The Benefits of Animal Reiki

by Guest Blogger Kristin Harrison, RMT, LMT

Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive energy healing technique that all animals can benefit from. It is safe, effective and can do no harm. Reiki balances the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of an animal by releasing energy blockages which create imbalance and disease. When an animal’s energy is balanced and flowing, healing and change occur. Animals respond quickly to the ease that Reiki produces on these levels, often harmonizing seemingly difficult and impossible attitudes and

Reiki addresses the root cause of acute or chronic conditions, adapts to the natural needs of the animal, heals holistically, and can be used as preventative and or maintenance care. Animals decide how much Reiki they want to accept and for how long. They determine where they want the Reiki to help them, either physically, emotionally or both. However, Reiki is not a replacement for appropriate veterinarian medical care. Reiki supports medical care by accelerating healing, reducing pain or discomfort, and stimulating the healing process.

Reiki enhances overall well-being

Just like people, even healthy pets can have occasional physical, emotional and mental imbalances that, if left untreated, can manifest as illness. Reiki helps balance out emotions such as fear, anxiety, aggression, depression, and other behaviorally based issues. Periodic Reiki treatments can help maintain your pet’s natural state of well-being and balance.

Reiki accelerates healing following surgery or illness

Reiki can alleviate and prevent side effects of conventional medications such as prescriptions and antibiotics, and provides pain relief and relaxation to facilitate and enhance the body’s natural healing response.

Reiki increases trust and bonding between you and your pet

People and pets often mirror each other’s physical and emotional states. Animals are natural healers and sometimes take on their person’s problems, often in an attempt to heal them. This happens because of the deep bond shared between a pet and his or her person. Because of the shared energy in such a close relationship, energetic imbalances are shared as well. For optimum healing, joint treatments for people and their pets can often be beneficial.

Reiki assists with behavior issues by promoting relaxation and stress reduction

Many behavior issues are caused by stress. Reiki has a calming effect on the pet and may help make the pet more receptive to training and behavior modification. Reiki is extremely beneficial for animals with a history of abuse, especially those in shelter care. The gentle touch and the energy can help restore trust in animals who have learned to associate touch with being hurt. Reiki can also help with transitions such as moving house, introduction to, or loss of, another pet. Reiki helps to heal the spirit, bringing animals back to a state of trust and connection, giving a sense of purpose and building their confidence with other animals and people. Reiki helps balance out emotions such as fear, anxiety, aggression, depression, and other behaviorally based issues.

Reiki strengthens the immune system for cancer therapies

Cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation present stress to an already compromised immune system. Reiki strengthens the immune system to better deal with this additional stress. It helps alleviate or prevent the side effects of conventional cancer treatments and provides pain relief.

Reiki provides comfort and relieves pain, anxiety and fear for animals in hospice.

Reiki is a wonderful way to facilitate the transition for terminally ill animals and their owners. Often, animals will not allow themselves to transition because they intuitively feel that their person is not ready to let them go. Joint Reiki treatments for the pet and his or her person can help both through this difficult time by enhancing the bond and allowing a gentle transition.

And most importantly, Reiki makes your special animal companion feel loved and at peace.

Creator of Grateful Spirit NH, Kristin is a Holistic Massage Therapist and Reiki Master who specializes in Integrative Therapies for special populations such as fibromyalgia, oncology, and hospice. Kristin has an extensive background as a fitness/holistic health educator and is also a part of the University of New Hampshire’s massage therapy team – providing integrative massage therapy to students, faculty and staff at their Durham, NH campus. A compassionate writer and artist, Kristin has a special connection and passion for animals and animal rescue. To learn more, please visit

Breast Cancer Awareness and Compassionate Listening

by Kristin Harrison, RMT
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would like to acknowledge some thoughts that have been shared with me over the years while offering therapeutic touch to people living with cancer. My intention is that hearing these comments direct from the source may offer one some insight and compassion towards another’s point of view. These comments are not direct quotes but rather a collection of thoughts based on my personal experiences, and are not meant to speak for all people living with cancer. There is no judgment; these loving words are expressed with a higher purpose to create awareness.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, and honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” ~Leo Buscaglia

Hearing that a loved one has cancer is a frightening and surreal moment. In the midst of emotions, one may not know what to say or how to react. The following are five statements that have been shared with me while offering Reiki and bodywork to people living with cancer.

1. Everything is going to be all right.

This doesn’t make me feel better. I know this may not necessarily be true and it just makes me feel dismissed and not heard.
What I really want to hear is that you’re going to be there for me through the good times and the bad, and that I am not going to go through this journey alone. Offer to help me so that I don’t have to ask you. I want compassion, not pity; comfort, not advice.

2. I am more than my cancer; please treat me kindly, not differently.

If you don’t know what to say, it’s okay not to say anything at all. Just offer the comfort of your presence, a hug, or an arm around my shoulders. Allowing some silence without rushing to fill it, gives me a chance to say what’s on my mind, in my own time.
I like to hear success stories, not horror stories. And please remember that I can always use a good laugh.

3. Please don’t assume that because you may think I look good, that I must be feeling better.

Unless you’ve been treated for the same type of cancer, have undergone exactly the same treatment, and have had the same response, you really don’t know how I feel.
You have no idea what it’s like, and it’s upsetting to me when you act like you do.
The sad truth is that my cancer can be progressive and I can still look fine.
What you may not know is that when I work, attend functions, and go about my life living with cancer, that I may spend a good deal of time preparing by taking extra naps or cutting out other activities.
Instead please ask me something like, “How are your mood and spirits holding up through this? This gives me a chance to tell you how I am feeling, if I choose to.

4. Congratulations, you’re done with your treatments!

As a caregiver or friend, you may feel excited when a course of treatment is done, but my feelings are much more mixed. During my treatment, I feel more so that I am taking action, and focusing on a solution. When my treatment is finished, I may feel anxious and uncertain – What’s next? What do I do now?

Instead, please give me a chance to express how I’m feeling. Or ask me “How are you feeling now that you’re finishing up with your treatments?” I need to know that you are not only listening to me, but that you hear me.

5. I want my caregiver to take good care of him/herself.

Thank you for being supportive and encouraging. Thank you for being there for me. Please take care of YOU! It’s ok – and I insist! – that you take time for yourself to see your friends, enjoy your hobbies, live YOUR life. Taking care of yourself allows you to be more present when you are with me, and I want you to know that I recognize that.

Additionally, here are some recommended sites worth checking out:
Please click daily to give Free Mammograms:

Local Support Groups, Education Meetings, and Free Screening Sites:

Kristin Harrison offers gentle and natural skilled therapeutic touch through Reiki and other holistic therapies within in Londonderry, NH.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, 50% of all “Think Pink” aromatherapy products will be donated to support breast cancer research. “Think Pink” is a soothing blend of lavender, geranium and sandalwood.
To learn more about Kristin, please visit or call 603-935-9261.

Healing Hands Chiropractic is a full-service family wellness center in Londonderry, NH offering prenatal & pediatric chiropractic care, acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, reiki & aromatherapy, massage therapy and birth classes.

Birth Your Way

“What do you think of your body?”

It’s a question that elementary school children have been asked recently, in hopes of shedding light on the body image crisis. But it’s also a question that every woman of childbearing age should ask herself – and most do, albeit unconsciously.

Medical anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd writes that a woman’s choices regarding her birth often reveal her deepest beliefs about the abilities of her body, and by extension, her beliefs about nature and technology. A woman who believes that nature has made her body powerful and capable will choose a birth with minimal interventions – a labor that begins spontaneously and is allowed to progress without interference. A woman who believes that technology is superior to nature and that medical knowledge is superior to natural (and often unpredictable) body processes will choose a more “controlled” birth, where the labor process is carefully monitored and perhaps managed by outside influences. Even if the type of birth is not consciously chosen in advance – in fact, it rarely is – these same belief systems are often evident in a mother’s choice of care provider (midwife or OB/GYN) as well as the location for her baby’s birth (home, birth center, or hospital).

Of course, many women begin pregnancy unsure of what they believe regarding medical technology and its relationship to nature. The attitude of today’s average expectant mother could be summed up like this: She wants to believe that a natural, low-intervention birth is safe, realistic, and worthwhile. But by the middle of her pregnancy, she has heard, read, and viewed so many birth horror stories, she is no longer confident in her body’s ability to birth without the “safeguards” of modern medicine. She likely still hopes for a normal birth, but has taken on more of a “wait and see” approach to her birth plan.

Several studies indicate that a mother’s level of satisfaction with her baby’s birth is only loosely related to the choices that were made, but very closely related to the mother knowing she played an active role in making those decisions. A mother who feels pressured to submit to an intervention she would prefer to avoid (or even a mother who feels she was denied an intervention she wanted) is often left feeling very dissatisfied with her birth experience.

Regardless of the decisions she makes, every mother deserves to give birth with confidence in her choices. Just as the physical work of pregnancy reaches its climax with labor and birth, much of the intellectual and emotional work of pregnancy is to be informed and stay confident. Pregnancy and childbirth classes are an excellent way to get information. The face-to-face interaction with childbirth professionals as well as with other parents gives both the mother and her birth partner the chance to ask questions and explore their beliefs about a natural pregnancy and birth. Most importantly, birth classes encourage dialogue between the mother and her birth partner. (This is often a more effective source of communication than handing your husband or boyfriend a copy of the latest pregnancy book and then wondering if he’ll actually read it.)

Prenatal yoga classes offer pregnant women another opportunity to increase confidence in their birth choices, no matter what they are. Yoga’s emphasis on “tuning in” to the self helps a woman build confidence in her intuition. Pregnancy hormone jokes aside, Woman’s Intuition is not cutesy sitcom fodder but in fact a powerful and valuable player during pregnancy and birth. For many women of childbearing age, the value of intuition has gone the way of body confidence: we lost it in early adolescence. Pregnancy is an opportunity to reconnect with both.

Not sure what you want for your birth? Be honest with yourself. Do research. But most importantly, practice tuning in to your deepest thoughts and feelings. With time, you will begin to discover the choices that are best for you and your baby.

Healing Hands Chiropractic offers a number of prenatal care services to help you have the healthiest pregnancy and birth. In addition to pregnancy and childbirth workshops, we offer prenatal yoga, prenatal chiropractic care (including the Webster Technique), prenatal massage, reiki, and acupuncture.

Reiki Therapy Can Help Increase Fertility, Promote Good Prenatal Health & Ease Labor Pains

Reiki is a very ancient form of healing which originated in Tibet and was re-discovered and further developed by a Japanese monk named Dr. Mikao Usui. It is a natural hands-on method of energy balancing for the purpose of stress reduction and relaxation.

Reiki therapy can be used for many conditions and situations. It is especially useful in helping infertility because it is safe and gentle. It helps you reach a deep state of relaxation where you become receptive to receiving healing, thus allowing physiological and emotional changes to take place within your body.

There is a variety of health benefits associated with Reiki treatments. Some of these benefits include:

  • reduced levels of stress
  • increased energy levels
  • improved immune system health
  • reduced muscle pain
  • reduced levels of anxiety and depression
  • improved methods of detoxification

Because Reiki healing works to improve your overall physical and mental health, it can in turn improve your chances of getting pregnant by promoting overall reproductive health by minimizing conditions and illnesses that can contribute to infertility. Reiki therapy can help to maintain good reproductive health that is beneficial for both men and women. Also, because stress is often linked to fertility problems, Reiki therapy can be beneficial in cases in which stress is contributing to problems getting pregnant.

In addition to promoting good preconception health, Reiki treatments can also help promote good prenatal health. A recent study found that Reiki healing sessions reduced stress during pregnancy by 94% while nausea and morning sickness were reduced by 80% after Reiki treatment sessions. In addition, the study found that quality of sleep is improved by 86% when Reiki treatment is conducted during pregnancy.

Reiki healing can also help to minimize labor pains as well as to provide relief to muscles and reduce other discomforts linked to the birthing process.

To learn more about the benefits of Reiki please visit

To book a Reiki session with Dr. Jessica Caruso please call 603-434-3456 or email

Discount packages for Reiki treatments are available upon request.



An acquaintance shared her birth story with me. We’ll call her Shelley. Her child was born at a local hospital less than four years ago. Here’s a summary of the birth of Shelley’s first child:

Shelley’s water broke (also called “ruptured membranes”) a few days after her due date. As instructed during the last weeks of her pregnancy, she called the hospital, and was asked to come in for an evaluation. After a quick test, it was determined that her water had indeed broken, and she was admitted to the labor and delivery floor. Shelley was then asked to get in bed so that staff could check on her baby’s heart rate with an electronic monitor.

She stayed in bed for 13 hours.

Over the course of that long night, not much changed for Shelley or her baby, except that she got pretty darn sick of sitting in bed. When morning came, the birth of her baby did not appear to be any closer than it had been the night before. He doctor decided to administer Pitocin, a synthetic hormone used to cause or strengthen labor contractions. For the next 11 hours, Shelley sat in bed experiencing strong labor contractions with no pain relief. (Because her cervix had not dilated to at least 4 centimeters, she was not eligible for an epidural.)

After a full day of Pitocin-induced contractions, Shelley was exhausted, frustrated, and dilated to only 3 centimeters. By this time her water had been broken for over 24 hours, which many practitioners believe increases the chances of infection. Since Pitocin had not helped her labor to progress, her doctor diagnosed her with labor dystocia (also called “failure to progress”) and recommended a cesarean section. Shelley gave birth to her baby via cesarean a few hours later.

Shelley was left very disappointed with her birth experience. She had wanted a vaginal birth and couldn’t understand why her body had not cooperated. She was left to recover from major abdominal surgery while learning to care for a newborn.

Shelley’s story is a classic example of a concept childbirth educators call the “Domino Theory of Interventions.” Like dominoes falling, one medical intervention leads to another, and that one to another, and so on, often resulting in a disappointing birth experience overall.

Could Shelley’s cesarean birth and subsequent difficult recovery have been prevented? I believe so.

There is a specific reason Shelley’s labor did not progress: Her baby never “dropped,” which means his body never moved down far enough for the top of his head to press on her cervix. Especially in first pregnancies, without pressure from the baby’s head, a mother’s cervix can dilate the first few centimeters, but usually no further.  Mother and baby truly work together to make labor happen.

Why didn’t Shelley’s baby drop? The likely reason is that she was stuck in bed. Her body was not allowed to opportunity to work with gravity and move her baby deeper into her pelvis.  The most frustrating part of this story is that, according to Shelley, there was no medical reason for her to stay in bed for those 13 hours. She simply wasn’t offered other options. Once the Pitocin was administered, staying in bed was necessary, since Pitocin augmentation requires continuous monitoring of fetal heart tones.  (This is because Pitocin contractions can be more stressful on the baby than naturally-occurring contractions are.) As we know already, Shelley’s baby hadn’t had a chance to drop, so the 11 hours of painful and exhausting Pitocin contractions were relatively futile.  For Shelley, confinement to bed interfered with both her own body’s and her baby’s natural impulses, which resulted in Pitocin administration, which necessitated staying in bed and further stole the opportunity for Shelley to work with her contractions. In all likelihood, it was medical intervention that created the need for a cesarean.

So what to do if you find yourself in a situation like Shelley’s? If you give birth in a hospital, starting your labor in bed is highly probable, since most hospitals require 15 minutes of fetal monitoring upon admission. If this is your hospital’s policy, you still have options. You can sit upright in bed for 15 minutes, then get up and move around. Another option – one that works especially well if your situation requires continuous monitoring throughout labor, instead of just 15 minutes – is to labor near the machine but not in bed. You can stand or walk near the machine, or sit in a rocking chair or (my personal favorite) on a birth ball directly next to it. As long as the monitor stays in place on your abdomen, and you don’t move further than the wires can reach, there is no good medical reason for staying in bed.

Our weekly prenatal yoga classes incorporate many poses that can encourage your baby to “drop” and engage in your pelvis at the final weeks of pregnancy. The majority of the poses we practice are equally helpful during labor, and some can even be used for birth.  Any expectant mother who wants to learn more about helping to create the birth she wants for her baby is invited to join an upcoming prenatal yoga class or childbirth class series.

Healing Hands Chiropractic is a family wellness center located in Londonderry, NH. Also offered at Healing Hands: Prenatal and Family Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Pregnancy Massage and Reiki Therapy.  

Reiki Therapy Now Available in Londonderry, NH

Beginning with a mother’s calming hand, touch on a crying child is an instinctive means of relieving pain, and one that we use throughout our lives.  Reiki is a gentle method of hands-on healing for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.

The Japanese word “Reiki” is made up of two words – REI is the universal life energy, while KI is the vital energy life force. Originating in ancient Tibet thousands of years ago, Reiki was rediscovered in the mid-1800’s by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan.  Though Reiki techniques appear simple, the effects can feel profound.

Reiki can accelerate the healing process for those who are ill, under medical treatment, and/or in the recovery stages. Reiki may not cure your ailment, but will compliment any modalities or medications that you are currently using by offering “side benefits” rather than “side effects.”

If your health is already well maintained, experiencing a Reiki treatment will leave you feeling more peaceful and relaxed. Unlike massage, the client is fully clothed during treatment.  The experience is safe for everyone, including babies, children, elders, and pregnant women.

Appointments with Dr. Jessica Caruso for Reiki Therapy at Healing Hands Chiropractic in  Londonderry, NH may be made by visiting their website at or by calling 603-434-3456.