As we have learned, massage therapy can be very beneficial in relieving stress, reducing pain and improving circulation; but did you know that some forms of massage are just as effective on animals as they are human beings?
It has been established that massage therapy has been used across the centuries as a natural healing medicine, and in the case of cats, dogs and horses, it is becoming recognized as a complementary treatment to enhancing muscle tone, improving range of motion; and in the reduction of inflammation, joint swelling and decreased pain. One massage therapy in particular, animal acupressure is founded on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and is practiced using firm pressure along the medians (energy channels) of the animal’s body.
Another form of animal massage therapy includes myofascial release. This particular modality involves stretching and hands-on touch therapy to release fibrous band (fascia) tension from connecting tissues. As with human counterparts, animal myofascial release massage therapy can be helpful in increasing mobility, restoring posture, reduction of pain from arthritis, sprains, and other health problems.
Sports massage therapy for dogs and horses is also a common treatment for a variety of health issues, including preventive healthcare, improving blood circulation, reducing stress and removal of body toxins. Furthermore, cranial sacral massage therapy is yet another form of bodywork that is used on our animal friends. This specific massage technique is comprised of light, hands-on touch therapy to membranes of the cerebrospinal fluid in the skull, sacrum and coccyx. When stress is removed from the spinal cord, spinal fluid flows more freely and can be helpful to motor coordination, and orthopedic conditions, among others.
Overall, massage therapy for animals is an integrative part of animal healthcare, and with the growing trend of clients seeking alternative and natural health treatments, one can be certain to find a holistic veterinarian that offers massage as part of the treatment regimen for your cat, horse or dog.
Stay tuned for Massage Therapy and Stress: An Overview – Part IV of this series of articles.