Kelly Felstead discovers how three energy healing therapies could benefit your dog.
There are a wide range of complementary therapies that can be used alongside conventional veterinary medicine to improve a dog's overall well-being and health.
Spiritual healers channel universal healing energy, passing it into the animal wherever it is needed to promote natural self-healing.
It is said to help recharge an animal's batteries and can work on a physical, emotional, and behavioural level.
Dorset-based healer Hilary Merrill said animals were receptive to healing as they had no preconceived ideas. "An animal just allows it to happen and doesn't know what it's going to feel," she explained.
Hilary said that a healer would assess the animal, watching its body language, how it moved, and whether it took an interest in things.
"A healer senses and feels with the animal; I sense all parts of the body and feel where healing is needed," she said.
"Sometimes, I start work on an animal and they offer where healing is needed.
"A pet will know what it wants and will also decide when the session ends. Some animals like to have the healer's hands directly on their body, while others are more comfortable with the hands an inch or so away. A dog will become relaxed and calm, and will often drift off to sleep."
It is claimed that spiritual healing can help animals recover from injury and illness, strengthen muscles, take away pain, boost confidence, help with stress, support animals suffering from bereavement, and help make the transition into death less traumatic for dog and owner.
Hilary explained that when a dog has healing his owner receives the benefit too as they are in the room.
An owner might choose spiritual healing for their pet if they've had it themselves, if their vet has done all they can, or for a regular top-up for well-being and to boost energy.
Lisa Benn, a spiritual healer and pet behaviourist from Wiltshire, said it was a natural therapy which had been in existence for a long time.
"I saw an old Golden Retriever who had bad eczema," she explained. "He had sore patches on his face and tail. He had been on antibiotics which made no difference at all.
"I dog-sat while the owners were on holiday and gave him healing every day. By the time the owners came home all the scabs had dropped off and the dog had healthy pink skin."
From Lisa's point of view, healing is more intuitive than other hands-on therapies such as reiki.
"We've all got energy around our bodies; with spiritual healing we feel where the energy is moving and can sense where there's a block," she said.
To find a healer, Lisa recommended contacting The Healing Trust, the oldest and largest membership organisation of spiritual healers in the UK.
Crystal therapy involves using the energy of certain crystals to try and restore harmony to the body.
The treatment is said to work with an animal's subtle energy fields to help address physical, emotional, and mental issues.
The practice of crystal healing dates back to ancient times; there is evidence of it being around in ancient Egypt, and the ancient Chinese and native American cultures were also aware of the power of crystals.
The energy of crystals is unique to each mineral type.
There are hundreds of crystals used in crystal therapy. The most common are the quartz-type crystals including amethyst, which can help calm, tunes into the endocrine system and metabolism, aids elimination, and is reputed to help hearing; citrine quartz, which is good for metabolic problems and aids the liver and kidneys; smoky quartz, which is helpful for protecting against malevolent energy in the environment; and rose quartz, which enables you to overcome negative past experiences.
Holistic vet Chris Day said crystals could also be used to harmonise a living space by counteracting the effects of radiation that come through the body via mobile phones, cordless phones, and wifi - which are not good for human or animal bodies - by inserting them at appropriate locations in a building.
Chris uses crystals to a minor extent at his Oxfordshire-based practice, often in circumstances where other therapies are not working for a dog.
He explained that crystal therapy can be used alongside other complementary therapies and conventional medicine.
After preparation, crystals can be placed around a room, put in a little bag which is hung on a dog's collar for a brief period, and in drinking water.
They may also be put in a dog's bed; however, Chris said he believed crystals shouldn't be forced on to a dog.
"If you put crystals in the dog's bed and he has to sleep there day in, day out that can be damaging,"he said. "How does a dog tell you he's uncomfortable with it?
"I would mostly place crystals in the room. I do find that animals appear to select certain crystals if given the choice. They might choose to lay by them."
Chris explained that owners can learn to do crystal therapy on their own dogs. However, he pointed out that the misuse of crystals may have a negative effect, so people should be careful in application of the therapy. "It's not a regulated industry so it's open to quackery,"he added.
Magnetic therapy is an ancient form of healing involving the use of magnetic fields.
It is another energy healing therapy that is said to harmonise the body.
The principle is that the magnetic energy fields increase blood supply in an area of muscle or skeletal damage.
This allows more oxygen to enter the tissues which in turn allows a more efficient absorption of nutrients. This increased blood flow will help in removing toxins, and in reducing swelling.
Therapists such as physiotherapists and massage therapists may sometimes use magnets to help animals.
It is said to be very effective for problems including back pain, arthritis, and ligament damage, and is used quite a lot for tendon injuries in horses.
Holistic vet Chris Day, based in Oxfordshire, pointed out that magnetic therapy was a supportive treatment which aids healing, rather than providing a cure. He said the therapy could be very effective in some cases.
"I think it can have a huge benefi t for dogs depending on the dog and the situation," he said.
If he feels magnotherapy would benefit a patient, Chris said he would usually recommend it to the owner and give guidance on whether it would help their pet's situation.
There are many magnetic products designed for pets available on the market such as special collars, dog beds, blankets, and coats.
Chris pointed out that magnotherapy was not talked about as much as it used to be, although the reasons for this were not completely clear.