Full Title: Effects of Massage
Author: Katie Coleman
Date of Publication: November 6, 2019
Research Paper Text:
Effects of Massage
Laura Katie Coleman
November 6, 2019
For this paper I worked with two different dogs who are different ages and two very different breeds. I am studying the effects of massage on hydrotherapy patients. Does it benefit them? How do they improve in the hydrotherapy tank? Most animals reach a “plateau”, can we break through it?
The first dog was a six-year-old schnauzer recovering from surgery. It had been months following surgery and the patient was still limping on their leg. Hydrotherapy was started and he improved over a few weeks. Their time increased every session but they reached sixteen minutes and could not go past that without becoming sore the next few days. Massage was added prior to hydrotherapy sessions. First session, they seemed to be doing well. Time was not increased as a precaution, but I noticed their Range of Motion (ROM) improved. Next session, about two weeks later, massage and hydrotherapy were combined in a single session. This time I increased the time one and a half minutes. The patient showed signs of fatigue but did very well throughout the session. I had the owner update me the following week to let me know how the dog was doing physically. The owner mentioned he was better and did not seem to be as sore. Improvements continued a few weeks and in those weeks muscle tone improved to the point where you did not need to palpate or measure the leg to notice a difference in muscle mass.
The next dog was a three-year-old Bernese mountain dog. This dog had muscle atrophy and had been doing hydrotherapy for only a short time but was too exhausted to go very long in the tank. We started massage prior to sessions in the hydrotherapy tank. During these massage therapy sessions I concentrated on stimulating the muscles and increasing blood flow in the hind end where the weakness and atrophy were occurring. There was a noticeable improvement in energy during the very first massage and hydrotherapy session. Over the next few months the dog continued to improve with the massage combined with the hydrotherapy tank sessions.
In the end, we were able to break through the “plateau” or the leveling out of physical therapy an animal could do. Our clinic has been incorporating massage into our treatment regimen and have seen great success. This was only a small sample of the animals who have benefited from massage therapy in a clinical setting. We’ve seen success with not just the hydrotherapy patients but with the geriatric or injured animals who do not qualify for hydrotherapy for one reason or another. Range of motion, balance, muscle mass and circulation have all increased for the patients we incorporated massage into their sessions.