Massage Techniques Used
Many techniques are used in the massage and they will vary with each dog’s needs for that particular session. The massage practitioner will read, feel and customise the massages according to each individual dog and each individual massage.
This section will outline and depict a few of the main techniques used.
Effleurage is the most basic and common massage technique used. An open or closed palm is placed face down on the body and a gentle sweeping motion is used. The stroke is long, slow, even-pressured and light to medium. The pictures show effleurage from the top of the head and down the back to the tail.
Skin Rolling is important for the stimulation of blood circulation to the surface of the skin. This is particularly helpful for older dogs whose coats are duller and weak in appearance. Skin rolling is the lifting of the coat and skin away from the underlying structures of muscle, fat and bones. This stretches the connective tissue beneath. The coat is grasped and rolled between the thumb and fingers.
This technique is not commonly used unless necessary. Tapping is a gentle percussion used primarily on the top of the head and over specific tightened muscle areas. It helps to rebalance the cerebral spinal fluid and relieve muscular stress.
The action of compression is akin to gently squeezing water out of a wet sponge with one or both hands. As much as possible, the entire palm surface, fingers and thumbs are used so as to evenly distribute the pressure. Compression helps to move lymph and blood through the limbs and relax tense aching muscles.
Joint movement involves passive movement (rotation, flexion or extension) of the limbs. In healthy dogs, these series of movements help to keep the limbs flexible and prevent sprains and strains. For older dogs, it will assist in limiting the potentially debilitating effects of arthritis.