Pinecone offers insights into canine massage.

I was taking a walk with our two dogs. When we are in the park, I’m always scanning the trail for who knows what I might trip over: branches, tree roots, slippery blobs of processed dog food. When we paused for the dogs to get their sniffs on, my attention was drawn to a grayish pinecone near my shoe. It was approximately the same size, color and shape as the others. Even though it was in the midst of big pile of pinecones this one seemed special. It appeared to have a story to share.

Have you ever been walking on a beach and felt a compulsion to lean down and pick up a pebble? What was it about that particular rock and not the others all along the shore? Like the pebble, which you probably kept and have in a basket somewhere in your home, this pinecone reached out to me with its energetic tentacles.

I squatted and carefully picked it up and slowly rotated it in my fingers. It was beautiful. Complex. Organic. And really sticky. Evenly spaced seeds were neatly arranged; small and tightly packed at the top, and spiraling around, graduating in size to broad and distended at the bottom. Its seeds were all slightly different. Each had a slightly different size, shape and angle. A different vision. A different aptitude. A different destiny.

I thought, how amazing! I realized in that moment that I had made an energetic connection to this little life form. My inner knowing was responsive because of this pinecone. And, with this awareness, it was guiding me to relay its message.

The first level of the message was that this singular pinecone contains hundreds of seeds. That’s an entire forest! I’m holding the potential intention of an entire forest of pine trees in the palm of my hand.

So, intentionality and possibility. One of the most important elements in canine massage is to align intentions; and only then can the possible happen. Michael Jordan is quoted as saying “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

My intentions support what the dog is intending: optimizing how he feels, how he moves, and how he behaves. If the dog’s resources are flagging, my massage can bolster them in all three of their levels of being: body, mind, and spirit.

If part of a muscle has lost its ability to function, the rest of the muscle and associated fascia have to figure out how to get it to work as it was meant to. When muscles are in a deep state of torpor and resistance to rediscovery, they need help. Massage is the external influence that dogs need to encourage their affected internal systems to reestablish direction, balance, and function. That’s the rationale for canine PetMassage.

Selecting the cone was not a conscious decision. This join-up of energies was only possible because I was open, accepting, ready, and willing.

Now it it possible that there is no recognizable or compatible sentience emanating from a pinecone and that this is all magical thinking. That may be true; but it doesn’t diminish the experience. What’s important is that my moment of being influenced by a pinecone triggered a series of thoughts which developed into something resembling insightfulness.

With my human massage clients I’m often astounded that I can immediately locate the tight muscle. They ask, “How did you know that was the exact spot where I needed relief?” I don’t know the mechanics of how or why I can do this. I just place my hands where I know they need to go. It’s the same as noticing a pinecone or a pebble on the beach. I am open to suggestion, in any form. I trust my intuition. I attempt to develop the thoughts I have and follow where they lead.

The final message is 3 ways this applies to the practical application of canine massage.

Way 1. Thoughts are powerful. Align your thoughts with those of the dog. Keep them clear, simple, in the present, and joyful. Happy thoughts infuse each touch with confidence, hope, and love.

While we apply the appropriate massage techniques on injured or depleted areas, our intention must stay aligned with the parts that are healthy and functional. What you think about is your reality and the dog’s possibility. Focus on wellness.

Way 2. Stay positive. Throughout the massage, energetic tentacles are reaching out to us asking for attention, presence, witnessing, guidance, and a hand to hold. The tentacles may come from outside of us, or, they be our own thoughts inspired by a trigger.

When our deepest -unconscious – thoughts surface, they are our responses to them. As my Taoist friends say, “If you can’t think something positive, don’t think anything at all.”

Way 3. Stay open. Any resistance that you may have to sharing in the dog’s energetic communication can be ameliorated.

Train yourself to notice when you hold tension in your hands. Rigid fingers and palms project a need to control, willfulness and ego; while supple fingers and palms, project willingness to listen and hear.

Soften your fingers and palms; and breathe through them. To see a free demonstration of how this is done, please check out our YouTube video at

And, here’s a link to learn more about pinecones, their history, uses, and cultural meanings.

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