Let’s figure this out and learn ways to play with each other. Life…

By Jonathan Rudinger | May 15, 2020 |

Let’s figure this out and learn ways to play with each other. Life lessons from a tiny dog. At the beginning of our stay at home and shelter in place orders I was full of enthusiasm. I was eager to use this time to get projects done. I was going to read, write, paint, organize, and complete a host of important accomplishments. I had such great ambitions. Instead, we got a puppy.

Those of you who follow my Facebook posts on my Jonathan Rudinger page have watched our little brindle boxer as she grows, naps, develops play skills with Ilaria (our 3 year-old), and reveals her gentle beauty and quirky sense of humor. If you missed meeting Margot Frecklefoot, come on in. She’s a delight. I’ve heard from hundreds of people that her photos and videos have brought much needed joy into their lives.

Margot received her first PetMassage when she was 8 weeks old. Our school had an open position of demo dog/ canine massage teaching assistant in training. She immediately applied for it. She was so enthusiastic and showed such potential, we hired her on the spot. Besides, she also knew the right people; had all the right connections. Her headshot is already on the website: https://petmassage.com/about/

Margot Frecklefoot is currently only 12 weeks old. Each day she grows. Each day she learns -or remembers- new skills.

When we take walks they are exercises in becoming. Every once in a while she stops in her tracks. Her forelegs stiffen like chubby little tent stakes, and she refuses to move forward until she has thought about and processed whatever she just saw, heard, felt, or thought.

Most everyone we meet gushes over her. She’s little, pretty, adorable, soft, cuddly, friendly, and gives all the right signals to illicit a friendly response. She basks in all the love, attention and appropriately directed adoration.

Yesterday however, her sparkling eyes and wiggly tail didn’t work. A jogger passed us by without acknowledging her.

Margot was stunned! She stopped. Her little forehead wrinkled as her head swiveled from side to side. She dug in and refused to move forward until she had made sense of it. I knew that attempting to move her before she was ready was futile. She had done the same with leaving our yard, with walking to the car, with the first time on a cement sidewalk, with tree stumps, sniffing flowers and fresh scents on lawns and bushes from other dogs.

When she was finally ready, she relaxed and we resumed our walk. It’s fascinating to observe how she is constructing the emotional foundation for the rest of her life. What a wise little dog!

I’m learning so much from her. One lesson is about taking the time to process things that are new. What just happened? What does it mean? How does this apply to my life view and what I know?

There are lots of things that are going on in each of our lives right now that are new. Many/most are confusing. There are a lot of easy to believe confident sounding voices voicing conflicting versions of what’s going on. Lots of people saying we are all in this together but with agendas that are clearly encouraging dissension.

We need energetic filters just like we need face masks. We need to remember to pause and consider. We need to use little Margot’s “take a moment to process” to decide what to accept and what to disregard.

Margot’s technique for making sense of it all works. She’s figured out how to figure it out. We can apply that same curiosity and patience with ourselves in our canine massages. Lets give ourselves permission to pause mid-stroke or mid-squeeze or mid-lift, to listen and practice discernment.

In my practice, I use my own body as a surrogate. I can be sure of what I feel in my own body whereas I can only project what is happening with the dog. Objective vs. subjective.

I ask myself, or open my awareness for, what am I feeling? Do I feel grounded? How are we (the dog and I) holding the space? Am I balanced? Am I breathing easily? Do I feel any unusual tightness or blockages in my back, shoulders or face? I’ll hold that position, breathing into it, for several seconds; or, until I have realized what I need to know.

If running through a list is engaging too many thoughts, we can alternatively simply pause, breathe and notice. It can be as subtle as feeling the throb of my resting heart rate in my eyes or temples. Whatever intuitive message that bubbles up to the surface is the info we can spontaneously incorporate as we complete the suspended stroke or squeeze or lifting movement.

Lesson 2. Margot is perfecting the “come play with me” hop. Also known as “come along” or “join up.” It’s a couple of quick steps away while curving her spine and looking back. It looks like she trying to go forward and backward at the same time. Her mouth is open and expectant. Her eyes, ears and nose are widened and pulled back. Her entire posture is happy and inviting.

She pulls the energy in her wake along with her. Ilaria is captivated. The invitation to follow is irresistible. Energy work is like that. Actually, both Ilaria and Margot do this as they encourage each other to continue play.

Applying her “come play with me” in my canine massage strokes, I lead with my knuckles and the back of my hand. My stroke, instead of using my palm or fingertips, presses with the ulnar border of my hand and little finger. It’s like pushing sand away at the beach, smoothing a spot to lay a towel. I look back to where my hand has just been, and draw the wake of energy (stimulated tissues) that’s been ruffled into my palms.

Little Miss Margot’s “come play with me” expands the stroke by adding follow-up, follow-on, and follow-through.

Thank you, little teacher, Margot Frecklefoot.

The thoughts I dwell upon determine the quality of the life I’m experiencing. I am safe. I am secure. I am love.

By Anastasia Rudinger | May 15, 2020 |

Covid19 update

By Beth Farkas | May 8, 2020 |


This is one more message that you’re getting because of the Covid19 pandemic.

  1. We affirm that you and your loved ones are healthy.
  2. We affirm that you are maintaining your emotional well-being.
  3. We’d like you to know that we are offering 6-month extensions for completion of PetMassage Foundation and Advanced Level Certification Programs and home study courses.

If you are not currently taking one of the PetMassage home study courses and are wondering what is offered, here’s a link to the PetMassage website page. The newest one, “Senior Dog Massage for the Canine Massage Practitioner” is getting a lot of attention.

This “situation” has shown us just how important our dogs are in our culture. Dogs have made our isolation, sheltering in place, bearable. When all this is over, we can expect that dog owners will no longer take these angels for granted. They will seek ways to maintain and enhance the quality of life for their dogs. Canine massage is going to be more in demand than ever. Are you ready?

Do you remember how to breathe through your palms? How to move like a potted palm? How to lower your resting heart rate to establish leadership? We encourage you to visit (and definitely subscribe to) our YouTube channel. We’ve created more than 30 short video tutorials on canine massage for you.

We have 2 accounts on Facebook. PetMassage and Jonathan Rudinger. Meet our newest Teaching Assistant in Training, boxer puppy, Margot Frecklefoot. Margot’s headshot is on the PetMassage.com/About page.

Stay well, content, and covered in hair.

Please Share this newsletter with your networks of Friends and Groups. Thank you.

Warmest regards,

Jonathan Rudinger, PetMassage, Ltd.

I so appreciate the many ways my dogs enhance the quality of my life … I enhance theirs in the best ways possible with canine massage.

By Beth Farkas | May 8, 2020 |

I share the epicenter of my senior dogs’ world. Every moment’s better with PetMassage.

By Anastasia Rudinger | March 26, 2020 |

Canine massage instruction with a PetMassage

By Jonathan Rudinger | March 25, 2020 |

Check out the new PetMassage home study course, “Senior Dog Massage for the Canine Massage Practitioner.”  This expands on the book “How to Massage My Senior Dog.”

Or, if you are not interested in continuing ed, you can just get the book.  It’s an easy read.

PetMassage books, DVDs, and charts are no longer available through Amazon. When you would like to purchase original PetMassage study materials, please go directly to our website.  Let me know if you’d like me to sign and dedicate books. I’d be happy to oblige.

If you’d like PetMassage canine massage instruction for FREE, see our large selection of mini-tutorials on the PetMassage Youtube channel.

Happy Spring. Stay safe. And take good care of your dogs.

Elbow bump,


The Effects of Tapotement on the Piriformis Muscle

By PetMassage | March 18, 2020 |

Full Title: The Effects of Tapotement on the Piriformis Muscle

Author: Shumin Yang Coleman

Date of Publication: March 20, 2020

PDF: https://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Effects-of-Tapotement-on-the-Piriformis-Muscle.pdf

Research Paper Text:

The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock, behind the superficial gluteus muscle.  It rises on the lateral surface of the third sacral and first caudal vertebrae and inserts on the same site as the tendon from the middle gluteus muscle at the greater trochanter of the femur.  It is completely covered by the superficial gluteus muscle, and when flexed, rotates internally and abducts the hip.  In a neutral position it acts as an external rotator of the hip.  It is one of the muscles affecting the pelvic girdle and is one of the rump muscles.

The piriformis is not blended with the gluteus medius.  It arises from the border and ventral surface of the sacrum and from the sacro-sciatic ligament and ends on the trochanter major (of the femur) with, or close to, the gluteus medius.

Pain in or around the Sacroiliac (SI) joint is commonly recognized in human medicine, but it has received little attention in veterinary medicine.  The SI joint serves to transmit the propulsive forces from the pelvic limbs to the vertebral column.  It also supports the weight of the torso and may help buffer ground impact forces.  SI pain is recognized in horses, but not well documented in dogs.  However, given its innervation and similar anatomy, it can be postulated that disease at the SI joint could cause pain in dogs.  A retrospective study evaluating canine survey radiographs found over 60% of radiographs to have calcification of the interosseous SI ligaments, and 44% have calcification of the dorsal and/or ventral SI ligaments.

As it is not a well-defined syndrome in dogs, a definitive diagnosis of SI joint pain is difficult to make.  In humans, SI joint disease can cause sciatic pain secondary to compression from piriformis tension (piriformis syndrome) manifesting as buttock pain, without radiation of pain down the limb.  In dogs, it has been hypothesized that piriformis tension and muscle spasm may also occur with SI joint dysfunction and pain.  Diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction has been proposed to be based upon movement and stress testing, as well as evaluation of anatomic landmarks for asymmetry.  Similar methods have been proposed for use in dogs as well.

Massage could be a form of relief for the piriformis muscle, however, with the piriformis being completely covered by other muscles, it can prove to be difficult to get to with hands or fingers.  Tapotement is a technique which may help resolve this. It is a rhythmic percussion, usually administered with the edge of the hand, a cupped hand, or the tips of the fingers. There are five types of tapotement, including beating, slapping, hacking, tapping and cupping.

Tapotement is a repetitive staccato, striking movement of the hands, simultaneously or alternately.  If performed well, it has a stimulating but relaxing effect.  Applied across large muscles, hacking stimulates the muscle spindles and causes minute muscle contractions. It stimulates nerve endings, aids in decongestion and increases local blood flow.  It also tones the atrophied muscles and relieves pain and gives one access to deeper structures, such as hip rotators.

Tapotement has a hyperemic effect.  That is, it increases local blood circulation, which in turn, helps to warm and soften the underlying tissue.  The skin will feel warm to the touch and appear flushed.  It is often used to warm up an athlete prior to an event.

With this technique, nerve endings are stimulated, which produce tiny muscular contractions, resulting in an overall increase in muscle tone.  This is thought to happen because of the stroke pressure being registered by the muscle’s mechanoreceptors in the fascia and Golgi tendon organ. A reflex action follows, resulting in the contraction of both voluntary and involuntary muscles.

When used in combination with other massage techniques, tapotement helps to reduce fatty deposits and tone flabby muscle areas.

Massage therapy relaxes the piriformis muscle, which can prevent spasming and reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve.  A massage also spurs the release of pain-fighting endorphins, which can reduce the pain from piriformis syndrome.  Richard (1978) reminds us that a working muscle will mobilize up to 10 times the quantity of blood mobilized by a resting muscle, so massage is a means of enhancing circulation of the pelvic organs.

Information for this paper was obtained from several online sources, including the following:

–Piriformis Syndrome in Canines, by Tammy Callahan, April 12, 2019

— Is Piriformis Syndrome a Tangible Diagnosis in Animals? A Case Study by Maja Guldborg, DVM

— WikiVet.net Canine Hindlimb –Anatomy & Physiology

www.ojaischoolofmassage.com Canine Muscle Origins, Insertions, Actions and Nerve

— Google Books, Canine Lameness, p373, Felix Duerr

— Science Direct, Leon Chaitow, ND DO, Judith DeLany LMT, in Clinical Application of Neuromuscular Techniques, Volume 2 (Second Edition), 2011

— Spine Health, Two Little-Known Treatments for Piriformis Syndrome, by Jahnna Levy, DO, 12/20/2017

— Clarysage College Website, Tapotement or Percussion

— Institute for Integrated Healthcare, Linda Fehrs LMT, Massage Stroke Review Part 3: Tapotement, June 24, 2010

Helpful Poem

By Anastasia Rudinger | March 17, 2020 |

Hello Everyone:

I decided to post this blog to help you feel more secure during this challenging time.

I’d like to share this poem with you. Hopefully, it will help you reflect on some positives in life.

Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Reading will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.

May we lean into the good stuff that remains. – unknown


Meditate with your Dog(s)

By Anastasia Rudinger | March 17, 2020 |

Meditate with your Dog(s)

Hello Everyone

I am writing a blog, perhaps once a month, (sounds very feminine) to share my experiences in my on-going healing arts practice.

When I dedicate myself to a spiritual practice, on a daily basis, just as many of us do with a daily exercise program (walking, biking, weights, etc.), I truly benefit.

This first blog is about meditating with your dog(s).  Like so many others, I find it a challenge to sit still.  I prefer being active and moving.  It takes a lot of strength for me to set aside a task, sit, and welcome silence.

In fact, the book that inspired me the most to meditate is Inviting Silence by Gunilla Norris. This book helped me to lighten up; and progress slowly, at my own pace. Her approach is very gentle. It’s exactly what I can handle as I develop a new spiritual practice/lesson.

Another great spiritual leader that I have followed since the late 1980’s is Deepak Chopra.   In his daughter’s book, Living with Intent, by Mallika Chopra, Deepak writes about the power of meditation.  He states “If you learn to quiet your internal dialogue and pay attention to your inner life, you will be guided by intuition rather than externally imposed interpretations of what is and isn’t good for you.”

My favorite place to mediate is in the living room, on my favorite comfortable chair, with our boxers, Camille and Ilaria sitting nearby.  Here is a link to a PetMassage YouTube video with Jonathan and our lovely boxers meditating together.  The beauty of dogs, is that they entrain with their humans quickly and easily.  Meditate with your dogs.  You and your dogs can learn to enjoy the quiet time together. Jonathan’s Transitions book details how to join up with your dog in meditation. Many people have used his techniques to connect with their dogs. Their stories are heartwarming.

Do your best to find the ideal room and chair in your house.  To keep your mind relaxed, be sure to have a neat, Feng Shui-friendly space.

Here are lists of benefits and the process I’ve developed from my experience with meditation.  Modify the process to personalize your own method. Create your own style, to feel secure and comfortable.


  1. When you ease and relax your mind, you produce chemicals that calm and enable you to feel secure, confident, and optimistic.
  2. Helps you focus more easily.
  3. Encourages you to breathe more deeply and slowly.
  4. Sleep more soundly.
  5. Boost your immune system.
  6. Feel more grounded. Enhance your connection to floor/ground/earth.
  7. Encourages youth-ing. Stay young, healthy, engaged, and resilient.
  8. Lower your blood pressure.
  9. Become more in touch with your Guides, your intuition (as Deepak Chopra suggests).


  1. Have an intention to quiet your mind.
  2. Sit on a upright chair, remove shoes, feet flat on the floor or sit on floor, lotus style.
  3. Rest your hands quietly on your lap.
  4. Close your eyes.
  5. Breathe through your nose, slowly and deeply.
  6. Begin with one minute and increase time as you prefer.
  7. As thoughts come up (and they will) honor them, observe them, and release them as you return your focus to your breath.
  8. When you feel complete, gently open your eyes, move your fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders, neck and spine.
  9. Welcome home.

I affirm that as you adjust the process that feels good for you, you will enjoy a wonderful practice.

I send you blessings to begin or continue your sitting in silence meditation.

When you have any questions or would like to share your experience with me, please contact me at Anastasia@petmassage.com .  I am offering to be a loving support person for you.

Peace and Love,


When you’re stressed, massage therapy can help you.

By Jonathan Rudinger | March 16, 2020 |

I usually use this forum to share my thoughts on the importance of massage for our dogs. That is important; and, just like the preflight instructions when you fly, when putting on oxygen masks in the case of an emergency, you, the caregiver have to put yours on first.

So this week, I’d like to talk about how we can cope and keep our sanity in this unprecedented international cultural stress Coronavirus (COVID-19) we are all experiencing.

Isolation, worry, and fear! Oh, my! The stress can feel overwhelming. Devastating. Debilitating. If you feel you need some respite from everything that’s going on, please get help. You don’t have to suffer. My suggestion is to get a professional massage.

This is massage. Imagine: compassionate human touch from someone professionally and scientifically trained in the arts of massage; whose sole focus for an entire hour is on helping you rediscover comfort.

As a caregiver, I was thrilled to discover in massage, a vocation in which I had the opportunity to provide personal one-to-one undivided attention to a client/patient for a full hour. Sometimes, an hour and a half! This is an approach that is seldom possible in big highly leveraged medical systems. When I was practicing as an RN, spending this much time with someone who was in need was inconceivable. To my sensibilities, this restrictive approach to wellness care was plainly wrong-headed.

Massage therapy is the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of normalizing those tissues. It consists of manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or causing movement of or to the body. https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/massage+therapy

Massage can enable us to release some of the stress that’s keeping us from moving well, thinking well, and feeling well.

When our stress-calm scale is tipped toward stress, we feel bound up. Restricted. Massage helps us feel better by defusing the dysfunction that we feel within us, and softening our reactivity to the dysfunction all around us. The beneficial effects of massage therapy are well documented. And, they are cumulative. The more often we receive massage the stronger our coping abilities are. That’s the reason massage therapy is an integral part of every rehabilitation protocol.

Since the time in the 1990’s when I became a Licensed Massage Therapist, a lot has changed. One fundamental element in massage scientific medical training, clinical anatomy and physiology is now classifying connective tissue, fascia, pronounced fah-shia, as an organ. Medical textbooks are being rewritten as we speak. Fascia used to be thought of as the tissue surgeons would cut through to get to muscles and organs.

So far, we’ve figured out that fascia is the connecting media for all of the other organs. The body’s matrix. It holds and controls the heart and flow of blood through our vascular systems. It holds and controls the transmission of neural energy. It holds and controls all the muscles and the entire digestive system; beginning to end. And all the connective tissues within the body are interrelated. The hand bone really is connected to the knee bone!

This is significant because when I press into the skin, what I’m really affecting is what’s happening in the connective tissues beneath the surface, the fascia.

When you look into the sun and sneeze, that’s the fascia connection. When your blood sugar is low and your mind goes fuzzy, that’s fascia. When your traps are so tight you get migraines, that’s fascia. When someone pulls your finger, well, that’s just funny.

In my practice of MFR, Myo-Fascial Release, the fascia I track and reshape holds, and stores, and maintains, all of our unconscious memories, our hopes, dreams, and fears. Fascia, we’ve learned, is the storehouse, the conduit, the organizer, the balancer, and the gatekeeper of our mind, body, and spirit.

Massage directly influences the fascia: what it holds, how it performs, and the ways it influences the function of everything else in your body. That’s the reason massage is so profoundly effective.

Licensed massage therapists are medical professionals, tested, and in most states, licensed by your state medical board. Massage is safe. It’s respectful. It can accommodate your comfort level and can be received clothes on or off, lying on a massage table, seated on a chair, or standing. For many, the touch of massage is the saving grace that makes the difference between surviving and thriving.

You can find massage therapists in clinical group practices and as individual practitioners who will come to your home. And it’s affordable. It may be covered by your insurance. Even if it’s not, your physical and emotional well-being is more valuable than what ever it costs. Your health and happiness -and sanity- are certainly worth your investment.

Please take care of yourself. Before taking care of your (pets) children, you need to put your mask on first. That’s a metaphor. Massage therapy can help you get through this.

By extension, your pets will be less needy and happier. After all, they will not have to expend their resources patterning after you during your delirium (Serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of surroundings.)

-Jonathan Rudinger, LMT, RN, Founder of the PetMassage.com canine massage school, provides massage to dogs and therapeutic MFR, Myo-Fascial Release for people.

Find hundreds of Jonathan’s weekly blogs cached at https://petmassage.com/category/petmassage-blog/jonathans-helpful-hints/