Future Client: Is massage therapy an important part of a pet's rehabilitation program?
Me: It most certainly is!
There are a number of ways massage therapy can be a part of your pet's rehabilitation, but first and foremost, it depends on what sort of rehabilitation is taking place. Here are a few examples, just to scratch the surface:
Post surgery — Massage therapy must wait for a minimum of two weeks after surgery has occurred (or when stitches are removed) before becoming a part of the rehabilitation program. Massage will help promote tissue healing and helps with decreased mobility
Injury such as a bone fracture — While the bone heals, it is important not to massage anywhere near the fracture site (in the case of a broken leg, the entire limb will be avoided), however, as I mentioned in my previous post, compensation will occur in other muscles that are taking on the job that the injured area cannot. This is where massage therapy comes in, relieving overworked muscles in compensating areas of the body.
Psychological (animals suffering the effects of abuse or neglect, for example) — Not only will massage help in the physical recovery process involved in rehabilitation, you mustn't forget the positive psychological effect that massage can have. It creates a feeling of well-being, reducing stress, something you want to avoid as much as possible during the recovery and rehabilitation process. Importantly, the immune system will be strengthened as stress is also avoided.
Neurological issues and trauma — Concussions, for example, can have a surprising impact on the entire body because of the potential damage to endocrine glands in the brain, damage to memory, emotion, learning and so on. Massage therapy will help calm and reconnect damaged nerves and increase mental alertness. The calmness provided relaxes the mind, body and spirit. This is also where the enhancement of the human-animal bond and general trust comes in to play.
Detoxification (from poor diet, prescription drugs or perhaps post surgery) — Again, if after surgery, massage therapy must wait a minimum of two weeks. Lymphatic drainage massage is focused on the moving and draining of the lymph from the extremities into the lymph nodes for processing and elimination. The light, slow strokes involved are used to stimulate the peripheral nerves, blood and lymph vessels. While blood is being returned to the heart via the veins, lymph is encouraged to drain the tissues of interstitial fluid, filtering out larger particles, waste and toxic particles through the nodes. Lymphatic drainage massage also assists in the regeneration of tissue and stimulates the immune system.
The purpose of massage is to relieve pain and loosen physical tension by the deliberate manual manipulation of muscle, sinew and joints, thereby improving elasticity, range of motion and circulation—all of which are profoundly affected by injury. Working to bring back any elasticity, ROM or circulation that may have been lost due to the injury, and due to the recovery (resting) process is precisely why massage therapy is an integral part of your pet's rehabilitation.
Massage therapy is only one part of most rehabilitation programs. Other therapies include:
And reasons for rehabilitation run the gamut as well:
I have and will continue to break down ways massage therapy helps in a number of circumstances, including various conditions from which a pet may be rehabilitating.
Thanks for reading!
Want 50% off your next (or first) pet massage session? Email/Call/Text me with the code word REHABILITATION when you book — anytime before December 3rd, 2019. Take advantage now, as the discount drops to 25% for FAQ blog posts starting January 2020.
Also, keep in mind that a group of three-four massages close together (no more than one week apart each) is the best way to see results more quickly. I offer packages of four massages for large dogs ($216), medium/small dogs ($168) and cats ($120), which will save you 20%! (This package cannot be combined with the above 50% off first massage offer).
Look for my next post in the series, which outlines how massage helps when your pet has experienced vertebral disc issues, Tuesday December 3rd, 2019…after this, I will be taking a short break in order to prepare and post a special blog series December 13th-24th, The 12 Adoptable Pets of the Holiday Season (think the 12 Days of Christmas, but better!)…
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Regan is a certified Canine Massage Therapist (CCMT), has certification in First Aid and CPR for Pets, and some beginner training in Herbal Remedies and Aromatherapy for personal use.