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Companion Animal Rehabilitation: Massage

Massage is the systematic, therapeutic, and functional stroking and kneading of the soft tissues of the body. There are numerous techniques ranging from lighter, softer strokes to deeper tissue massage. The technique chosen depends on the size of the area, the desired pressure, the rate and rhythm, and the duration of the massage. This tool is utilized at various times during rehabilitation, and we often perform massage prior to a session to loosen trigger points as well as during physical therapy sessions when the tissues are warm.


BENEFITS:

  • Relieves muscle spasm and tension.
  • Pain reduction by stimulating lots of free sensory nerve endings.
  • Encourages physical and mental relaxation.
  • Allows examination of deeper tissues when superficial tissues relax.
  • Encourages blood flow to tissues to deliver oxygen and nutrients.
  • Decreases swelling and edema.
  • Minimizes scar and tissue adhesions after tissue trauma or surgery.
  • Decreases delayed-onset muscle soreness after exercise.
  • Reduces inflammation and promotes cell metabolism in muscles for healing.
  • Improves human-animal bond.

Massage is an important key in physical rehabilitation for animals. Often when animals have an injury, the body compensates and uses the soft tissues and muscles differently than how they normally function. This creates compensatory muscle soreness and trigger points (knots) that need attention. We often teach owners how to perform massage themselves on their pets so it can be performed regularly at home.

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