Hand positions

Think about your hands

Your hands are the part of your body that touches the dog. They discharge the energy drawn up from the earth, processed through your filters that are transformers and regulators of your intention. The manner in which you hold your hands has an effect on the way your intention is interpreted and accepted by the dog. In this article, I ask that you think about your hands, the final link between the Gaia energy in our planet’s solar plexus, and the dog.

Hand positions

Your hands can be pronated (palm down), supinated (palm up), or angled off to one side (palm out of plumb). You can change the positions of your fingers. Your fingers can be spread, squeezed tightly together, straight, curled, held in a loose fist, or clenched in a tight ball. The effects your hands will have on the dog shifts with their position and shape.

Hand distance

The distance your hand is from the dog makes a difference, as well. Experience what happens when you change the position of your hand. Practice these drills over your thigh to get a sense of what your dog feels. First hold your hand in a pronated, open, relaxed position, and notice if you sense any difference when you are 12, 6, 3 and 1 inch away from your leg. 

Repeat the 12, 6, 3 and 1 inch distances supine, that is, palm side up. Repeat again, with your hand in a fist, knuckles down. Repeat once more, this time with your fingertips and thumb touching, all directed down. And one final time, with your hands in the same position, only this time, with your fingertips and thumb aiming to the side. 

Each of the above positions has a use at different times, for different reasons, and for different results. The effect of each of these positions and attitudes is modulated with your breath.

Single Whip and Spreading Whip 

The positions with your fingertips and thumb touching, all directed down, is a hand position used in Chi Gung and Tai Chi. Called the Single Whip, it focuses the energy of the 5 elements (earth, fire, water, metal, and wood), as represented by your fingers. In martial arts, this makes for a powerful striking tool and can cause much damage. In canine massage and bodywork when all the elemental energies are focused toward a point on the dog’s body, it is a dynamic shape, a psychic scalpel, for energy shaping and healing. 

One interesting variation of the Single Whip is the Spreading Whip. Make a single whip with your fingers straight and fingertips pressed together. Now, spread your fingers, pushing out from the center. This position assists dogs to release areas that are energetically stuck.  

A gentler version that you may recall from childhood is the imaginary egg broken on your head, the yolk dripping over your scalp with the aid of your brother’s slowly spreading fingers.


The attitude of your hands, their shape, position, direction, and projected focus vis-à-vis the dog will all have remarkable effects on the dogs, and your, PetMassageTM experience.

1 Comment

  1. Mary Kay on August 24, 2016 at 7:57 PM

    This was real informative, Jonathan! ! Thank you!! I dod not know about those positions. And I so hope that Miss Lola is better. Bless her heart!

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