Hmm…Toning in Canine Massage.

When I was very young while visiting my grandfather, I learned a valuable lesson. I recall being in a sunlit porch with him and a couple of his buddies. One of the men clasped his hands against my ears and faux-whispered a secret to the others that I was not supposed to hear. I heard every word he said. Very clearly.

He knew, and I knew he knew, because when I looked up at him, he winked. Then, he told me that the sounds he uttered traveled as vibrations through his arms and hands, and directly into my ears. This was more than 30 years before the first earbuds were available on Sony Walkmans.

Sound moves as vibration. Vibration moves as sound. Sound vibrations move through our hands, fingers and palms, into whatever, or whoever, we are touching.

Experience this yourself.

  1. Hum softly. Feel the vibration begin in your chest and expand into your inner ears.
  2. Holding your palms on your ears and then off your ears, hum and feel the difference in resonance.
  3. Next, have someone hum as they hold their hands on your ears. Your head is an amplifier.
  4. Then, have them hum as they hold their palm on your heart. You’ll feela direct connection.

I have a friend who greets me and others with a hug and a one note continuous hum. It’s one long exhalation. It releases stress, tension, confusion, disorientation. It’s grounding. It’s a beautiful greeting. I look forward to it whenever I see him walking toward me.

Then I have choices about how to engage:

  1. I can simply receive the vibration. It’s very comforting. It feels like a blessing.
  2. I can join him and hum the same note. I am happily joining up, following his lead, and feeling safe.
  3. Or, I can creatively complement the experience with a note that harmonizes. That’s the one I prefer. Together we create a new chord.

The momentary connection is hugely rewarding. When we are complete, we don’t have to say anything. We’ve just shared a moment of creativity and harmony! We smile triumphantly and turn our attentions elsewhere.

Humming like this foments a deep non-verbal connection. I now include the hum in my canine massage. The term humming doesn’t sound therapeutically significant enough for the deeply profound effect it has. “Toning” is more appropriate.

I know the dogs are feeling the vibration. They tell me with their softened eyes and floppy tail. It is another layer that we can add to their sensory experience.

I do not use it for any reason other than to create a shared experience; although I could use it as a vehicle for vibrational healing. For my purposes, connection is key to opening doors for communication, acceptance, and trust.

If you sing words, will that make a difference? Yes and no. Your words, as you think of their meanings and evoke memories of other times you heard or sang them, elicit the pheromones that support your emotional responses. The words themselves may not be understood; but the scents of your emotions are a different kettle of fish. Dogs respond to these smells.

Is it as effective if you whistle? No. The resonance needs to come from the hollow of your throat.

So you can sing. You can chant. You can hum a single note or an entire melody. Make it loud and there’s music playing. Hum it soft, and it’s really like praying.

Or, you can remain silent.

Outward silence is another elegant tool. Inner silence is a concept that eludes me. Too many monkeys jumping on the bed!

When I place my hands on the dog, hold them still, and softly hum, maintaining the same note, it’s very powerful.

It sounds like this: hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Think of the calming effects of a purring cat. Or an old Chevy in idle.


  1. Add toning to your next canine massage.
  2. Add it while you’re grooming.

It is effective with people too.

  1. MTs, include toning in your people massage.
  2. Nurses, Physicians, Therapists and caregivers, add toning to your touch during patient care.

Let me know what you feel and the effects toning has on your dogs and client..

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