Animal Massage

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

While petting provides loving attention, massage goes a step further. My 18yo cat Zoe loves massages. As with many alternative treatments, animal massage has its roots in ancient practice. The benefits of massage for animals parallel those of humans.

One of the most valuable assets of animal massage is health maintenance. Regular massage aids in early detection of abnormalities, such as swelling, injury, or painful areas, and facilitates early medical diagnosis of problems. In some cases, the time element can be lifesaving. The animal’s overall health is boosted by an increase in blood and lymph circulation and enhancement of muscle tone and flexibility.

Many animals with emotional issues (depression, grief, shyness, or distrust) respond well to the relaxation and positive touch of massage. Young animals can be acclimated to touch with massage, making them easier to handle for grooming and medical care.

Athletic Animals Massage has also become very popular for equine athletes. According to Patricia Whalen-Shaw, massage allows horses to perform longer at a higher level of activity. “Psychologically it’s amazing,” Whalen-Shaw, LMT, and owner of Integrated Touch Therapy, says. “If they’re focused and relaxed, they do their best. It’s a part of the whole package of training.”

Whether it be used for injury recovery, sports training, or general relaxation and relationship building, massage and bodywork can be a highly beneficial treatment for your four-legged family members.

* This article was written by: Shirley Vanderbilt, a former staff writer for Massage and Bodywork magazine.*

References Fox, Michael, Dr. Michael Fox’s Massage Program for Cats and Dogs (New York: New Market, 1981): 3-4.

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