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GENERAL BENEFITS OF CANINE MASSAGE

The canine world has strongly benefited from the progress of modern sport medicine. The benefits of alternative medicines such as massage therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic and acupuncture, no longer need to be proven. Such therapies have become widely accepted and recognized by the traditional medical community.

Active dogs, like human athletes, work very hard to reach top results. Unfortunately, such demanding training often results in soreness, stiffness and sometimes in injuries and pain. Massage can help you prevent a lot of these problems and maximize your training by keeping your dog flexible and muscle stress free.

Canine massage is easily learned, easily applied and costs very little. It is one of the oldest forms of therapy and has been used from ancient times to the present. Ancient Chinese and Romans practiced forms of canine massage.

Today, advances in sport therapies allow us to apply techniques more knowledgeably, to better assist our faithful canine companions. Sport massage therapy techniques have kept pace with the changing methods of training, playing a very important role as a preventative therapy and in recovery from injury as well as. With this increased understanding, these techniques have leaded us to a much richer relationship with our dogs and resulted in better caring for their needs.

Natural Health: Massage therapy allows us to trigger the body's ability to help itself back to health. The massage touch has a very strong healing influence on the dog, and benefits animals (or people) of all ages and conditions. It is widely used to prevent and relieve stress, as well as to assist in recovery from injuries. Massage techniques safely affect the whole body by enhancing the circulatory, musculoskeletal and nervous systems and their interdependent functioning. Massage will relax your dog when excitable, and give him strength and flexibility when tired. Over time, it also will help soften sharp character traits.

Physical Benefits: Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body to achieve specific goals of drainage, relaxation or stimulation, as well as the release of muscle-related problems, such as trigger points (lactic acid buildups) and stress points (small spasms). Regular massage contributes to the overall economy of the body and to its ability to function efficiently. Massage greatly increases the circulation of body fluids (blood and lymph) resulting in increased oxygenation and nutrients to the muscle groups.  An increased oxygenation, in turn, acts as a tonic for a better metabolism, leading to enhanced performance and shorter recuperation time, especially for older and convalescing animals. Massage greatly contributes to relaxing the nervous system from stress, helping the psycho physiologic self-regulation factors between body and mind. With patience and several relaxing massages experiences, nervous or anxious dogs will calm down and reveal a softer, more trusting nature. Massage can help reduce the build-up of fibrous tissue adhesions that result from inflammation caused by strenuous efforts, overuse (muscle strain) or trauma. Adhesions can cause a lot of stiffness and soreness to the dog when he moves.  Massage's healing function has been known to speed up recovery and can therefore be useful in solving a variety of problems - from simple tiredness from exercising, lack of vitality, convalescence, old age, to more specific problems such as strains, sprains, spasms, arthritis or recovery from surgery or broken bones.

Bonding: The touching aspect of massage increases the emotional bonding with the animal allowing him to relax and accept being handled better. Dogs really enjoy their massages and will return the favor by being more complacent and willing to work.

Diagnostic Tool: Massage is a terrific diagnostic tool. You will be able to feel and detect much sooner than by sight, or grooming, any musculoskeletal abnormalities and problems. Regular massage gives you direct feedback on the impact of your training on your dog’s musculature, allowing you to adjust the level of exercise accordingly. Massage will help you avoid possible complications that could later on be very costly to treat and could cause delays in the progression of your training.

In the book, “Canine Massage, A Complete Reference Manual. 2d Edition” written by Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, RMT and published by Dogwise, you will find everything you need and want to know about massage movements, pressures, rhythms, techniques and sequences. Different routines are specifically designed for different situations. You will also learn about the various areas of stress in an active animal and the potential stress sites.

Successful Canine Massage: The key to the successful use of canine massage is the ability sense accurately what your hands are feeling, to have knowledge of the structures worked on, and to understand the movement or technique being employed and what its effect will be. Much practice is required. Learn to "see" with your hands and listen as your dog’s body "tells its own tale". This is the most efficient way to contribute to your dog’s overall fitness and well being while making his world a better place.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful.  My goal is help you provide quality home care for the benefit of your animal. 

Please visit our FREE library. Our many articles address important aspects of animal wellness and fitness. Take the time to scroll through our free library to find out how you can actively contribute to your dog’s wellness.

Animal Awareness also offers a large video library with over a 100 mini-videos that will show you how to easily perform the various massage and stretching techniques talked about in this article. These videos offer you the correct start and visual guidance. With this knowledge, you will be able to develop a good home care program for the benefit of your animal friend.  He will love you for it.

Enjoy your new Awareness!

Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, LMT

A regular application of the “Full Body Massage” (CV006) will be a great way to start generating the many benefits of massage onto your pet companion. Also, the use of “Stretching Exercises” (CV007) will maximize the benefit of your home care program.

If you are just starting with your home care program, consider our “Introduction to Animal Massage” package,a 20% discount value on the first 7 DVDs, to secure a sound foundation in your animal massage skills.

Then take advantage of our other packages to increase your expertise in home-care protocols for the benefit of your dog(s).