Intimacy in Canine Massage
Hey! You talkin’ t’ me?
When you go to a party, who do you greet first, and hang out with the most: the dogs or the people? With other people, we are self-protective. We’d rather not share some of our stories. Some experiences are meant to stay private. We’d also really prefer not knowing everything about the people we meet. With dogs, it is different. It is the real you, warts-and-all, that dogs want to get to know. And you are spontaneously willing to accept them, in all their variations of life condition, too.
We can be more compassionate hearing about a rescued puppy than an adopted child. The story line is simpler. We can get our heads around one and not the other. So, for our comfort and sanity, many of us find that we like being with dogs rather than people. Relationships are safe with dogs. Our love is eagerly reciprocated. Nothing unreasonable or unexpected is asked of one another. It is pure. Practitioners of PetMassageTM are the most comfortable when we are with dogs.
Each of us has our own interpretation of boundaries. Each of us has our own concept of intimacy.
Functional sports massage
Massage has always been, and remains, a very personal service. Sure, you can have your muscles and joints manipulated, and have some of their “knots” worked out. However, if that is all that’s intended, the massage is limited to a “body experience.” In sports, warm-ups and cool-downs are essential to enhance performance and minimize injuries. Functional sports massage has its place. When I was in human massage school, this is the type of massage that I was taught. It is documentable. It is measurable. It is what most clients expect and visualize when they think of massage.
When I was a new LMT, I was asked to provide post event massage at a local marathon. My intentions were to ease the runners immediate discomfort, reduce the potential for cramping, and assist their transitions to their normal levels of body ADLs, Activities of Daily Living. My goals were limited. My work was effective. There was no expectation for effects lasting longer than a day or two. The marathoners and I were impersonally intimate. I massaged their arms, legs, feet, and buttocks. As a holistic experience, it was lacking. I was not touching their souls. Dogs, in PetMassageTM, transform their bodies and spirits in ways that last their lifetimes.
What makes the difference? One is listening to and triaging the immediate needs of the body. The other includes the intentional sharing of combined energy wisdom. With this level of intimacy, we move into the intentional space of PetMassageTM.
Intimacy is the Holy Grail. With dogs, it’s easy. It comes naturally.
PetMassageTM is a sharing of our combined set of life lessons and experience. Dogs don’t care what you’ve been through. You don’t bring your experiences, you bring your lessons. You don’t bring your questions; you bring your solutions, or at least your ability to recognize that you have to search for them. There are no boundaries because there is no need for them. It is a merging of wisdom energy. You are inside each other, feeling for the other.
This intimacy is nonverbal. Unconscious. Immeasurable. At the level of the sacred. Connection on this level is as intimate as one entity can be with another. The unspoken conversation goes: I acknowledge and honor that you are feeling as you are remembering. I support you however you go, whatever you choose. “Namaste” comes pretty close.
When we are fully open and sharing, we can be fully receptive. Dogs show their appreciation for this level of intimacy with their body language, their trust, and with their acceptance of your intentional touch.
You bring lessons, not experiences
It is easy to talk about intimacy. It is more challenging to sustain our awareness that this level of intimacy exists; and that we are part of this connection at this depth. We are obliged to become as Deepak Chopra describes, the “seer.” When we step back and observe ourselves and our dogs interacting, they get the most from their treatments. When we listen to ourselves listening; observe ourselves feeling, we can venture forward, as one, together. That’s how they’ll rediscover the sacred puppies that they are.