Hands on therapy that’s not just for people!
Different cultures all around the world have used the beneficial effects of massage for many, many years, each according to the methods they have refined and perfected. Using your hands to touch, stroke and gently manipulate the skin, muscles and other ‘soft tissues’ of the body creates a bond between patient and therapist as the therapist uses his or her skill to feel tensions and tender points and works to relieve them. Most of us are familiar with the aches and nagging pains associated with stiff joints and sore muscles, and the relief that skilled massage provides. At ARC we offer massage for our non-human companions and take pride in watching them relax and feel relief.
How does massage help animals?
There are many circumstances in which massage can be beneficial. Improving circulation can reduce swelling and oedema, sending fluid back to the bloodstream, and improve blood flow through tired and cramped muscles where toxins have built up, washing them away. Warming up the body’s tissues prepares them for vigorous activity such as competition or work, and returns them to optimum condition more quickly afterwards. Massage can help to relieve the pain of muscles coping with the additional strain of supporting arthritic joints or bearing a heavy load when problems elsewhere mean some muscles have to carry an extra burden step after step. Some types of massage help to improve the tone in muscles which are partially or totally paralysed or suffering from problems with the nervous system, and others can help to prevent or loosen adhesions, which are unwanted bridges between different types of tissue (eg skin and muscle) that can form during the scarring process after injury.
What happens at a massage session?
The specific types of massaging movements that your pet receives will of course depend on the problem he has- so naturally the first step is for us to discuss your pet’s history, activities and particular problems. The next step is a thorough check over to detect abnormal and problem areas- these can be surprisingly far away from where you might expect! For example, dogs with chronic hip problems often have very stiff, tight muscles in their back and shoulders, because they try to lean forwards all the time to take the weight off their sore hips. The actual massage starts with us stroking and reassuring your pet until we have earned their trust, before proceeding to relax and calm them and beginning to work towards the target areas, slowly at first and then more firmly if necessary. We provide a comfy mattress in a nice warm room and most pets enjoy their treatment a lot, ending up very relaxed and snoozy. It is important not to rush the treatment, and so you should allow plenty of time for your appointment.
What kind of massage does ARC use?
Lots of cultures have traditional forms of massage strokes and manipulations, each intended for different uses. At ARC we do not categorise our treatment strictly; the types of movements we use are dictated by what we feel in the patient’s body and may involve a combination of many different ‘styles’ from classical French to acupressure. It is the patient’s needs and responses which govern our choices.