Emotional Communication and Therapeutic Touch

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

First Published Species Link, Issue 5, October 1991

In my work as a Therapeutic Touch Practitioner, I often experience moments of profound communication with animals. I believe this is due to centering and the awareness of inner wholeness required in this work. The recognition of wholeness opens the door to a level of understanding that supports healing. The following are two cases in which the communication of emotion supported the healing process.

This spring, I was working at a large Hanoverian breeding farm. A foal with a broken leg had been put down that morning. The body had been left for a while in a corner of the mare run-in barn so the mother could see it and know it was dead. Hours after the body was removed, the mare still stood in the corner, sniffing and calling for her foal.

I asked the stable manager to keep the other mares away while I spoke with the mother. I went to her and stroked her head and neck. She buried her head in my side. I felt the energy field 12 to 18 inches out over the heart chakra, thinking that it might be heavy. Instead it was light and normal. While scanning the chakra, I felt the mare’s bewilderment. She didn’t understand. I sent her words and pictures about the foal’s leaving. Then I told her to share her wisdom of motherhood (she has had previous foals) with the others in the barn.

She whinnied once at a noise outside but returned her attention to me. I repeated in my mind several times that the foal was gone and that she had work to do with the others in this barn. I moved away and when I looked back she was eating.

Another mare, barren this year, came over to me. I asked her to spend time with the other mare and with her to mother the other foals. Later in the afternoon, I asked about the mares. They were in with the others, eating and quiet.

My experience with animals and people suggests that having a job to do, such as sharing wisdom and responsibility, empowers, develops self-worth and brings focus–all of which support life and health. The second case, two months later, involves a Hanoverian colt at the same farm. He had been gelded six days before but the operation site wasn’t healing quickly. The owner was concerned. She didn’t believe he was healing properly and she knew he had been traumatized. I felt the owner’s worry and thought, “Well, I can at least get some energy moving and support the healing process.”

The youngster’s fear struck me at once. He arrived head high, tense, breathing rapidly, and showing white in the eyes. He didn’t trust anyone and he was scared. The sheath was obviously swollen, and he was walking very carefully behind. He wasn’t too eager to stand still nor to let anyone approach him.

I responded to the youngster with compassion and an intense desire to help. I moved to his head and neck, talking and touching. “Yes, I know what you’ve gone through and it wasn’t easy. Now let’s see if we can make it a bit better for you.” This isn’t a whitewash. I acknowledge that the horse has had difficulty but I don’t dwell on it. To do so would be to fix the pain rather than release it.

He stood quietly, listening and watching. I touched him all over–on the neck that was swollen and lumpy at the injection sites, on the barrel that was tight, and on the hindquarters that seemed less concerned than I thought they might be. I touched his legs and his head. His breathing improved and he stood quietly. His head was still a bit high but his eyes were more trusting.

When I started the Therapeutic Touch scan, he tensed and then calmed upon hearing my voice. He relaxed as I reached his neck. I entered the field aiming for the physical level and bashed up against a strong and terrified emotional field.

The field did not show a lot of differentiation, although it was thick over the sacrum and cool around the sheath. There was nothing significant after that first contact with the emotional field. That is until I started to work on the field.

I stirred the field over the sacral chakra and then offered support to the flow of energy in the spine. When I put my left hand on the neck in front of the withers and my right on the sacrum, a major change occurred. For a moment, I felt the horse’s fear and bewilderment at the time of gelding. I was swamped and could barely breath. I grunted, took a deep breath, returned to center and consciously released the feeling.

With this exchange, the energy field became lighter. The atmosphere around the horse changed, as if the sun had come out. I had very little work left to do. The field was calm and functioning. It seemed that unburdening the emotional field opened the way for healing.

I told the owner that the horse had been very frightened not by pain but by bewilderment. He was scared because he didn’t understand. The horse healed quickly. He is easy to handle. His trust and self-confidence have returned.

Fear and emotional stress in animals often come from bewilderment. Communicating this to a human seems to help them return to a state of functional wholeness.

Note:The year of mentorship with Merlin Homer involved writing case histories and meeting with her each month to discuss them. Merlin’s clarity and awareness are awesome and the discussions of that year continue to fuel my understanding and exploration into Therapeutic Touch. In these case histories and discussions, the early glimmerings of working WITH the field grew.

The experience with L.E.’s young horse confirmed again the strong relationship between emotions and physical condition. Acknowledging his confusion and fear was the primary means to shifting the energetic congestion and supporting the immediate move toward healing. Within an hour of this treatment the swelling was down and the horse was walking normally and with a happier demeanour.

This is a theme that continues and deepens in my work with the physical field, emotional edges and the heart sandwich.

The energy balancing procedure referred to in this article involves assessing and balancing. With a hand on top of the throat chakra (on the neck in front of the withers) and a hand on the sacral chakra on the spine, I assess the energetic relationship between them. Is one more active than the other? What are their energetic needs? Is there a good energy flow down the spine? Then I use intent and unruffling to quiet and balance them. –BJ 2/99