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East-West Synergy

East-West SynergyReiki – a Japanese healing method – may complement Western medicine to help sick animals get better, says a Tufts veterinarian. No. Grafton, Mass.

Boston [06.07.04] Some people have never even heard of Reiki - let alone considered using the Japanese holistic treatment on their ailing pet dog or cat. But when traditional methods fail, many pet-owners are turning to Reiki for help. According to a Tufts veterinary expert, the increasing use of the alternative treatment appears to be beneficial.

"I have animals that are on Western, allopathic medications, as well as Eastern medications," Dr. John McDonnell - a veterinary neurologist at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine - told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "They seem to work better together than separately. It's almost a synergistic effect."

Reiki - which gets its name from a Japanese word meaning "universal life force energy" - is practiced by people who are trained to receive energy from the universe then transmit it via their hands to people, animals and plants in need of healing.

Like other holistic methods, Reiki seems to be gaining popularity among some veterinary students.

"Indeed, students in the four-year doctorate program at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine just this school year formed a club for students interested in holistic medicine," reported The Boston Globe.

Rachel Russo, a third-year Tufts veterinary student and co-founder of the club, started to practice the method when her dog - in pain from knee surgery - couldn't sleep. Russo's mother, a Reiki master, recommended giving the dog a treatment, reported the Telegram.

"Within minutes my dog was fast asleep. That's when Reiki had me," Russo told the newspaper.

Despite Reiki's success, Tufts experts seem to agree that these types of complementary medical treatments are not really "alternatives." Instead, they serve to complement traditional practices.

Commenting on a Reiki workshop organized by Russo and a classmate, McDonnell emphasized the idea that practitioners of Eastern and Western medicine are focused on the same basic goal: healing animals.

"One thing that is tremendous is that we are all working to help animals," he told the Telegram. "We all really, really, want to help the animals out."

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