Canine Massage Therapy focuses on the needs of your dog. It can range from a type of upgraded petting to full-fledged Sports Massage. It depends upon the needs of your animal. The purpose of your dog, whether it is a companion animal or a working or sporting dog also greatly affects the type of massage and massage therapist you will seek.
Canine Massage is an adaptation of human massage therapy. As a result, there are infinite possibilities of type and techniques. Many, as in their human counterpart, combine traditional or classic aspects of massage with those modern and contemporary. There is a melding and mixing of Western and Asian massage types. As a result, much of Canine Massage is hybrid.
One of the more common forms of Canine Massage Therapy is Canine Sports Massage (CSM). This is the type of therapeutic massage applicable to working and sporting dogs. As with its human and equine counterpart, Canine Sports Massage focuses on sport specific needs. The therapist addresses issues relating to the present and continued participation of the dog in a specific sport. It is all about ensuring the animal maintains his or her self in peak shape and performs at his or her best level.
There are several categories of Canine Sports Massage. Each addresses separate but related issues of the dog’s health and performance. Each has its own focus and each utilizes or has specific techniques. There is:
- Pre-event CSM
- Post-event CSM
- Maintenance CSM and CSM Treatment.
CSM, like human Sports Massage Therapy, is a derivative of Swedish Massage. The major techniques and their terminology of Effleurage, Pétrissage, Tapotement and Frictions come from this form of therapeutic massage. In Sports Massage, however, there are several other additional movements. These include stretching, rhythmic compressions and active assistive release. In Canine Sports Massage, stretching takes the form of Passive Range of Motion Therapy.
Pre-event CSM helps the animal warm up before the event. It helps them to focus and maximize their physical performance. The massage for a sporting animal at this time is brisk and stimulating. This differentiates it from the post-event CSM. This type of massage concentrates on preventing any muscle fatigue. It helps to restore body balance. CSM at this stage helps the circulation of the blood and lymph systems. It also acts as a diagnostic system by detecting any possible problems.
CSM is also part of a dog training program. During this portion, it helps with the ongoing maintenance of the animal. It makes sure there are no problems presently and possible future problems. As part of the training process, CSM ensures the dog is ready and able for any upcoming event.
The last part of CSM is treatment. CSM practitioners work with trainers and veterinarians to ensure the dog’s health. This is both preventative and caring. When treatment is necessary, CSM therapists work in conjunction with the vet to ensure the animal recovers as quickly as possible. Massage gently soothes away anxiety after the trauma of surgery. It helps decrease anxiety and speed up recovery time. By using gently forms of Swedish and Sports Massage, CSM therapists help decrease recovery time, stimulates blood and lymph circulation, helps diminish scar tissue, and boosts nerve stimulation.
Not every dog is a sporting dog. Most are companion animals. Canine Massage Therapy also proves beneficial to their needs. Non-sporting Canine Massage Therapy contains the same techniques of CSM Therapy. It may also include adapted forms of Trigger Point Massage Therapy and Craniosacral Therapy. In many instance, the techniques of Acupressure are also applies.
Some forms of dog massage utilize circular hand movements across the entire body. This differentiates it from typical CSM. CSM focuses on those muscles and body parts of the animal essential for peak performance. CSM is part specific, while other types of Canine Massage consider the entire physical body. They work to improve joint and muscle functioning and circulation using the body as a canvas.
Some forms of Canine Massage Therapy are holistic in nature. Using acupressure, they work with the energy filed of the animal to restore a balance. A balanced animal, according to this philosophy is a healthy animal. The same philosophy allows fro the use of Reiki in healing and relaxing dogs.
Reiki is a non-touch form of massage therapy. In Canine Reiki, the practitioner helps to restore the energy level of the animal. The therapist sends some of his or her energy into the dog to help them regain a balance. It is as much a spiritual and mental practice as it is a physical one.
Canine Massage is a specialty area. There are courses you can now take to become a certified practitioner. There are also specialized equipment, such as massage brushes, to help you in your practice. Overall, Canine massage is beneficial in minimizing injuries and enhancing the animal’s recovery speed. It can help with elderly dogs. The gentle movements and acupressure can ease the mobility of arthritic limbs and help those suffering from hip dysplasia.
Canine Massage is also about bonding with your pet. It is about relaxing and soothing them during times of stress and anxiety. It is one more tool to help you and your pet enjoy physical and psychological well-being.