top of page
  • Is therapeutic massage recommended by veterinarians?
    Veterinarian Dr. Michael Fox feels that massage is imperative to the basic care of an animal. When skin receptors are stimulated they transmit messages to the brain. Once the brain receives these messages it initiates the production of chemicals that feed major body systems such as the blood, muscles, nerve cells, tissues, and organs. Massage is a vehicle that stimulates the skin receptors and releases the chemicals necessary for the body's optimum performance.
  • What are signs a dog needs bodywork?
    Bodywork is a great preventative for active dogs. Issues can be addressed as they arise, nipping them in the bud before they become a problem. It is very effective for senior dogs, alleviating joint pain, increasing blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, eliminating trigger points (tight areas in the muscle) and restrictions in the fascia (the layer of tissue beneath the skin that encompasses all internal structures from the nose to the tip of the tail). The dog’s back sags in the middle (swayback). This is due to weak abdominal muscles and back muscles that are much too tight and contracted. A roached back where the back curves upward. Frequently seen in Sighthound breeds with little body fat, such as Greyhounds, Salukis, Whippets, etc. Any scars on body, including spay and neuter scars. Scars emit an electrical charge and when the scar tissue meets another scar on the body, the scars bind together, which can reduce muscle flexibility by up to 50%, resulting in restricted movement. Dogs that react irritably (growling, snarling) when an area of their body is touched. This is due to trigger points which are muscle fibers that have constricted into a taut band within the muscle. As the muscle and fascia (tissue directly under the skin which encompasses all internal structures from head to toe) tighten, nerve endings in the muscle will be squeezed more and more. Left untreated, this can result in muscle atrophy (loss of muscle). “Ticklish” areas are often developing trigger-points. Dogs that appear well-muscled. Rock-solid muscles are extremely unhealthy. They have been overused and remain in a shortened and contracted state. This is often seen in Bully breeds. Continual panting and pacing can often be signs of pain. Shaking of hind legs—especially in senior dogs can be a sign that not enough blood flow is getting to those muscles Movement issues: A dog who limps Is hesitant to jump onto an object If you see excessive movement in a dog’s hindquarters as they walk away from you, that can be a sign of pelvic or hip issues Holding the head low is often a sign of lameness, before it appears in the gait Cannot move head as far to one side as on other side Skeletal issues: Dogs who do the lazy sit (sitting with the foot of one hind leg on the ground and the knee points forward. The other hind leg is bent and the thigh rests on the ground, with the knee pointing to the side). This often indicates hip or pelvic problems. Dogs who wag their tail more on one side than the other. This can indicate pelvic problems, which I work with. However, it can also indicate a neurological issue. In this case a vet would need to be consulted and afterward it is extremely helpful to have the dog evaluated by a canine rehabilitation specialist. Dogs who are reluctant to cross a floor may be exhibiting joint issues. Licking and chewing may frequently be an attempt to relieve internal pain Behavioral Changes/issues: Often attributed to pain. Breed conformation: Breeds or mixes of breeds such as Chihuahuas that have a mouth too small to accommodate their tongue, frequently develop very tight muscles in the skull, jaw and cheek muscles. Brachiocephalic breeds (short snouts) such as Frenchies, Pekinese, Pugs, etc. often strain surrounding muscles when breathing Shepherds with sloping backs develop issues in their muscles as they try to compensate for it. Long backs Anxiety and Fear: By addressing the nervous system, bodywork helps the dog to transition from their sympathetic system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic (rest and digest). Doing this repeatedly establishes new neural pathways in the brain. (Connections between brain cells that transmit information from one cell to another). The transmission becomes stronger with each time it travels along the pathway). This is accomplished by doing bodywork repeatedly so that the calmer state increasingly becomes part of the dog’s behavior. Another benefit of bodywork is stress reduction by reducing the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in the blood. The chocolate lab in this photo has a lumbar region that is raised indicating that he may have tightness in the muscles on either side of the spine. The lines on his right hind leg is not well-developed muscle, but stress lines which occur when the muscle is too tight. On his right front leg his elbow is slightly turned out, not in line with the leg as it should be. In this photo, if you draw a straight line between the dots they should be even but they aren't. This is a result of imbalances in the limbs and the resulting effort by the dog to compensate. This results in dysfunctional movement. He holds his head slightly cocked to the left, indicating a problem with the occiput (knob of bone at the base of the skull). It is jammed on the left, whereas there is more space on the right side.
  • Why is therapeutic massage important for performance dogs?
    Lure coursing, agility, obedience, Frisbee, fly-ball, tracking, herding, and field trials are just some of the competitive activities that our canine athletes engage in. Yet it often doesn’t occur to us to attend to other athletic needs they may have. Human athletes interested in performing at their peak frequently have a massage prior to engaging in a competition. It has many benefits, which are also applicable to dogs.
  • What is Canine Rehabilitation?
    Canine rehabilitation practitioners use treadmills—both underwater and aboveground, balance balls, exercise, cavalettis (ground poles) and many other tools to help animals overcome physical limitations. Canine Rehabilitation is quite helpful in addressing the following conditions: Assisting your dog in regaining function following surgery Mobility issues Helping restore function to an animal with a healed injury that limits her ability to function Chronic pain Neurological deficits Strengthening muscles (such as a limb that has lost tone due to injury or post-operatively) Disc Herniation Tendonitis Ligament Sprains And much more
  • What is CranioSacral Therapy and Myofascial Release?
    CranioSacral Therapy affects the layer of connective tissue under the skin, known as the fascia (pronounced “fasha”). Think of a body stocking under the skin that stretches from the head to the tail. Fascia also surrounds every muscle, bone, organ, nerve and blood vessel. It protects the entire body and moves nutrients into the cells and carries toxins away. An injury, stress or even exercise can cause a restriction in the fascia, resulting in waves of additional dysfunction in the surrounding fascia. A therapist gently manipulates this tissue, releasing the restriction and relieving the pain or stiffness. ​ Myofascial Release (MFR) is often used with CranioSacral Therapy. MFR is gentle stretching of the tissue to release tension and allow better movement of the “body stocking.”
  • What is Photonic Red Light?
    Light has been used in healing capacities for quite some time—records have been found of it being used in Ancient Egypt. The Photonic Light works on a cellar level and addresses a variety of issues. The light emitted from it, vibrates at the same frequency of healthy cells and encourages damaged cells, (which are vibrating at a lower frequency) to increase their vibration. The vibration of the light also stimulates the mitochondria of the cell. This is a part of the cell that can be considered the powerhouse because it provides energy to the cell. Application of the light causes protein to be synthesized, releases endorphins and serotonin into the body. In addition, it is helpful in encouraging collagen to be produced. Collagen is vital to the healing and maintenance of healthy fascia (connective tissue).
  • What are the physical benefits of therapeutic massage?
    Benefits include, but not limited to: It dilates blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow more freely, which encourages the removal of waste products such as lymph and lactic acid. It is a highly effective diagnostic tool. Areas of muscle tension, swelling and growth can be easily detected. If there is an injury, massage helps lessen inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints. It stimulates the body to release endorphins—proteins that act as natural pain-killers. Regularly used, massage can aid in the prevention of trigger points (a combination of lactic acid build-up and the irritation of motor nerve endings). It improves muscle tone. It helps lessen inflammation and swelling in joints, therefore alleviating pain. Depending upon the type of massage used, it can either have a relaxing or stimulating effect. Therefore, it is effective in reducing stress and tension. Because massage increases circulation it can be used to positively affect the health of animals whose activity has been curtailed. Situations include being restricted to a stall or boarding kennel. Because it encourages blood circulation, massage increases the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues. This enhances health and results in a shorter recuperation time when there is a physical trauma. It is helpful in cooling down horses after a period of intense activity.
  • What are the social benefits of therapeutic massage?
    In addition to the physical benefits, therapeutic massage also has social benefits. It is an integral part of a developing animal’s social order. In the wild, growing animals learn to relate to one another and their environment in a way which will serve them as they mature. Studies have shown that animals deprived of touch become social misfits, and are sometimes unable to survive. Once domestic animals mature and are adopted into separate homes, they are frequently unable to socialize with other animals, thus precluding many opportunities for mutual grooming. To supplement this, we as owners need to step in and fill the void by providing massage for our animals.
  • What modalities do you use?
    Integrated Animal Therapies provides a range of effective therapies for animals. We refer to this as "Integrated Healing Modalities" because your animal's unique circumstances (health, type and extent of injury, environment, etc.) often requires an equally unique combination of therapies. Candace Pert, PhD., in her book, Molecules of Emotion explains how a waterfall of chemicals is released when touch receptors in the body are stimulated, which in turn transmit messages to the brain. Once the brain receives these messages it initiates the production of chemicals that feed major body systems such as the blood, muscles, nerve cells, tissues, and organs.
bottom of page