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Healing Techniques: Brain Balancing and Emotional Release Therapy for Animals

In my work as an animal communicator I often encounter animals that are struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It's no surprise then, that the same techniques that work so well on humans with those issues are also incredibly effective at reducing or alleviating the physical manifestations of these mental health conditions in pets.

I frequently recommend the use of one or both of these healing modalities to pet owners to help restore emotional and mental balance to four-leggeds that are battling the stresses of these conditions. The instructions I relay here are for animals, but they may also be used with humans. When using the Emotional Release Therapy (ERT) technique for humans, I strongly recommend reading the book written by the developer of the technique, Walter Weston. You’ll find the book, Emotional Release Therapy (Hampton Press), at most large booksellers and online stores. It was originally published under the title Healing Others.


This method is particularly well-suited to individuals suffering from OCD, anxiety, seizures, brain trauma, anxiety or other brain-related conditions. [To view the technique, and to learn more about alternative healing methods and therapies for animals, my webinar, Hands-On Healing: Practical Applications of Healing Herbs, Essences and More, is available at My comprehensive reference eBook by the same title is available for download at]

Brain balancing relies on two things: energy and intention. Medical discussions around the brain typically focus on the constant chemical and electrical activity that occurs in the various regions of the organ. Images provided by CAT scans, EEGs and MRIs highlight the amount of energy constantly moving throughout the head. Likewise, we know from diagnostic equipment and our study of anatomy and physiology that the hands are chock-full of nerve endings. The palms, in particular, are blessed with abundant sensors and are rich in blood supply.

Science has demonstrated repeatedly how thoughts have a direct effect on the processes of the body. In fact, thoughts may often be observed by the responses of various bodily systems such as heart rate, stomach acid, blood pressure, respiration and adrenal levels. In brain balancing, the healer will use these natural occurrences to create a specific outcome—in this case a more balanced brain.

To begin, place your pet in your lap. For larger pets you may wish to have them sit on the floor, between your legs. For livestock, such as horses, goats, cows and the like, I recommend the use of a step stool for taller animals. It is also wise to have a handler to keep the animal steady and to alert you if the creature should move and create a compromising position for the healer.

Place your hands, palms facing inward, toward the head, on either side. Think of it as creating a “head sandwich.” Your palms should be roughly 2-3 inches away from the skull, not actually touching it. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. I find that keeping my eyes closed allows me to focus all of my attention on my work and prevents me from being distracted by visual stimuli. This is also the reason I recommend you have a handler to assist you when working with large animals.

Focus your attention on your palms. In all likelihood, you will begin to feel a heat, pulse or tingling. This is normal and it is also precisely what you want to feel. Notice if the sensation is heavier on one side. Chances are that it is: this is the imbalance you will be working on. It may feel similar to a car in need of having its tires rebalanced or like an out-of-kilter washing machine.

Breathe deeply and slowly. Silently think the word “balance.” There is an old saying in hands-on healing modalities: “Thought follows energy.” Nowhere is this more true than when performing such a straightforward technique as brain balancing. As you continue to breathe and focus on the intention of balance, the heat, pulse or tingling will begin to shift. Gradually, the sensations will begin to balance so that it becomes even in both hands. When the energy is level, or the same, in each palm, you are done. Lightly touch the animal to indicate you have concluded your session.

If you do not actually feel the sensations in your palms, don't worry. Continue with the instructions as if you do feel it, and the results will be the same. Being a sensate is not a requirement for effect. The electro-chemical processes of the brain will be affected by the energy given off by your hands whether you sense it or not.

This is one of the simplest and most effective treatments I've found. Best of all, it's free and requires no equipment.


Like brain balancing, Emotional Release Therapy (ERT) relies on the energetic systems of the body. ERT is my go-to treatment for depression, PTSD, traumatic injury or old emotional wounds. Rescued animals seem to be in a league of their own when it comes to needing ERT. On the flip side, there are countless uses for ERT among people, as most of us, at one time or another, carry deep emotional or physical wounds.

To grasp how ERT works it helps to understand what happens to the body when a traumatic or stressful event occurs. When an individual encounters a high stress event it responds by flooding the body with a variety of chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline. In a life-threatening situation these chemicals are a good thing, as they provide the body with that extra surge of energy to make lightning-fast decisions and to remove oneself from danger. For individuals repeatedly subjected to high stress situations or traumatic events, the constant exposure of the body to these chemicals takes a toll. The body is not designed to be in a state of constant high alert. When it is subjected chronically to these elements, the result is premature aging, inflammatory disease, depression, anxiety, behavior problems and more.

In addition, the chemical component of stress and trauma create an interesting phenomenon in the body, that of cellular memory. It was once thought that the brain was the only repository of memory. We now know that is not true. One need only read the countless case studies of transplant patients who began exhibiting the behavior traits of the organ donor, even when the recipient had no knowledge of those traits. Kidney patients began craving foods they previously hated. Heart transplant survivors experienced complete changes in music preferences. Recipients of corneal tissue recalled vivid dreams that bore an uncanny resemblance to facets of the donor's life. All of these situations are attributable to cellular memory.

The primary focus of ERT is to release negative energy attached to cellular memory. For example, a soldier returning from Afghanistan may have witnessed a friend being killed in action. Upon his return from duty, our warrior may experience panic attacks, racing heart, clutching stomach, night terrors, elevated blood pressure, anxiety and depression. All of these physiological manifestations are quite real but they have been created and fed by the constant stream of cortisol and adrenaline the body's cells are releasing in response to the painful memory. The build-up of energy tied to the cellular memory is what triggers the bodily response. ERT seeks to release the energy tied to the memory, allowing the sufferer to live with the memories in a more peaceful fashion. It doesn't erase the memory, it simply neutralizes the physiological, psychological, spiritual and emotional effect on the body.

Returning to our example of a war veteran, by performing ERT on him he is alleviated of many of the physical responses (night terrors, racing heart, panic attacks) while living with the memory of his fallen comrade.

Similar to brain balancing, ERT uses the hands of the healer, but unlike brain balancing, the focus will be on the heart. In Eastern healing traditions there is much emphasis on energy centers of the body, referred to as chakras. The heart chakra is, as you might suppose, the center for much of our emotional health. In addition to being the cornerstone of feeling, the heart center is also a window that may be open or closed, and, as such, allow energy to flow in and out of the body. Many expressions in our language reflect this ancient knowledge, though we don't often think of it in the literal sense so much these days. Phrases such as “open-hearted” and “broken heart” or “closed-hearted” are all too telling of just how critical this part of the body is to the healing process.

When performing ERT the practitioner will utilize the heart chakra, in essence opening the window to allow negative energy trapped throughout the body to be released. The healer will be placing a hand over the heart chakra to provide that all-important hands-on connection, both physically and energetically, as well as spiritually, to facilitate the opening of the window and release of negativity. Because we are, in effect, providing a “trash collection” service, it is critically important that practitioners be properly prepared before performing ERT and take the appropriate steps to neutralize the energy, lest they absorb it into their own body and begin experiencing problems.

I tend to learn my lessons the hard way, through real life experience. Years ago when my lovely Medicine Horse, Natalie, was in the veterinary hospital at Purdue University recovering from colic surgery, she told me she was quite nauseated from one of the medications she was on, post-operatively. At the time, she was in the isolation ward, so I was gloved and gowned while visiting her in the recovery stall. I felt that ERT would be enormously helpful for her because her body had been so traumatized by both the colic caused by the tumor and the resulting surgery. I went about my work in my normal fashion, but because I was in the isolation ward I wasn't able to immediately cleanse myself with salt water, a critical step in preventing absorption of discharged negative energy. That night, at about 1:00 a.m., I woke up to overpowering nausea! That's when I realized my mistake, that I had managed to move the energy tied to Natalie's nausea into my own body.

Emotional Release Therapy is founded on traditional hands-on healing principals. It incorporates the belief in the divine, or power greater than oneself. By calling on the divine, the practitioner moves from an egocentric delivery to one of becoming a vessel for the transformation of energy. There is no one “right” way to perform ERT, but I personally feel that utilizing the divine, whatever you choose to call it, is an effective means of “getting out of the way” of the healing process. The instructions are given in the manner with which I apply them, but you may adapt them to suit your individual sense of the divine or higher self.

Before beginning on a wounded soul (two- or four-legged), I begin first by praying, meditating and protecting myself. I find it is always best to begin my work this way, specifically intending to check my ego at the door and putting forth the intention that all work is to the highest good of all involved. In addition, I specifically request the aid of Archangel Micheal, who is known as the warrior angel and is often depicted with a sword and shield. I ask for his assistance in protecting and shielding my energetic fields, so that I am sealed off from absorbing the negative energy I seek to release from my friend. When working on animals, I also invite Archangel Raphael to join in, as he is traditionally the angel charged with overseeing the animals. Before concluding my meditation or prayer, I visualize a silver net surrounding me above, below and all around, and specifically state that I am sealing my energy field off, so that no negative energies may enter and only loving, healing ones may pass through.

Once I have prepared myself emotionally and spiritually, it's time to make physical preparations. I use Kosher salt and a large plastic mixing bowl with a handle when working on animals and people, as it is easily transported to barn or home. I add a fair amount of Kosher salt to hot water (approximately 1/2 cup salt to 4 cups of water). I tend to start out with really hot water because by the time I conclude the healing session, the water has cooled to room temperature. Have a towel handy. You will be using the water to discharge whatever negative energy is absorbed into your hand. When you have concluded your healing session and are preparing to dispose of the water, it is very important that you bless the water and request the divine (whether that is “God,” “Spirit,” “Earth Mother,” or other entity) transform that energy to its highest good. We do not need to add to the toxic dump of the universe and proper intention and action will go a long way toward that end.

Set up the space in which you will be working for comfort. Regardless of who you are working on (animal or human), you will be holding your hand over that individual's heart chakra for a good amount of time (20-60 minutes), so it's important that your body is positioned comfortably and with support. You also want to make sure that your body position places the hand below the level of your own heart, or else you will tire very quickly of the placement. Whenever possible, make use of chairs, recliners, sofas, step stools and walls. The space should be free of distractions such as phone, TV, radio and the like. If possible, minimize the amount of electrical equipment in close proximity (computers, cell phones), as these also give off energy and you do not need any competition with the healing process. If you are working with larger animals, you should have a handler assist you so that you are not distracted or compromised by the animal's movement.

When performing ERT you will become very intimate with the soul of the individual with whom you are working. Therefore, it is a requirement that you seek permission from the wounded one to perform this service. If you are dealing with an animal, it is not necessary to be a professional animal communicator to request permission. Animals are highly intelligent and perceptive and generally understand loving intentions. However, there are some animals that have been so traumatized or are so fearful or aggressive that they might not allow an outsider access to their heart chakra. In those cases, it is best if either the person with whom they share the deepest bond (owner, handler) performs the ERT or a healing professional is sought. Because animals, like humans, have free will, it is possible that healing will be rejected. If that is the case, you have no choice but to honor that desire. You should not attempt to access the heart chakra without the wounded's permission.

Begin by placing your hand directly over the heart area. If you are working on a woman, it is wise to let her know you will be placing your hand over her bosom, so she is not alarmed. Depending on the circumstances and the individual you are working on, you may find it easier to focus if you close your eyes, but that is not required. Speaking aloud (the vibration of the vocal chords creates a particularly strong resonance and helps to open the sacred space), I ask that the individual's heart chakra be open to my hand, that he or she release into my hand any and all negative energies affecting the body, mind, heart and soul. Because of my personal faith, I request that the healing be done in the name of Jesus. Each healer must find the words that are most appropriate to his or her heart. My opening prayer might be something like this:

“Heavenly Father, I humbly ask that you open Max's heart chakra to my hand. Max, I ask that you open the window of your heart, allowing all pain, suffering, and emotional burdens to pass through that window, into my hand. I ask that you trust in the process and simply allow the energy to flow. I ask all of these things in Jesus’ name, knowing it is so.”

At this point I focus on the individual's particular issue. If he or she suffers from a traumatic event, I gently recall that trauma. If an illness or disease is the problem, I focus on the afflicted area of the body. As I speak the words, energy begins to be released in the body. My hand may feel tingling, heat or burning as the negative vibes break free from the cells and bubble their way up through the heart chakra. As this occurs I am often given intuitive flashes of other things that trouble the individual's soul, such as past traumas, personal hardships, old injuries, long past hurts. When these thoughts arise, I gently speak to my wounded patients, giving them permission to weep, grieve, release, forgive, and nurture the unnourished parts of themselves. It is rare that a person receiving ERT does not shed tears. Animals will often relax into your hand as they release the energy. Images from pets may include scenes of neglect and abuse, feelings of overwhelming fear, guilt, abandonment and more. It is normal for the practitioner to be moved to tears when performing ERT. You have placed yourself in the delicate place of healing and the best healers are those who heal from the heart with love. When that happens, you feel the emotions and pain of the individual you seek to heal, which is all the more reason to take the proper steps before you begin.

If you know the history of the individual you are working on, such as a bitter divorce, painful illness, horrific accident, or abuse-filled youth, it is important to lightly broach those subjects. In the space of loving healing, make statements about the past incidents without judging or graphic detail. Wait quietly and notice what happens to your hand as the wounded releases energy. Events that carry heavy emotional or physical tolls tend to trigger big energy releases and your hand may feel a surge of heat or tingling. At any point, if your hand becomes uncomfortable or feels “full” of energy, simply dip it into the warm salt water. Allow a few seconds for the energy to discharge before wiping your hand dry and replacing it over the heart chakra.

Individuals will vary in the amount of negative energy they are able to release in one session. Do not push past the wounded's comfort zone. It is far more effective and compassionate to repeat ERT sessions than it is to re-create a traumatic event by pressuring an individual into reliving it. Animals tend to release more quickly than humans. I find that people take roughly 40-60 minutes, but animals will take 10-30 minutes. The first sessions will tend to be the longest and most dramatic. Each treatment of ERT will likely be less noteworthy and go more quickly, which is a good thing, as it indicates there is less negative energy that needs to be released.

When I feel we have done enough releasing for a given session, I say a closing prayer. The wounded has released a lot of negative energy and the heart chakra is wide open. This is all good, but we don't want to leave that window wide open afterward, as it can also provide entry for a lot of new, unpleasant energy. Gratitude for the healing energy is always helpful, so I find it appropriate to say a prayer of thanksgiving for all that has transpired. In addition, before I close that heart chakra, I ask the divine to fill the individual's body with healing white light and love, asking that balance, harmony and peace be restored. At this point, I close the heart chakra by asking Archangel Michael to shield it from harmful energy, to restore the protective barriers around it that prevent negativity but that allow love to pass through. Be sure to give a final thanks to whomever has helped, whether that is a spirit, angel, guide, Jesus or God. A grateful heart that expresses thanks is a sure-fire way to multiply the abundance of love.

When you have concluded your closing prayer, be sure to thoroughly soak your hand in the salt water. Depending on the situation and amount of energy you perceived was discharged, you may wish to take a salt water bath. The cheapest means of doing so is to purchase softener salt and add 6 cups to your bath water. Soak for a good 20 minutes. Before you open the water drain, be sure to bless the water and put forth the intention it be transformed to its highest good. We want to keep that negativity from polluting the ground.

When I perform ERT on animals I find that the bond I share with them deepens considerably. There is also a change in their physical presence. Typically, the pet appears lighter, as if his or her burden has been noticeably lifted. Tail and head carriage may be brighter and higher, body postures may be more relaxed. Overall, there is a general sense of well-being. The more fully a practitioner releases negative energy, the greater the overall healing of the wounded.

I have written in my eNewsletter over the years about one of the more extreme cases I encountered, that of a Pug we rescued. Sassy was brought to me by the rescue woman and I was told that if I did not take her, she would have to be put down. The dog had been rescued from a puppy mill where she had been bred beginning at the ripe old age of six months. When her first litter was born, being a puppy still herself, she ate her pups. She also developed a uterine infection that was left untreated. The attending veterinarian tried on numerous occasions to talk the breeder into surrendering the animal, but because there was potential money at stake with offspring, the breeder held on. By the time the dog was delivered to me she was a bag of bones, an unlikely appearance for a Pug. She had a self-mutilated tail that was a bloody stump with bone protruding as a result of her stress. She could not stop attacking herself—a victim of extreme OCD. The only way she would rest is if we fitted her with an Elizabethan collar and put her in a cat carrier where she could not turn around to attack her hindquarters. The least little sound or movement would set her off into a Tasmanian spin, barking and tearing at what was left of her tail. I had my veterinarian provide me with 90 days worth of OCD medication, we amputated what was left of her festering tail, had her spayed, and placed her on a round of antibiotics.

My family thought I had lost my mind bringing such a broken animal into our home. Sassy was to be my son's dog, as he had wanted a Pug since watching the movie Milo and Otis as a youngster, but even he was repelled by Sassy’s behavior. I began performing brain balancing on her 2-3 times a day and offered ERT at least once daily for approximately three weeks. The results were astonishing. Within 45 days Sassy was off all prescription medication. Within three months she began to wag the nub that was left from her tail amputation. Within six months she began agility training and from there, went on to become a happy, successful agility partner for my son.

While Sassy occasionally had emotional outbursts, gone was the crazed, tormented dog we'd adopted. In her place was a dog who was happy, affectionate, robust and athletic. She went on to spend the next 8.5 years as a cherished family pet.

Sassy is not the only animal I've had phenomenal results with; I've used these techniques on horses and cats as well as my human clients, all with very satisfactory results. The people I have worked on have all reported feeling freer, more relaxed, and less burdened both physically and emotionally.

There will be times when you may encounter an animal that is in dire need of healing, but for whatever reason, you are unable to place your hands near the head or over the heart. Examples might include a pet in critical condition or in a cage, but there might also be an animal that is simply shy about being in such close proximity to an unknown person. In those cases you may work with the etheric body, as long as you have permission from the animal. You will know that you have been granted access to the pet when it is not aggressive, and appears to accept you from a safe distance. Intuitives such as animal communicators or energy workers will pick up “vibes” but most animals are clear about their willingness as displayed by their body language.

Let me explain how healing works when using the etheric energy field. All living beings are comprised of energy, in the form of living cells and the components that make up those cells. In addition to the energy we are able to see using Xrays, MRIs, and the like, we know from other forms of equipment, such as thermography, that some forms of energy are detectable from outside of the body. While our technology may seem rather advanced, it scarcely touches the complexity or subtle vibrational patterns of the body. Perhaps the analogy of sound is the best way of describing how the body can create a vibration from within that extends far beyond the physical boundary. We don't stop to think about it this way, but speech is energy that is created in the body by the vibration of vocal cords when air is forced over them, and the sound that is emitted may be heard from 100 yards away.

Sound is but one form of energy that is detectable from outside of the body. Many of the processes that occur in our body may be detected from some distance. It isn't important that you be able to feel or perceive those processes to know that it is possible; rather it is more relevant to know that you have the ability to work with those processes from a distance. The etheric energy field is a reflection and extension of many of the body's energetic processes. It extends several inches beyond the flesh and fur. The etheric body is capable of being worked on from a distance by virtue of intention (remember, energy follows thought; think of this as directing a laser beam to a specified target).

When I need to work with the etheric body of an animal, perhaps a painfully shy cat, I sit on the floor in the middle of a closed-off space with my feline friend somewhere in the room. I ask for permission to work on her and wait for an affirmative response. If she gives me the go-ahead but prefers to stay out of sight, that is fine. I close my eyes and position my hands facing one another, as if I held the cat between them, one hand resting on the front of the chest, one hand resting on the hind end. I go about the healing process as if the cat were physically present between my hands, doing the exact same steps that I would if I could feel her fur. An amazing thing will hands will tingle, the surges will be there and I will receive the same intuitive flashes as I do when I am physically in contact with the cat. When I conclude the session, whether it was brain balancing or ERT, the animal will exhibit the same behaviors I would anticipate from a pet on whom I had actually touched.

These techniques may be adapted to the situation or individual. I will oftentimes incorporate the use of essential oils when offering ERT. Oils such as Young Living Joy, Purification or Abundance are quite useful, as they lend emotional support to a very charged situation. Closing the heart chakra with these oils is also a terrific way to stabilize and comfort an individual after a cathartic session.

These techniques are not meant to replace traditional medical care, but they can be incredibly effective tools for mitigating serious physical, emotional and spiritual issues. Best of all, they don't cost a cent.

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