kombu, myrrh, nettle, parsley, plantain, psyllium seeds, and others are fairly safe for you to try on your own. Remember that some plants can be toxic. Books by Tilford, DeBaircle Levy, Wood, Yarnall, Frazier & Pitcairn cover herbal treatment of animals. One of the problems is administration—especially in cats. Animals’ Apawthecary has glycerin extracts that are very good for cats and dogs since they are more palatable. Herbs can be toxic. (www.ChristinaChambreau.com)
Nutraceuticals and food supplements: Nutritional substances used to enhance the body’s function. Again, the problem is often in how to administer these to cats or small dogs. Glandulars are animal tissues are harvested, preferably from organic, free range reared animals and are prepared by freeze-drying and defatting, then using a vacuum process to dry the glands after freezing. No heat or chemicals that can destroy the enzymes are used. These protomorphogens, or extracts of tissues from glands such as adrenal, pancreas, pituitary, thyroid, and ovary, are given orally to help support those particular tissues in humans and animals by offering the precursor substances that the glands can use to enhance their functions. The glands, like foods, supply basic nutrients, such as amino acids, oils, vitamins, other active ingredients, and a potential "life force," where a drug will not. Some evidence from radioisotope studies suggests that glands, when eaten, do in fact get to the human glands and influence them.
Healing/Animal Communicators: A leap in faith for some, these modalities can produce miracles. The next 50 years will find many more people being healed by directed energy methods that intuitive healers can use. Each communicator receives "messages" from your animal friend in a different way, always requiring their interpretation. As with all methods of treatment or input, you need to notice if what they say fits and improves your animal’s life by keeping up with journal entries, especially for a short time before and after the consult.
Color Therapy: Color is visible light emitted or reflected at a specific vibrational wavelength; it is this unique vibrational signature which
produces the healing effect. The blue colors are calming and the red, of course, are stimulating.
Crystals and Electro-crystal Therapy (ECT): Ancient Egyptians used crystals to heal their sacred cats as well as themselves. Crystals are often attached to harnesses or collars for cats or dogs. Liquid preparation similar to the flower essences can be given orally. ECT is done by holding a unit containing the crystals in saline on the area to be healed and stimulating the unit with electricity.
Prayer: Scientific studies have proven the efficacy of prayer.
Professional Training Is Best For These Approaches
Homeopathy: System of medicine started in 1800 that uses substances
(in their energetic form) to correct deficits in the vital force so symptoms resolve and overall health is enhanced. Remedies that produce symptoms in tests (provings) are given to ill animals (or people) who have the same pattern of symptoms. Remedies can be used by you with little training (See Homeopathy Report by Dr. Chambreau) to treat specific acute problems like injuries. Using homeopathy for more serious or long standing problems is best left to trained professionals. Certification.
Chiropractic: Re-aligning the musculoskeletal system, especially the spinal column, relieves pressure on nerves, thus restoring function to the body. Certification.
Network Chiropractic: A more gentle modification of chiropractic uses light pressure and energy techniques for a more gentle chiropractic treatment. Training.
Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs): Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs: 5,000 year old system that treats the energy pathways of the body to remove blockages and rebalance the chi. Many conventional veterinarians feel comfortable referring animals for acupuncture. A lot of research has documented the various physiologic effects of acupuncture. It can be used in a conventional method that is very easy to learn – “Use these points for this disease”, which will palliate or even suppress. When practiced properly it can be one of the most deeply curative forms of medicine. Pulse and tongue diagnosis can be used to determine treatments when the animal is still at the energetic imbalance phase before symptoms have appeared. There is no condition that cannot be cured, though not every individual can be helped. Chinese herbs can be used independently (though not as curatively) of the whole Chinese medicine approach. Certification.
Ayurvedic: Ancient system of medicine from India that not only treats disease, but maintains health and wellness. It integrates the use of herbal supplements with diet, massage, exercise and meditation (our animals already do this, I think), to balance the three doshas. Prana (breath) is the energetic basis for health. Ayurvedic herbs simply mean herbs from India and can be used independently of the entire Ayurvedic healing approach.
Bowen: Physical manipulation of the muscles based on "strumming" the muscle body to readjust the way it moves and connects with the body. Bowen trained veterinarians are few at this time and are reporting deep healing from this technique. Certification means there is an organization that trains and certifies veterinarians.
Osteopathy: Manipulation of the structure of the body that is distinct from chiropractic. There are not very many veterinarians trained in this modality.
Rolphing: Manipulation of the fascia overlying the muscles, and the tendons and ligaments allows normal function of the body.
Healing/Animal Communicators: A leap in faith for most veterinarians, these modalities can produce miracles. Fine as long as a veterinarian monitors the health status and you keep track of symptoms in a journal. I recommend an energetic reading at least once a year and preferably twice to identify early problems.
Trust me, communicators and energy healers can really work from anywhere in the world – they do not even need to be on the phone with you and you do not need to teach your animals to talk on the phone, either.
Applied Kinesiology: It is the use of manual muscle testing as a functional neurologic assessment tool. The procedures are used to evaluate and correct functional imbalances in the structural, chemical, mental and energetic systems of the organism. College of Applied Kinesiology (for people).
NAET: Nambrudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique uses applied kinesiology to slowly desensitize animals to allergins.
Electrodermal Screening (Biotron II/Interro/MSA-21/EAV) – From an acupuncture point you can measure the flow of energy in the related meridian with a machine. By knowing if the meridian is weakened, balanced or stressed the treatment can be chosen and then tested against the animal to see if it will successfully balance the problem. This is a way to have some idea if your carefully selected treatment will help before waiting for the animal to demonstrate results.
Alexander Technique: Body manipulation is done through training the body with movements.
Zero Balancing: Relaxation, repatterning & release through light massage can be very effective.
Ear candling: An amazing technique that many animals will actually tolerate that can clear out long standing discharges from the ears. A waxed linen tube is inserted into the animal’s ear and the far end is lit on fire. The heat (or something) sucks out long standing wax deposits.
Hydrotherapy: Swimming pools are a nice support for musculoskeletal problems.
Flower Essence Therapy
Flower essences are one of the first treatment choices for you to try with your animals. They are a safe, effective and natural way to help your animal companion lead a healthier and happier life. While homeopathy can sometimes harm an animal and acupuncture needles are best used by well trained professionals, flower essences are totally safe. I strongly recommend studying and trying different essences. Use your intuition to select the essences. Let your animal select her own by putting down a bowl of water with each essence and see which ones are drunk.
The philosophy behind Flower Essences was developed by Dr. Edward Bach, an English homeopathic physician who gave up his busy practice to study and prepare the 38 Flower Essences known as the Bach Flowers or English Flower Essences. There are now many producers of flower essences. Some are made as Bach did, by putting the petals in water and exposing them to sunlight. Others are made in intuitive ways.
In our animal companions, Flower Essences have their greatest benefit in the treatment of emotional or behavioral problems, yet can also directly help physical problems – like fleas and ticks.
Flower Essences are very helpful for working with injured or captive wildlife as you can mist them or offer the essences in water – no need to handle the animals to treat effectively.
Dr. Bach was a deeply religious man whose spirituality was reflected in his work. He believed that each of us has a divine mission on earth that can be discerned through listening to our own instincts, wishes, thoughts, and desires. He also believed that all disease is the result of disharmony between the soul and the mind. There are many ways for people to heal this disharmony ranging from meditation to psychotherapy. But wait – how does an animal have disharmony between mind and soul and body?
Yep, you guessed it – they live with people. People put animals in our environments, away from their family and other members of their species. They have to adjust their schedule (cats are usually nocturnal) to ours. Certainly, we are not being mean or arbitrary when we insist that our animal companion use the litter box or refrain from biting, scratching, bucking, or flying out the window. Our animal companions must make these accommodations in order to share our lives. We are not responsible for all of an animal’s disharmony that is healed so beautifully with flower essences. I know there are energetic patterns that occur between animals – fear in a deer when chased by a wolf, for instance. And they live on a planet where we have weakened them with pollution, energy disruptions and negative vibrations.
Animals can manifest behavioral and physical problems that have their roots in emotional trauma. One explanation for the success of the essences is that they correct underlying negative emotional states by "flooding" the patient with the positive quality needed. For example, the essence of Holly is love. You could use Holly in any situation where there is a lack of love, such as anger, jealousy or rage. Similarly, the essence of Rock Rose is courage: it is used in cases of deep fears, panic, and terror.
While flower essences are focused on the emotional body, I know they really are healing the imbalance in the underlying energetic balance of the body with their gentle energies. They carry the positive energy of the glitch in the energy field, so over time, the positive emotions are encouraged and behavior problems resolve.
The reason I strongly recommend using Flower Essences is they are one of the few modalities that is totally safe (also other energy techniques such as Healing Touch). They do not interfere with other treatments. They cannot be overused or misused. Unlike homeopathy where the search is for the single matching remedy, you can give more than one flower essence at a time. Wrong remedies simply have no effect. This allows us to use Flower Essences in food and water bowls, even when several animals share them. Flower Essences are very easy to use! They can be given by mouth, added to food or water, applied topically, or used in a spray bottle to infuse a problem area (carrier, car, room, cage, trailer or stall).
I suggest putting each of the essences you select (single or combination ones) into a separate water bowl and letting your cherished pet choose which ones she needs the most. Then you can combine them and put into one water bowl. Always leave one untreated water bowl so they will not be deprived of water.
In most cases, one course of treatment of up to 6 weeks (rarely for life) will be needed. The more frequently you give the essences in a day, the better the action. Usually improvement is seen within the first two weeks of treatment. The essences can be rubbed on the inside ear flap where there is no hair, or anywhere where skin is exposed. They can be added to food. They can be sprayed in the air..
Flower essences are readily available from health food stores, and with a little study from one of the many excellent books on the subject, it is a fairly simple matter to create your own formulas. The following is a list of many web sites that carry the different formulations.
Which company to choose?
I find the Bach essences the easiest to prescribe since there are only 38 to learn. Other companies are producing hundreds of different essences that can much more closely match the behavior you need to help. I have many favorite companies.
Dr. Jean Hofve founded the company at www.SpiritEssences.com. She has made a wonderful array of flower essences. Her Teton line is channeled from the plants – no part was even picked. She and her partner do behavior, nutritional and holistic counseling and has a great newsletter that teaches essences. 303-404-1922
Molly of Green Hope Farms Flower Essences is led by the devas and flower spirits to grow certain flowers on her New Hampshire Farm, or to go elsewhere to collect specific plants. She has over 150 different essences listed in a wonderful catalog. Recently she has created specific combinations for animals including Anxiety, New Beginnings, Senior Citizen, Spraying and Transition. Many of my clients have had good success with her Flee Free to prevent fleas and sometimes ticks. It works wonderfully for my cats. 603-469-3662 Green.firstname.lastname@example.org
Perelandra Flower Essences are part of an entire philosophy of co-creative living channeled by Maechelle Small Wright. Use her Microbial balancing, her Medical Assistance Program, her soil balancing techniques along with her flower essences and see all aspects of your life and that of your animals improve by leaps and bounds. I love her perspective on our planet and how to live and run our businesses in partnership with Nature. www.perelandra-ltd.com, 540-937-2153
Anaflora flower essences and flower essence formulas made just for animals are produced by Sharon Callahan who is an animal communicator and leading pioneer in the use of flower essences in the treatment of animals.
California Flower Essences (1970) were the next to be developed and tested after the original Bach remedies and there are over 200 of them from which to select. Richard Katz and Patricia Kaminski also present a lot of educational material about essences and direct the Flower Essence Society. www.floweressence.com 800-548-0075
Delta Garden Essences – Dr. Jensen (an excellent veterinarian using essences) really likes these. Deltagardens.com (978) 463-3344
Pegasus Products have over 1200 essences. PegasusProducts.com800-527-6104
Flower Vision Research (does not have their own line, but provides educational workshops, books and sells other companies essences. www.flowervr.com
Australian Bush Flower Essences developed by Ian White. ausflowers.com.au
Alaskan Flower Essences developed by Steve Johnson alaskanessences.com
Ladyslipper.com – Georgia
Dr. Christina Chambreau
NB:I have included this article in my website about scientific healing via integrative treatment and homeopathy to help every pet owner have all available healing options. I personally integrate clinical nutrition, supplementation, chiropractic (via referral) and some mild energetic healing modalities, e.g. Bach Flowers and Reiki along with homeopathic treatment. Dr. Chambreau is a great resource if you would like to discuss other options.
Please note: The information provided here is meant to supplement that provided by your veterinarian. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of information at this site. Nothing can replace a complete history and physical examination performed by your veterinarian. -Dr. Jeff