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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 July, 2003, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Talking to the animals
By Mike Lloyd
For BBC News Online Scotland

Robert McGowan
Mr McGowan uses a number of techniques
Homeopathy, hypnotherapy and the Japanese healing art of Reiki have all made in-roads into traditional medicine in recent years.

However, a Moray man believes that animals can also benefit from complementary medicine.

Robert McGowan, from Keith, said that more than 50 species, from horses to dogs and cats are receptive to hypnosis.

As a trained hypnotherapist, he branched into animals because of his love of horses.

He told BBC News Online: "I have worked with them for most of my life. I know the problems they have and about their illnesses."

He begins the process by "de-stressing" them and then uses the reputed power of Reiki to cure their ailments.

Back to life

Mr McGowan recalled helping an elderly springer spaniel, paralysed by strokes.

He said: "I spent five hours doing Reiki on it and by the time I was finished the dog was standing.

"After a few visits he was able to lead a normal life."

But Mr McGowan stressed that he did not consider himself a vet and people should call him only after first trying orthodox medicine on their animals.

He believes he can help where traditional means may have failed.

"A lot of people get frustrated with drug treatments and animals, like people, can react badly to drugs," he said.

Robert McGowan with stallion
Robert McGowan working with a stallion
Mr McGowan accepts that many people will find it incredible that animals can be helped in this way.

However John Lawrence , a trainer from the Washington School of Clinical and Advanced Hypnotherapy in Manchester, said that it was not really so surprising.

He said: "I don't see anything miraculous about it. Robert is tackling animals in the standard way hypnotherapists work.

"It's like homeopathic remedies, they are very effective with animals."

Mr McGowan said it was unfortunate that hypnotherapy had an image problem, due to the profile of some stage hypnotists.

He said: "In reality you cannot make anyone do something under hypnosis they don't want to do and the same goes for animals.

It is the combination of sound energy and healing energy
John Lawrence

"Think of trout tickling, any fisherman knows how to stroke the fish's belly and it goes into immobility; or think of a cobra swaying from side to side before striking its prey."

Mr Lawrence said: "It is the combination of sound energy and healing energy.

"Horse whispering is very similar but horse whisperers get physical as well and I don't think you actually need to touch the animal."

Mr McGowan insists there is growing interest in complementary medicine for animals.

"Potentially, there is huge market for this kind of therapy," he said.

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