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Canine Myo-therapy & physical rehabilitation

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In Touch With Dog: FAQ'S 

Canine Physical Rehabilitation, remedial and therapeutic massage

What is the therapy?

Myo means "muscle" and myo-therapy is the use of various bodywork techniques to manipulate and correct soft tissue pathologies including myo-fascial restrictions, Trigger points, Stress Points, fibrous adhesions, muscle twitching, tension, knots or muscle weakness.

The techniques used by a myo-therapist can include various specialised massage techniques, passive range of motion, stretches and acupressure.

By using skilled palpation techniques and observing your dog's body language the trained therapist will know how to identify soft tissue problems and will understand what techniques and pressure to employ to resolve areas of concern.

How can I tell if my dog will benefit from myo-therapy?

If your dog has any history of mobility issues, chances are that they will have adapted the way they walk and stand, in order  to maintain stability and balance.

Myo-therapy will help to alleviate stress and strain on the compensating limbs & muscles before secondary issues arise or worsen.

You may notice soft tissue problems present themselves in a number of ways:

  • Limping (it may be a recurring theme where the limping comes and goes)
  • Not weight bearing comfortably on all four limbs
  • altered posture or gait
  • dragging of one or more paws
  • the appearance of a sore back, it may be "roached" or arched back
  • Skin twitching
  • your dog may seem to have "aged" overnight, and may not play or engage in activities they once enjoyed
  • They may be sore or move stiffly after rising from sleep

There are a number of other indicators, and you can contact me to discuss your individual concerns. And it is always advisable to seek veterinary advice in the first instance for an examination and diagnosis to ensure there are no underlying causes of concern.

What is involved in a session?

Myo-therapy sessions are carried out in your home so that the dog is in a safe and familiar environment and can be left to rest after the session.

Appointments can also be arranged in a cinical environment if you prefer.

The initial session will take from 60 - 70 minutes and will consist of:

  • Meet & greet
  • Familiarisation with your pets medical history, temperament, lifestyle and environment
  • Gait analysis and observation
  • Soft Tissue assessment
  • Myo-therapy and body work
  • Discussion at the conclusion of the session 
  • Home exercise plan (If advisable)
  • Additional support or information regarding nutraceuticals and environmental changes. 

Follow up sessions will take up to 60 minutes.

I will require a place set up on the floor, with something comfortable for your dog to lie on. There should be space enough to allow me room to move around the dog as I work. Ideally the area should be somewhere that will be free of any distraction for your dog - ie away from other pets, children, food, or foot traffic.

How many sessions will my dog need?

The number of sessions needed will depend on what condition your dog is presenting with, and wether it is an acute or chronic injury.

As a general guide when working with chronic conditions that need to be managed for the duration of their lives, for example arthritis, cruciate tears, age related symptoms the most effective regime is often 2 - 3 sessions up to a fortnight apart, followed by monthly sessions thereafter. However, progress will be re-evaluated after each session and the length of time between sessions can be adapted as required.

With rehabilitation cases the treatment will be similar to that stated above, with a view to completely tapering off the visits once mobility os restored, to "as and when" maintainence sessions if desired.

Myo-therapy is not a magic bullet treatment, it is a process. However, it can can provide an afforadable way to support the wellbeing of your canine companion, keeping them happy and healthy and by your side for as long as possible.

Please visit my testimonials page, or Facebook page to review what some clients and vets have to say about the benfits of the treatment.

Over time and as a result of a injury or trauma the soft tissue can become tight and inflexible. This also restricts movement of the joints and can aggravate or hasten the onset of arthritis, or lead to further injuries.

What don't I just massage the dog myself?

The difference between a professional canine myofunctional therapist, and a DIY canine massage can be compared in similar terms to the difference between a human visiting a professional masseuse, and having a friend give you a massage. 

Both have the potential to be relaxing, however, it is usually the professional treatment that leaves you feeling completely rejuvenated.

It takes practice and awareness of anatomy to feel through the fur to identify problems areas, trigger points, changes in temperature, texture and tone, identify and locate specific muscles.

A qualified practitioner is trained in a dog's muscluo-skeletal system, canine biomechanics, gait analysis, kineisiology and the origin and insertion of the muscles as well as canine body language.

Once areas of vulnerability and tension have been determined the practitioner will need to draw upon their experience and knowledge to select which techniques to apply and how to resolve any problem areas.

They will also understand the consequences that a weak or compromised musculo-skeletal system will have on the biomechanical performance of your dog.

The practitioner must know how to read the dogs signals in response to the treatment, how to calm them when they are nervous, or anxious. What tempo to use, the appropriate techniques and pressure to use and how to safely apply them.

They will also be able to advise you on safe techniques that you can use, how to care for your pets muscular system in between sessions, and provide a rehabilitation home exercise plan if necessary.

There are also some conditions where deep tissue, mechanical massage would be contraindicated and should not conducted under any circumstances, as it could worsen your pet's health and a trained professional will be aware of these conditions. 

Is this an alternative to veterinary treatment?

No, this is not a substitute for veterinary care. However, it can help to keep your dogs muscles strong and flexible, serving as a method of maintenance and injury prevention. The therapy can also ease and correct some soft tissue injuries before the need for surgical intervention, and it can also help to relieve pain and muscle compensation issues associated with the symptoms such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, cruciate tears and lameness amongst other conditions. When used in conjunction with veterinary medicine it can help to shorten recovery time following a surgery and reduce scar tissue. 

If you are unsure whether or not myo-therapy will be a suitable treatment for your pet, please discuss it with your vet first, or contact me for further information. 

My dog is very nervous / boisterous / excitable and I'm not sure how he / she will react to being massaged?

Sometimes,  it takes a little while for the dog to relax and understand that the massage is actually a positive experience motivated by good intentions. This is particularly true of dogs that have nervous temperaments. Even if not much deep tissue body work can be covered during the first session, it sets the ground for future encounters as we develop a bond of trust.

The myo-therapy will be carried out on your dog's terms and at their speed. I would not force them to endure any treatment or technique that they did not feel comfortable with.

Generally, most dogs will allow some degree of bodywork massage to be done, and even acupressure on it's own can also have a positive effect on your dogs physical and emotional well being.

Usually once the dog has relaxed and understood what is happening, they submit more readily to subsequent treatments. 

What kind of conditions can be helped by massage, and what are the overall benefits?

  • Relieves pain from arthritis
  • Release muscle spasms & contractions
  • Assist with post operative healing
  • Reduce hyperactivity, nervousness, and anxiety
  • Lengthen the connective tissue & improve flexibility
  • Increase circulation
  • Improve nutrient supply on a cellular level
  • Reduce post surgery scar tissue
  • Nerves to organs can operate better
  • Organs function better
  • Lubricates the fascia
  • Improve lymphatic flow
  • Improve range of motion
  • Prevent muscle adhesion and reduce fibrosis
  • Help to flush toxins through the body
  • Assists with elimination of waste that can build up around the joints

If you have more questions or if you would like more information,

please contact me for further details: