Benefits of Massage
Animal massage is now viewed as part of a multi-discipline wellness approach used among veterinarians, trainers and behaviorists for all animals including companion pets, service and therapy animals and agility and show animals. Massage helps fatigue and stiffness by increasing circulation and flushing waste products from the muscle tissues. For our older 4-legged family members, massage can alleviate painful joints, help boost immune systems, and reduce side effects of senior conditions including cognitive dysfunction.
Massage techniques work with the body’s natural energy to keep everything operating at a high level of efficiency. But massage doesn’t stop there. The positive impact of healing touch helps return emotional stability stemming from anxiety, grief, abuse or abandonment.
Additional benefits of massage for your 4-legged family member include:
• Anxiety and stress – Does your pet suffer from separation anxiety or have a fear of loud noises like fireworks or thunder or does he/she not travel well? Massage can help reduce various forms of anxiety and can calm the body and contribute to the overall wellness of your 4-legged family member. All animals have thoughts, feelings, and an intuitive drive to achieve wellness and balance. Massage can provide emotional stability by balancing hormones and raising the entire body functioning to a higher, more effective state.
• Blood and lymphatic fluids – The overall circulation of blood improves along with movement of lymphatic fluids. This is beneficial if your pet has had surgery in that massage can help move anesthesia or sedation meds out of the body quicker allowing for a speedier recovery. The lymphatic system is a delicate transport system which collects and disposes of debris from bacterial and viral invaders. Lymph nodes are located at intervals along the body in which cells inspect and attack foreign substances. The lymphatic system is a specialized component of the circulatory system, picking up fluids exchanged by capillaries. Proper function of the lymphatic system is dependent on respiration, digestion and muscular effort to move lymph fluid through the body. Massage promotes drainage of stagnant lymph nodes, stimulates movement of lymphatic fluid and cleanses the body of metabolic waste.
• Blood pressure – Because massage moves blood through the body it helps to decrease blood pressure.
• Breathing – Massage promotes deeper and easier breathing. There are specific strokes that can help relieve congestion.
• Digestion – Do you hear your pets belly rumble frequently or is your 4-legged family member plagued by gas? Massage aids in digestion by relaxing the digestive tract muscles and stimulating movement in the -tract. The relaxing effects of massage can also improve appetite.
• Homeostasis – Massage helps to support the balance of the body systems by interrupting the pain-spasm-pain cycle which in turn helps with overall healing.
• Hospice/Palliative – Care incorporating massage to help both the furry friend and their family members transition with dignity and compassion.
• Immune system – Massage releases toxins stored in muscle tissue. When those are released and flushed out the immune system is strengthened.
• Joint flexibility – Ongoing massage therapy can provide greater joint flexibility which will help increase range of motion and decrease stiffness.
• Kidney and liver functions are stimulated aiding detoxification.
• Neurological – Conditions including balance disorders, seizures, paralysis and epilepsy are aided by massage due to the stimulation of endorphins, reduction of pain and increase of pain threshold.
• Orthopedic – Conditions like degenerative joint disease and hip dysplasia find improved circulation and tissue repair when massage is part of the rehab protocol.
• Muscle spasms – Increasing blood flow to muscle tissue can help reduce spasms.
• Pain and swelling – Massage and passive repetitive stretching will help reduce pain and swelling including intervertebral, joint and muscle. The skeletal system acts as a structural frame for the body, providing a lever system for movement as well as protection for vital organs, it’s also storage and production site for minerals and blood cells. Ligaments attach bone to bone providing protection of the skeleton and joints. Although with massage there is never direct manipulation or adjustments to the skeletal structure massage can help maintain and enhance range of motion, relieve joint stiffness and increase mineral retention.
• Proprioception – This is the body’s ability to sense movement within joints and joint position. It allows our pets to know where their limbs are without having to look and helps with movement and balance. Massage and stretching can help to improve gait and range of motion.
• Scar tissue – The formation of excessive scar tissue is reduced through massage and resulting in improved mobility.
• Senior/Age-related conditions, cognitive dysfunction and Cushing’s Disease.
• Skin and coat health and nourishment are enhanced.
• Soft tissue conditions including muscle strains, calcanean tendon rupture.
• Strained muscles and sprained ligaments – Is your 4-legged family member an agility performer or does your pet perform a service that puts stress on their limbs? Massage can shorten the healing time of strains and sprains. The skeletal muscular system produces movement and heat, stabilizes joints and maintains posture. Massage can relieve tension, stiffness, soreness, fatigue and will strengthen muscle, improve flexibility and help tone weak muscles.
• Surgical conditions – Massage brings comfort while at the same time supports immune function, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and releases endorphins to reduce pain.
• Well-being – Young or old the effects of massage foster a feeling of well-being.