The key to your animal's well-being may lie in your own two hands.
In growing numbers, dog and cat owners are turning to natural hands-on healing methods as a complement to vet care.
Learning how to lay the hands on or above an animal to channel healing energy from the universe, she says, helps to strengthen the bond between pet and human, and can make the owner feel less helpless when a pet is ill, aging or unhappy.
Chakras - centers of energy that relate to the endocrine system, and which reflect the emotional and physical state of an animal - can become blocked.
"By being able to sense chakra energies we can help rebalance the system," said Coates, who has been credited with discovering an eighth chakra found only in animals (humans have seven chakras). The brachial chakra, located between the shoulders on the back, is the main energy center in all animals and is a link that connects all other chakras, she said.
"Animals that have a strong, healthy link with their human companions usually have a vibrant brachial chakra," said Coates, who uses the chakra as the starting point in healing on animals ranging from horses to rabbits.
For those intrigued, Coates will be offering a lecture and a workshop on animal and chakra healing on March 26 and 27 at the NY Open Center. For info, go to her Web site: www.theanimalhealer.com or www.opencenter.org.
Other modalities are also gaining street cred.
Mary Bruce, a certified Tellington Touch practioner, uses a series of gentle circular motions and light hand pressures that work with the nervous system to heal animals with problems ranging from anxiety to arthritis.
The gentle hands-on approach recently helped to calm Wriggley, a young Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu mix with a biting and leash problem.
"The people in her building thought Wriggley was a completely different dog," said Bruce, who is a co-founder of Mindful Tails.
Beginning tomorrow, the group will host a three-day workshop: TTouch Tips for the Urban Dog, at MaxTamara 75th and Paws, on E. 75th St., in Manhattan ($95). A one-day workshop will be held on April 10 at Animal Haven, in SoHo. ($38). For info, go to www.mitails.com.
The Japanese method of hands-on energy healing comes from the words "rei" meaning spirit, and "ki" meaning energy.
Of course, there is always traditional massage, which is known to help relieve tension, stimulate blood and lymph circulation, increase mobility and flush toxins from the body.
But pet massage doesn't come cheap. A one-hour session averages about $90, which may be incentive to grab a book.
In "Cat Massage" and "Dog Massage," author Maryjean Ballner guides you through methods for creating blissful pets. She recently demonstrated her loving touch method to Henry the cat on the "Late Show with David Letterman."