If you’ve ever had a massage, close your eyes for a second and think back to the last time. If not, let me set the stage for you; soft music, sweet, calming lavender oil filling the air, a soft blanket to lay on, and 30-45 minutes of complete relaxation and pampering. But did you know that while you were getting pampered, there were also therapeutic effects happening? And did you also know that dogs can get the same therapeutic effects from massages, too?
Canine massage has actually been around for centuries. There are hieroglyphics that depict dogs in ancient Egypt receiving massage treatments. There is also history of canine massage in ancient Rome, China, India, and among the Hopi Indians. It has regained popularity in the last few years as a complementary therapy to veterinary medicine.
Canine massage has been proven to offer health benefits such as relieving stress, which left untreated over time can cause deeper, long-term problems. Massage also triggers the body’s natural ability to heal itself by enhancing the delivery of nutrients, oxygen, and blood for improved overall wellbeing. It reduces the buildup of adhesions in the muscles resulting from injury or surgery, boosts the immune system, improves agility and range of motion, and optimizes training programs due to a calmer mind and greater body awareness.
Therapeutic massage can be used for pre- or post-surgery therapy or as rehabilitation after an injury. Depending on the injury being treated or the general life circumstance of the dog there are different massage styles that may be used.
Relaxation massages can be used for nervous dogs, but are also very helpful for early detection of health changes. The sooner these changes can be detected and addressed with your veterinarian the sooner your precious pup can be on the road to recovery.
Sports massage is used for the canine athlete to prepare them mentally and physically for the event and to help reduce the chance of injury. Socialization massages help with dogs who are fearful so that they can learn to associate touch in a positive way. Palliative care massage can be used to help older dogs feel relief from the aches and pains of old age, including arthritis, and bring comfort and solace to dogs before they travel over the rainbow bridge.
While canine massage is not and does not replace quality veterinary care, as trained animal massage therapists we can work in conjunction with your veterinarian to offer your pet the ultimate in health care.
— This article was contributed by Grace Gano-Martinez of Aloha for Pets.