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Canine massage therapy is based on the principles of human massage. It reduces stress, increases blood flow, relieves muscle tension and maintains the overall health of a dog. It enhances the immune system by flushing out toxins, increases circulation in the lymph and vascular systems, stimulates portions of the nervous system which affect behavior, allows oxygen to flow freely, and relieves muscle tension, adhesions, and soreness which benefit range of motion, joint, and spinal flexibility. Massage can also promote faster healing after an injury or surgery.
Massage is a great addition to swimming or physical therapy at Angell. Given after a good swim, massage helps the muscles to cool down properly and allows for work in the muscles and soft tissues to maintain flexibility and strength. Massage can be a supplement to regular physical therapy by providing more concentrated hands-on time, and promoting overall health.
Often injury or pain creates a redistribution of weight, over-tiring other areas of the body. Massage can protect and strengthen these areas, as well as the area of injury. Because massage benefits so many of the internal systems (circulatory, respiratory, lymphatic, digestive), it improves the body’s overall function and can speed healing.
What to Expect
Your dog’s first massage session will begin with a brief conversation covering medical history, and any parts of the body your dog may not like to have touched.
The massage begins with warm-up strokes, including palpation of the full body for areas of swelling, tight tissue, knots, lumps, ticks, cuts, or other issues in your pet above or below the surface of the skin. Once the muscles and tissues are warmed up, massage strokes such as effleurage, compression, petrissage, and direct pressure are targeted to the detected areas.
Treatment may also include trigger point work, passive range of motion, and muscle mobilization. Each massage is unique, and you should be present throughout.
At the end of the treatment, your massage therapist will discuss findings and any recommendations for further treatment.