Canine Massage Therapy Sessions
Canine massage is becoming increasingly popular and is a great way to help improve and maintain optimal muscle health for your dog. As massage is so very relaxing, it also helps your dog to release any emotional tension. Imagine if you are feeling uptight or nervous and think about how that affects your posture, breathing and movement – the same applies to your dog. During a massage session, you can see your dog’s tension release before your eyes and his responses will leave you in no doubt as to how much better he feels.
This is an hands on physical massage session incorporating Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, fascial release, myofascial release, passive stretches and mobilisation approaches for the neck, back and limbs. I may also use red and infrared light therapy and acupressure as these therapies work exceptionally well in conjunction with massage. Each session is specifically tailored to your dog and I will apply the most appropriate techniques depending on your dog’s needs.
Using this top to toe approach allows me to work with each dog applying the most effective combination of techniques, as well as providing a maintenance care plan for you to continue to help your dog in-between sessions.
Massage can complement veterinary treatment in recovery from injury or operations, help with pain reduction and improved freedom of movement for dogs with joint conditions, mobility issues and can aid in overall performance for working and very active dogs. It can also ease tension associated with emotional stress.
Where disease and lameness have been ruled out, muscle spasms and tightness are often found to be the cause of restricted movement, lack of mobility, stiffness and lack of performance in your dog. Massage can release this tightness and tension allowing your dog to move freely again.
You can find out more about fascial release, red light therapy and acupressure by scrolling to the bottom of the page.
What to expect from a Massage Therapy Session
Your dog’s first appointment will usually last around 1 and a 1/2 hours to enable me to gain an overall picture and full insight into his history, current routine, previous or current injuries and any behavioural issues. Follow on appointments last around an hour.
I will assess your dog’s conformation and observe him move in walk and trot to analyse his gait and to help to identify any possible areas of stiffness, soreness and any compensatory movement. I will also consider range of motion of joints and look for general signs of asymmetry.
As a rough guide it often works well to start off with 3 sessions fairly close together. General maintenance sessions are then recommended every three months to maintain the benefits of the therapy and to act as an overall MOT to help keep your dog’s muscles supple and healthy and to identify any detrimental changes early on. However, I’m happy to work with you to discuss the best programme allowing for your budget and your dog’s needs.
I like to think of each therapy session like peeling off the layers of an onion, so that during each session I am able to work deeper and release a further layer of tightness or tension each time.
After each session, I will follow up by email my findings and put together a plan which will detail any suggestions such as exercises, stretches or techniques you can perform yourself at home. I can also send a report to your vet and any other therapists you are working with so they are up to date with my findings.
Important points to note before the session:-
- You may be given exercises or other suggestions to help continue your dog’s healing process and this may involve making some changes to your usual routine;
- Your dog must be 7 days clear of any vaccinations or wormers;
- Your dog must be clean and dry when I arrive;
- Please inform me of any medical or condition changes in your dog.
What is Fascial Release and Myofascial Release?
Fascia is a thin but very strong and flexible tissue that lies beneath the skin.
It surrounds, connects and protects every bone, organ, ligament, tendon and other tissue in the body.
If you remove the skin from a chicken, fascia is that clear, flexible but strong layer between the skin and the meat.
Fascial tissue provides cushioning and support thereby allowing the body to move freely and without any restriction or pain. Healthy fascia is therefore essential for joint mobility, but if the fascia itself is no longer healthy it cannot offer such support and movement can be restricted.
Fascial and myofascial release are both gentle but extremely effective methods of releasing tight tissue around joints and vertebrae, thereby improving joint and muscle function, helping to improve mobility, flexion and performance and to aid emotional releases of tension.
Poor posture, muscle strains and scar tissue are just some of the factors that can prevent the fascia from doing its job properly.
By releasing the tension and tightness in the fascial tissue, this allows the body to realign itself, to heal and to relieve pain. Fascial release is fabulous for helping to realign the pelvis and poll and free up shoulder movement.
I use several fascial and myofascial release techniques and the Fascial Edge Tool to assess and release tight tissue, stimulate acu-points, and release tension around joints and vertebrae, thereby improving joint and muscle function.
Myofascial release (muscle fascia release) provides an indirect, non intrusive approach to soft tissue manipulation; gently moving tissue at the surface level, releasing tight fascia and helping to stimulate the body’s ability to re-align itself. During a myofascial release session, a low load stretch is put into the tissue for a period of approximately 3 minutes to allow the tissue to rehydrate and release.
This is a very relaxing and effective therapy, facilitating the body’s innate healing mechanisms to realign bony structures and release deep seated tension and trauma.
What is Red and Infrared Light Therapy?
Red and Infrared Light Therapy or to give it it’s scientific name, Photo-therapy (photo-biomodulation), is the application of therapeutic light which is designed to stimulate healing and to inhibit pain.
I use a Photizo® Vetcare unit which emits different wavelengths and frequencies of red and infrared light which have been proven to be effective in accelerating the natural healing and repair processes of the body.
This therapeutic light relieves pain and stimulates energy production within the cells enabling them to work optimally to repair and heal themselves. It also reduces swelling and inflammation and stimulates the immune system in acute traumatic conditions.
Photizo® Vetcare offers many benefits to dogs, in particular it:-
- is effective in treating chronic pain and inflammatory conditions associated with arthritic conditions and overuse injuries;
- stimulates healing;
- rejuvenates injured cells;
- relieves pain,
- reduces swelling and inflammation;
- reduces muscle spasms;
- stimulates endorphin and serotonin secretion – the body’s own pain and relaxation “medication” and
- increases the blood and lymph vessel diameter, to ensure clearing of waste products and inflow of oxygen, nutrients and medication concentrations in the areas treated.