The body not only refers pain, it refers treatment, too. Your dog has several sets of referral points all over his body. These are reflexology points that reference organs and systems and regions. One of the sets of reflexology points is on your dog’s ears.
As you palpate your dog’s ear, you’ll notice variations of textures within the skin. These can be described in terms such as denseness, softness, bumpiness, fullness, emptiness, dampness, dryness, noteworthy and un-noteworthy. You are noticing reflexology points. The whole body has reflexive responses, like your patellar reflex, the sudden kicking movement of your lower leg in response to a sharp tap on your patellar tendon. A stimulation of one point on the body – in this case, the ear – will illicit a strong reflexive response in another area of the body.
How does a stimulation on the ear get to the hip, the toes, the bowels, or the eyes? How can we define the pathways of these long distance reactions, i.e., from ear to hip? In Western med. we’d describe them in terms of myotomes, dermatomes, or neural pathways. Applications of pressure to specific points on the ears send calming messages from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which in turn signals the body to adjust the tension level; reducing imbalance. [Ref.: http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/reflexology/how-does-reflexology-work ] In Eastern med. we’d call them meridians for movement of chi, or “vital energy.”
When you massage a point on your dog’s ear, the message – and the massage – somehow gets somewhere else. The ear has been mapped so you can learn to message/massage designated areas. The messages, from the points on the inside and edges of the ear, are to restore balance and vitality. So, let’s imagine that your dog needs work around the base of his tail; however, his intense guarding of the area makes actually touching him there, impractical from the perspective of maintaining your personal safety. Now, you can direct activities in his croup from a distance!
If you are unclear about which points connect to which areas trust your intuition to guide you. Work the entire ear from base to tip, front to back, inside and out. Apply pressure with your fingers and thumbs. Work slowly and methodically. Squeeze, notice, and release. Breathe: inhale, exhale. Allow the unseen and unknown to move in their mysterious ways. The responses that are best for your dog will happen where they are needed.