Massage is often used in rehabilitation from surgery or injuries, offering benefits such as the reversal of muscle atrophy and relief from muscle tension, spasms, and weakness. The release of endorphins cause a reduction in pain, especially muscle and joint discomfort, and can be a compassionate and effective therapeutic intervention for senior pets. Massage is known to provide relaxation and emotional well being in pets, calming nervous, anxious, or hyperactive animals.
Therapeutic massage can be beneficial for nervous and anxious dogs, as well as those needing desensitization to touch and handling.
Research in massage therapy has proven its positive effects for animal patients, including:
- Endorphin release
- Improved balance and posture
- Increased circulation and toxin excretion
- Reduced stiffness and improved mobility
- Relaxation and tension release
Seven main techniques are used in pet massage therapy:
- Compression - Spreads muscle fibers and increases circulation
- Direct pressure - Relieves hypertonia and increases circulation
- Effleurage - Relieves fatigue or soothes the animal with a gliding stroke
- Friction - Creates heat by compressing deep layers of tissue to free deposits of waste and stimulate tendons and ligaments
- Petrissage - Stimulates nerve endings and helps dispel fluids and waste by kneading or rolling
- Tapotement - Relieves muscle atrophy through percussion
- Vabration Movement - Loosens tissue and joints