Scanning a Four-Legged’s Field

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

First Published In Touch Vol. VII, no. 3 September 1995

Scanning an animal’s energy field is very similar to working with a human energy field. Principles that remain the same for both are:

    1. Enter the field quietly, aware of the honour accorded you.
    2. Scan from head to toe, and in the case of animals, down all four legs.
    3. Respond to the animal’s needs for the scan to be done in the physical or emotional fields or even at a greater distance from the skin.

As discussed in a previous article, awareness of the animal’s physical symptoms and centering are essential before entering the field. If an animal is in great pain and you blunder into the field without being aware or fully quiet within yourself, you will very likely be bitten or kicked, or the animal may try to escape.

Where and How to Enter the Field

In scanning an animal’s field, I choose carefully where to enter the field. If the animal is quiet and trusting, I may start at the head. I do not approach any part of the animal’s body with my fingers extended and palm facing the skin. This is too much like a “grabbing” hand and most animals will shrink from it. I enter the field with the back of my hand toward the animal’s skin (just as you would offer a dog the back of your hand to sniff rather than an open palm.) With the animal quiet, I turn my hand and begin to feel the field with the palm and fingers.

Often, I choose to start the scan at the neck, saving the head for a later pass through the field. This is the least threatening approach for most animals. As with humans, the head is very sensitive. It is always included in a full scan but any work around it is done very carefully.

Patterns of Scanning

The pattern of scanning is similar for most four-leggeds, although the time and number of passes needed increase with the size of an animal. The following diagrams show the pattern that I use on small animals like dogs and cats, and larger animals like horses and goats.

The order of assessment is usually:

    1. Head (or neck) down the front leg
    2. Head (or neck) down the spine and hind leg and/or tail
    3. Underside of neck down the chest and down the front leg
    4. Shoulder along the side of the barrel and down the hind leg
    5. Chest between the front legs along underside of belly and down the hind leg
    6. Around the head, check out the jaw. Sometimes lameness and general debilitation can be due to teeth problems.
    7. During the scans down the legs, position your hands so you scan front, back, inside and outside of the legs (particularly with large animals.)

With small animals, if they are standing, it is quite easy to scan both sides of the body at once. Otherwise, do one side, then the other, as with large animals. Compare and re-check the feel of the field on both sides, if necessary. With a hand above and a hand below, it is also possible to scan both top and bottom of a standing animal at once. This is useful on the neck, the chest, and the barrel. Remember to scan both sides of the animal, as well as top and underside.

The speed of the assessment varies with the animal’s condition and responses. Too fast a scan is very invasive and the animal will be restless and may try to get away. Too slow an assessment can cause discomfort in areas of swelling or infection. My hands are usually in motion, never staying still for more than a second (usually this brief stop occurs when I am double-checking a “cold” spot.

Once in scanning the infected hock of a horse, my hand remained still for several seconds around this very tingly site. The horse suddenly struck backwards with that hoof, leaving a deep dent in the stall wall. He obviously felt a build up of energy caused by my still hand and he responded to its discomfort. Had I been in the way of that hoof, I could have been badly injured.

In addition to choosing where I enter the field, I am also careful about the distance from the skin. Most of the time, I scan within 2 to 4 inches of the skin–within the physical field. However, if the animal is in pain, if a bone is broken or if there is a skin rash or burn, I usually stay out 6 to 15 inches or more from the body–in the emotional field. I will discuss these different energetic levels in animals in a later article. It is enough to say here that animals do have a distinct emotional component to their energetic being and that it is usually less complex than that found in humans.

The animal will signal very clearly if the scan is too close to the skin for comfort. Last week during an introductory class on Therapeutic Touch, I worked on a dog with an allergic skin reaction to flea bites. This beautiful dog had scratched itself raw on the right flank. As I started, the dog was scratching its back. Then it lay on its right side, while I scanned the entire left side. When I finished, the dog turned over without any coaxing so I could continue on the right side. I was scanning within the physical field and as my hand approached the raw flank, the dog turned his head and watched.

When my hand came close to the raw area, he pushed it away with his muzzle. When I persisted in approaching that area so closely, the dog suddenly growled and snapped his teeth in warning since I didn’t get it the first time. I finally realized how invasive this close scan was in such a sensitive area and retreated to the emotional field, a distance of 8 inches from the skin. The dog lay back down and allowed me to work at this distance. When I finished minutes later, the dog was almost asleep.

During the assessment, I also check for the degree of anchoring (grounding) in the field. To do this, I touch the feet and hold for a moment to see with inner sight if there are roots into the ground. If the anchoring is weak, my next step is to develop the grounding in the animal through its feet.

An assessment of any animal will find the sacral chakra offering information. This center, located on the spine near the junction with the pelvis (sacrum) is the major control center for the animal’s physical well-being and normally feels very busy, almost effervescent. Another chakra that shows up often is the heart chakra, found behind the withers (shoulders) and between the front legs. In my experience, if there is a physical problem, the sacral chakra will be noticeably off (heavy, stuck, unpleasant, sluggish, cold) in 99% of cases. In 70% or more cases, the heart chakra will also show a problem. More about scanning and working with chakras in animals will appear in a later article.

Finally, for your safety and that of the animal, I recommend that you only work on animals that you know something about. Horses, for example, have highly developed flight reflexes and can land on top of you in short order if you do not know how to protect yourself. Cattle can kick in all directions and very quickly with their hind legs. Rabbits have razor-like nails on their hind feet. Dogs may snap and cats may scratch or bite. All of these defenses are doubly armed when an animal is in pain. So be careful.


This article was intended to give an overall pattern for scanning. With animals, as with humans, the initial assessment gives only limited information. As work progresses, the field reveals more. Many have used the metaphor of peeling an onion; unruffling reveals more information. A level of trust is established in the treatment too and that leads to a deeper level of assessment. The human field is more complex but both have strong emotional components.

Ongoing assessment provides information about:

a) how the field is taking the treatment

b) additional information the field is revealing

c) the field’s requirement for additional TT work or completion

–BJ 2/99