natural pet

Increasing both blood and lymphatic

circulation is another benefit. “Manual lym- phatic drainage massage is a good immune booster, and benefits pets of all breeds and ages,” says Tews. Massage shortens post- operative recovery time for pets and helps decrease inflammation and pain while lowering blood pressure and working to normalize breathing patterns and digestion. For dogs with arthritis, Rudinger says

Give Rover a Rubdown Massage Keeps a Dog at Peak Health

by Karen Shaw Becker “A

nimals have performed massage on themselves or others since the dawn of time through natural grooming

behaviors,” reports the Northwest School of Animal Massage, in Vashon, Washing- ton. “Any animal’s quality of life can be enhanced with massage.”

Terapeutic Massage Results

“Maintenance massage is great for helping your pet stay at their peak level of health for

as long as possible. It’s also a great tool for monitoring and early detection,”says Kim Tews, a certified small animal massage prac- titioner located near Portland, Oregon. Jonathan Rudinger, a registered nurse,

licensed massage therapist and author- ity on canine massage in Toledo, Ohio, explains that massage supports oxygen exchange, helping animals to breathe more deeply, and even encourages coughing to loosen phlegm and debris in the lungs.

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that massage works to increase the natural fluids within the dog’s body, along with im- proving lymph and blood circulation and hormone and energy flow. When it comes to sporting events and intense recreation, massage can be used to increase blood flow to muscles beforehand and reduce muscle soreness aſterward. Massage is a comfort for beloved dogs

receiving treatment for a terminal illness or palliative care. Te practice can also reduce the need for pain medication, decrease metabolic end products in tissues, ease constipation and feelings of anxiety and isolation, and instill greater peace.

Behavioral Results Massage therapist Michelle Rivera with the Healing Oasis Wellness Center, in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, remarks in the journal Integra- tive Veterinary Care, “It was in China that I learned that many behavioral problems can also be alleviated or eliminated with the addition of massage therapy. In my own practice, the majority of issues I successfully work with using massage are behavior prob- lems and seizures.” Highly sensitive animals may find that

therapeutic massage makes being touched more tolerable. Rudinger explains that it can clear physiological energy blocks. His approach with dogs is to work on the stomach energy meridian, which flows down around the mouth, down both sides of the midline and underneath the abdom- inal side of the body. It ends up around the anus, beneath the animal’s tail. As the meridian is associated with the

emotional brain or limbic system, working on this area is particularly useful for dogs that are fear-biters, food- or dog-aggressive, have separation anxiety or problems with their gastrointestinal tract. Generally speaking, dog massage can be a







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