There are many ways to promote health through touch, and animal massage therapists are often trained in several different therapies. These are just short overviews of each therapy – to learn more about either one, click on the case study links below each.
Do you know of, or are you practicing, a modality not listed here? Please contact me so that I can include it.
A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) technique based on the holistic system where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy, chi, through the body. Acupressure is performed by using finger and palm pressure on certain points along the meridians (the energetic pathways the chi travels along) to improve the flow of chi and thereby health.
Acupressure Case Study – Rabbit
Acupressure Case Study – Allergy Relief for a Horse
Acupressure Treatment For Rabbit Digestion
Review of Introduction To Small Animal Acupressure DVD
Book review: Acu-Dog – A Guide To Canine Acupressure
Book review: Acu-Cat – A Guide To Feline Acupressure
Similar to acupressure, acupuncture is based on the principle that there are energetic pathways throughout the body that influence associated internal organs and structures. Energy from these pathways surfaces at various points on the body, identified as acupuncture (or acupressure) points. By inserting fine needles into these points, the acupuncturist is able to help the body return to a healthy state.
Acupuncture Case Studies – Dog with Allergies & Paralyzed Cat
Kinesiology (or Applied Kinesiology) is not a healing method, but a diagnostic tool. It is also known as muscle testing, and the practitioner (who could be a practitioner of any healing modality, alternative or not) uses it to figure out for example what it is the patient is allergic to, what the best way of treating the issue is, or anything else he/she wants to “ask” the patient’s body.
It is usually done by the patient holding one arm out parallel to the floor (or up in the air if you’re lying down), the practitioner asks his/her question (either out loud or quietly) and then gently presses down on the patient’s arm. If the patient is able to resist the pressure, it means one thing, and if the patient can’t resist the pressure, it means another. Exactly what it means depends on the question. When working with animals, this is usually done using a surrogate.
There are other forms of kinesiology as well, such Specialized Kinesiology, Energy Kinesiology and Kinesiologic Medicine which all work a little bit differently from one another.
Bowen for Animals
Invented by Australian Tom Bowen, The Bowen technique is a soft tissue remedial therapy where the therapist use fingers or thumbs to move lightly over muscle, ligament tendon and fascia in various parts of the body. By doing so, the therapist helps the body relax muscle tension and activate its own healing resources, resulting in fast and lasting relief from pain and discomfort.
A system of diagnosis and treatment based on the concept that the nervous system coordinates all of the body’s functions, and that disease results from a lack of normal nerve function. The bones of the spine and joints are maintained in a specific alignment, and when even a small change in this alignment occurs, it affects the the nervous system, local muscles, joints and even distant organs, glands and body functions. The chiropractor manually applies a controlled force (called manipulation or adjustment) into joints that have become restricted in their movement. This manipulation of the affected joint and tissues restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.
More on animal chiropractic
Craniosacral work is a holistic healing practice which uses extremely light finger pressure to optimize body movement. Using a soft touch generally no greater than about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system (the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord) to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
Equine Cranio Sacral Case Studies
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
EFT, or “Tapping”, is based on the belief that “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system” and that “Our unresolved negative emotions are major contributors to most physical pains and diseases.”
EFT can be described as an “emotional version” of acupuncture, but without needles. Instead, energy meridian points on the body are stimulated by tapping on them using fingertips, thereby helping the body release and letting go of negative emotions and fear.
EFT Case Study – Dog with Aggression
Yes, people do this on dogs, and even bunnies! Reflexology is based on the principle that reflex points formed by 7,200 nerve endings in the each hand and foot correspond to glands, organs, or other parts of the body. The practitioner applies pressure to these points, and the body in turn is allowed to re-pattern, balance, and heal itself.
Reflexology Case Study – Dog Goes Blind
Healing Touch for Animals® (HTA)
Healing Touch for Animals® / Komitor Healing Method, Inc. (HTA/KHM) uses bio-field therapies to integrate, balance and clear the energy body. It works by releasing endorphins to establish a deeper relaxation and state of being, allowing the body to function at a greater level. By allowing muscles to relax, circulation is increased, sending more oxygen, nutrients, and hormones into the body to support healing. Practitioners use their hands with light or near-body touch.
Healing Touch Case Study – Dog with Anxiety
Swimming for animals. In addition to being a great cardiovascular exercise, swimming improves muscle tone, help speed recovery after operations and slow the progression of degenerative conditions. Spinal injuries or surgery can cause impairment of motor function, which may be treated by allowing the dog to exercise in water; it provides support and allows the dog to continue to exercise its muscles while nerve regeneration is taking place. Degenerative conditions can make normal weight bearing exercise difficult and pressure on joints and limbs may aggravate some conditions, so hydrotherapy can be used in these cases to allow the dog to exercise in an environment where there is no pressure on the affected areas. Obese dogs can build fitness and lose weight as a result of exercise in a hydrotherapy pool without putting excessive weight on their joints. Hydrotherapy may be used as part of a general fitness routine for dogs.
Hydrotherapy Case Study – Sophie – a Weimaraner with Degenerative Myelopathy
Guest Post – Good Dog Aquatic Fitness
Massage – Deep tissue or Swedish
A massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue, releasing the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure, thereby removing toxins, while relaxing and soothing the muscle. It is both corrective and therapeutic.
Massage Case Study – Gus the Cat
The Basic Massage Strokes
Massage For Rabbit Digestion
Massage Case Study – Suffering Samoyed
Massage Case Study – Dog with Epilepsy
Book review – A Dog Lover’s Guide To Canine Massage
PEMF – Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy
The practitioner uses a PEMF device to administer low frequency electromagnetic pulses to the body, which stimulates cell metabolism. This helps reduce muscle pain and swelling, regenerates tissue, speeds up recovery after surgeries and injuries, and can even help repair broken bones.
PEMF Case Studies
Reiki is administered by “laying on hands” (or by holding the hands over the body, treating the aura) and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. The Reiki practitioner is the conduit for the energy, which goes into the patient’s body and finds its way to the area that needs to be treated.
Reiki Case Study – Feral Kittens
Reiki Case Study – Sheep
Reiki Case Study – Dog with Arthritis
Reiki Case Study – Horse and Cat
SARA – The Shelter Animal Reiki Association
Shiatsu is, just like Acupressure, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) technique where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the energy (chi or qi) flow through the body. Shiatsu is performed by using finger and palm pressure on points along the meridians (the chi’s “highways” in the body) to improve the flow of chi and thereby health.
TTouch® (the Tellington Touch)
Developed by Linda Tellington-Jones, TTouch is a method where circular movements of the practitioner’s fingers are applied all over the animal’s body in order to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence. Ttouch helps to release tension and increase body awareness, allowing the animal to gain self-confidence, help with recovery from illness or injury or enhance the quality of the animal’s life. Read more on our Recommended Products page.
TTouch Case Study – Dog With Separation Anxiety
Book review – Getting in TTouch with your Dog
| “Hands Off” Therapies
Animal Communication is exactly what it sounds like: talking to animals. A trained communicator talks to the animals telepathically, sending and receiving images, smells, tastes, feelings, and thoughts, and can even feel an animal’s pain in their own body. This is not limited to pets and other domesticated animals, animal communicators can talk to wildlife and animals that have passed away as well. Some communicators can also help with finding lost animals.
More on Animal Communication (including an interview and testimonials)
Julie Lines, Voice of the Animals
Shamanic Animal Communication
Applied Zoopharmacognosy is based on Zoopharmacognosy, the way animals in the wild seek out and use plants, algae, clay etc. to self-medicate. In Applied Zoopharmacognosy, the practitioners help domestic animals do the same by offering them a variety of essential and macerated oils, powdered plants, etc. to choose from. The animals will either inhale the scents, ingest the oils or ask to have them applied topically.
Applied Zoopharmacognosy Case Studies
Bach Flower Therapy
The system was discovered by British physician Dr. Edward Bach in the early 1900s. He believed that that the true cause of illness and disease in human beings lies in the personality – in the mental and emotional patterns through which we view ourselves and the world around us. To treat these personality patterns, Dr. Bach discovered and developed 38 different flower remedies, each a correcting vibration for a state of mind or emotion that needs to be gently rebalanced. Since the body is a direct reflection of the mind, transforming negative vibrations into positive good vibrations allows the body to respond naturally with better health.
Bach Flower Remedies Case Study- Horse
Bach Flower Therapy Book Reviews – The Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy and Bach Flower Remedies for Animals
Crystals regulate energy blockages. Certain crystals work with certain organs or conditions. For example, Calcite is good for skeletal problems; Hematite for the muscular system; Rose Quarts for injuries and wounds, etc. When a practitioner holds the appropriate crystal near a certain organ (or other materials), the vibration of the organ becomes regulated and in harmony with the rest of the body. After repeated treatments, the organ will be restored to health.
Crystal Healing Case Study – Dog with Seborrhoea and injured leg
Using Crystals with Cows
Book review – The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Crystals
Discovered by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s, homeopathy is based on the theory that each naturally occurring element, plant, and mineral compound that can cause an illness can also be a cure. Hahnemann believed that, by diluting these substances in a standardized manner, they could be used to treat the very symptoms they were known to produce. This is called the Law of Similars (“treat like with like”).
More on homeopathy
Interview with Animal Homeopath Shirley Moore Part 1
Interview with Animal Homeopath Shirley Moore Part 2 (with two case studies)
Shamanic healing is spiritual healing, an ancient practice performed by a Spirit with the help of a shaman. The shaman acts as a conduit for the Sprit, allowing it to use his/her mind and body in order to connect with the patient. Cures include soul retrieval, depossession, power animal retrieval, curse removal, cord cutting, extraction, soul remembering, or house and/or land clearing.
Shamanic Healing Case Study – Rescued German Shepherd
Interview with Carla Meeske
Tong Ren is an energy healing method invented by Tom Tam. The practitioner holds a small acupuncture model in one hand and taps on the points that need treatment with a magnetic hammer. This helps release blockages in the qi (which is believed to be the cause of all disease), and when the energy is able to once again flow freely in the body, healing begins.
Tong Ren Case Studies – Horse with colic and impaction, Dog with abnormal growth, Dog with skin cancer
Tong Ren Case Study – Dog with Cushing’s
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