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.
Full Title: The Effects of Tapotement on the Piriformis Muscle
Author: Shumin Yang Coleman
Date of Publication: March 20, 2020
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
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)
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.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
- When you ease and relax your mind, you produce chemicals that calm and enable you to feel secure, confident, and optimistic.
- Helps you focus more easily.
- Encourages you to breathe more deeply and slowly.
- Sleep more soundly.
- Boost your immune system.
- Feel more grounded. Enhance your connection to floor/ground/earth.
- Encourages youth-ing. Stay young, healthy, engaged, and resilient.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Become more in touch with your Guides, your intuition (as Deepak Chopra suggests).
- Have an intention to quiet your mind.
- Sit on a upright chair, remove shoes, feet flat on the floor or sit on floor, lotus style.
- Rest your hands quietly on your lap.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe through your nose, slowly and deeply.
- Begin with one minute and increase time as you prefer.
- As thoughts come up (and they will) honor them, observe them, and release them as you return your focus to your breath.
- When you feel complete, gently open your eyes, move your fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders, neck and spine.
- 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,
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/
I thought someone might identify with this Facebook request for help. This person was deciding whether or not Vet Tech school was the best venue for her to help animals. I offered advice and encouragement. Here’s the (edited) transcript:
I need advice…..so I was all about going to school and getting my degree to be a Vet Tech, but now I’m thinking that it’s just too much stress on me. I’ve already spent 6 years working towards getting my Bachelor’s Degree while working full time and had a fabulous husband support me. Do I really want to go through all that again? Stressing about getting homework done or studying when we want to fix things in the house or go on golfing trips or to the mountains or hang out with family and friends? I’m struggling with this because I want to follow my heart, but I need to be realistic about what I would be putting myself and those that I love through.
Jonathan: There are alternative ways to help animals that are much less stressful. Consider canine massage.
Response: Jonathan I’m totally thinking about going the canine massage route. I’ve always said I wanted to start my own canine massage business prior to deciding to try the vet tech route. I think this is sort of a sign for me to pursue my original dream of starting a canine massage/indoor canine swimming facility business.
Jonathan: I’m here to guide you when you’re ready.
Response to all who had commented:
Thank you all for the motivating words. I think Mindi has a good point in that if I TRULY wanted to be a vet tech I would not be questioning whether to continue or not. I do think that this is a sign that I pursue my TRUE heart and get certified in canine massage and try to start my own business. Over the last 6-7 years I’ve thought about starting my own canine massage business/indoor swimming facility and I’ve put A LOT of thought into what it would take to do that and how I would like to do it. The end of last year I thought becoming a Vet Tech would be fulfilling because my love for ALL animals is so strong, but I think maybe doing the canine massage will be more fulfilling with less of the upsetting aspect of being a vet tech.
Is your dream to help dogs in your own canine massage business? I suggest you attend PetMassage workshops and complete the certification programs for dry and/or canine aquatic massage.
Begin with either the PetMassage Foundation Level Program or The PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage Program. These will teach you the technical skills you need and get you started creating your successful and rewarding canine massage business.
You’re massaging a dog and your attention is drawn to something unusual. It could be in the coat, like a burr, a matte, or a clump of organic matter. It could be on the skin: a rough patch, a bump, or a critter. It could be under the skin: a lump, a hot spot-heat, or something you sense that’s much deeper. How you frame in your mind what you’ve discovered has everything to do with what the dog will be able to do with it.
Imagine you have a wooden tray that’s 12” x 12” with sides, an inch high. It’s filled halfway up with fine white sand. A couple of dark polished rocks break up the homogeneity of the tiny garden.
It’s a miniature meditation garden. You may tend it, and seek a tiny glimpse of enlightenment as you process your miniature meditations. Your garden even has a little wooden rake that you can use to comb the sand. The tines in your little rake leave clean little alternating parallel grooves and ridges. You experiment, pushing and pulling your little rake. Straight lines, swiggles, curves, and mounds.
Your wrist relaxes. The little dowel rake handle rolls between your fingers as you move. You lean into the curves. Within moments, you are immersed, playing in your garden.
You notice how the dense black stones contrast against the sand. Yes, there’s the difference in color. The shapes and textures are different too. When you look down at the designs you’ve raked, you see them by the shadows they cast. Mid-tones of unifying transitions define and bridge dark to light.
Your patterns resemble flowing waves. Seawater flows up the rocks, splashing against them. Imaginary mist. It drains back. Eddies in ripples and resorbs back into the ocean. There’s an entire vignette here. It’s nonverbal and it’s your story.
What might the rocks represent? Do you see them as obstacles? Are they situations in which you feel stuck, vulnerable, apprehensive, reluctantly interdependent. Are these rocks challenges?
You may just as well see them as opportunities. They are routes to independence, enhanced strength, empowerment, control, contentment.
How readily you are to approach, overcome and reclaim ownership of your rocks?
The labels you use to define them make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself. It’s your verbal story.
Take up your little rake again. Think about your beautiful little polished stones. Knowing what you do about them now, rake around them again.
What patterns are you making? Are your grooves deep, or shallow? What are you feeling? What’s happening off to the sides of the garden? Has some of the sand splashed out of the box? Open yourself to all the possibilities of wave forms; of resolutions.
PetMassage. When your fingers are raking through a dog’s coat, you will encounter something that contrasts with the area around it.
You are the sand. You are the sea. Flow gently, lovingly, around it, on top of it, and eddy your fingers away. Wash up against it from other angles, with varying pressures, with your fingertips, with your knuckles, with your palms.
In her PetMassage, your dog is sharing the awareness of an obstacle that has appeared in her garden.
You may be probing an isolated rough patch, a recent scuff on the body of sand. You may be on a previously undiscovered feature element in your dog’s garden. It is not yet labeled. It’s simply her story.
The energy that you project in your approach, is powerfully influential. What you think, feel, and surmise, affects the quality of movement patterns in that spot and in all the tissues around it.
Supportive editing always transmutes stories. In PetMassage, like attracts like. Trauma to trauma. Fear to fear. Stress to stress. Hope to hope. Optimism and confidence to wellness and happiness.
How are you, the canine massage provider, labeling what you’ve discovered? Is it a problem, a challenge, or do you frame it as an opportunity? You are infusing it with some value of energy. How will the dog’s story progress? It’s up to you.
Hint: Infuse each touch, each breath, each moment, with love and appreciation.