For The Love of Dogs, LLC

Therapeutic benefits of Canine Massage Therapy

Friday, February 26, 2016, 4:59AM by Sheri

Canine massage therapy is not a luxury as many people still think.

It is very therapeutic and can help with many condtions.

Canine massage can be offered for relaxation, rehabilitation, or competition or agility purposes. The benefit of massage to dogs is equivalent to the benefit experienced by humans.

Massage therapy has many physiological effects for the dog or other small animal.

 Animal experiments were conducted as early as the 19th century to document these effects.

The physiological effects of canine massage include the following:

Improved circulation

Endorphin release

Increased toxin excretion

Relaxation and tension relief

Reduced stiffness helping to restore mobility to injured areas

Injury prevention by increasing range of motion and enhancing muscle tone Improved athletic performance and endurance

Posture maintenance and balance

Improved mental focus and attitude

Healthy skin and coat promotion by distributing natural oils

Canine massage therapy should not be used as a substitute for veterinary medical care. However, when used in combination with medical care, it can help enhance the recovery process in many medical cases.

In particular, canine massage used for rehabilitation purposes can include the following benefits: Help to relieve age related problems

Reverse muscle atrophy from inactivity or disuse

Provide relief from muscle tension, soreness, spasms, and weaknesses

Provide relief from chronic pain and discomfort from arthritis, hip dysplasia, etc. through the release of endorphins.

In addition, canine massage can provide emotional well-being for the animal.

Massage therapist often work with animals to calm hyperactivity, anxiousness, and nervousness.

Massage Techniques Used in Canine Massage:

The same strokes and techniques used in human massage are practiced in canine massage for the same reasons.

Basically, there are five main techniques used in canine massage therapy – effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, and vibration.

All other strokes are derivatives of these basics. A commonly used exception is Range of Motion because it is not a stroke but movement of a joint.

Therapist Charting Techniques:

Although there are many different ways in which a canine massage therapist will conduct a session, all will use some method to assess the needs of the dog and develop an improvement plan for the animal.

One of the most common methods is referred to as SOAP – Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan.

The therapist first records any Subjective information that is given to them by the dog’s owner.

They will then record any Objective information that they observed about the dog during the treatment session. Objective information could include gait and postural analysis and levels of muscle tension.

The third item that the canine massage therapist needs to consider is the Assessment information. The therapist will consider what massage techniques worked best for the dog and will often note any changes in gait or posture after the treatment session is complete.

Finally, after the therapist has carefully considered all of the information, they will suggest a Plan to the owner to help the dog.

Recommendations can include veterinary visits and owner homework, as well as follow-up massage sessions.

Owner Sheri Polzella is certified in canine massage therapy by The Bancroft School of Massage Therapy located in Worcester, MA.



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