A POORLY foal recovering from a major operation has been given a spring in her step — thanks to sessions of Reiki.

After reading about Mia, a two-year-old Welsh Section D foal, in The Bolton News last month, animal Reiki therapist Shirley Bryant contacted owner Debbie McAffee to offer her help.

After an operation to treat cartilage disease, Mia’s owner struggled to keep her calm around vets and strangers.

But since her first Reiki session she has come on leaps and bounds.

Reiki is usually performed on humans, but Ms Bryant, who runs Animal Reiki Therapy by Shirley Bryant, which is based at Moontree Holistic Centre in Horwich, says that animals can be just as receptive to the effects.

The holistic practice is used to boost natural body healing and is said to help a number of ailments such as pain, stress and headaches.

It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through people and animals.

Ms Bryant, aged 55, of Webb Street, Horwich, said: “Mia was lovely to work with. She happily stood there as I moved a couple of energy blocks.

“She was very calm. Initially I was hoping to assist in the healing of Mia’s leg since the operation, but Debbie says that she has been calmer around strangers too, which is another benefit.

“Reiki works by transferring energy through me to the recipient, so it doesn’t really matter whether that is a human or an animal.

The only difference with animals is that they don’t lie down on a couch.

“They will stay with you for as long as they want to, and will walk away if they decide they don’t want to have Reiki performed on them.”

Ms McAffee said: “I’m really grateful to Shirley for offering to help. Mia has been so happy since the first session.

“She has always been nervy, but more so since her operation, especially around people she doesn’t know. But since the Reiki she has been calm, relaxed and chilled out.”