PetMassage and Circulation. When we ask people to describe the benefits of canine massage, the first thing that comes to mind is that it improves dogs circulation. It sounds good; but what does this mean? What is circulating? Is circulation all that important? Can PetMassage really have an affect in the quality and rate of circulation?
Definition of Circulation. NOUN
- movement to and fro or around something, especially that of fluid in a closed system
- The continuous motion by which the blood travels through all parts of the body induced by the pumping action of the heart.
- the movement of sap through a plant
- the public availability of knowledge of something
- The movement, exchange, or ability/availability of money or other resource in a country or system
The circulation I’d like to discuss here is the movement, flow and distribution of all the fluids in the body. Fluids make up around 80% of the dogs body. Dogs bodies have many types of fluids. There’s blood and lymph, of course. There’s also synovial fluid, urine, gastric and intestinal juices for digestion, cerebral and spinal fluid, fluid in the inner ear for balance, hydration of the membranes in the eyes and nose, saliva, sinus fluid, perspiration, hydration of skin and coat, and more.
Let’s simplify the conversation and limit the fluids to blood and lymph. They maintain the matrix of fascia through which all the nerve impulses and chi flow.
Blood and lymph maintain the muscles, the bones, the brain, the lungs, the heart and all the other organs. Any place where the movement of blood is restricted inhibits structure, inhibits function, and where there’s infection or injury, inhibits healing. So, restricted flow inhibits.
PetMassage encourages the movement -the circulation – of blood by adjusting its rate and ease of flow. The technique used, combined with controlled levels of pressure, direction, duration, and intensity modulates it. When flow is sluggish, it is increased with the elements of massage that stimulate blood flow.
The primary way that PetMassage encourages the movement – the circulation – of lymphatic fluid is by activating the limbs. Lymph flows because of changing pressures within the tissues. Facilitating joint movement alters pressures in the joints so that lymphatic fluids are indirectly pushed and pulled through the tissues.
In PetMassage every touch has a purpose. That’s one of the factors that differentiates professional canine massage from the home massage/petting pet parents do with their dogs all the time.
All of the techniques in the PetMassage skill set have specific purposes and have different effects on circulation. For example, pushing and pulling are two very different movements that have very different effects.
There are several ways massage influences the rate and quality of circulation. In addition to pushing and pulling, there’s squeezing, intentional holding, quieting, warming, cooling, vibrating, jostling, shaking, twisting, redirecting, supporting, sometimes simply observing, and sometimes giving space by backing away. Knowing which to apply when, comes with training and experience.
Massage is the controlled intentional manipulation of tissues from the surface of the body. Knowledgeable and skillful canine massage expands possibilities for dogs circulation. Massage helps all the body fluids go where they need to go and do what they need to do.