When Did You Know You Were a Healer?
As canine massage practitioners we cannot claim to heal. Our manipulation of dogs bodies redistributes fluid to restore balance and function. Projecting a healing intention, infuses the entire procedure with the energy of health and wellness. Canine massage creates a friendly ecosystem within dogs bodies, which activates their own natural resources.
Our dogs’ owners often attest to their dogs’ recoveries. They see changes in their dogs so profound, happening so spontaneously, and so surprisingly, that they describe them as miraculous “healings.”
In a recent session, I was describing to the owner, what I was feeling in my palm. I had placed them on a dog’s thigh, over a recently sutured incision. A trace of fresh blood trickled through the stitches. Pale yellow fluid seeped through the flaring raw edges.
My touch was gentle, consistent, and reassuring. Heat poured into my palm. My hand felt gentle vibrations. It felt tingly; like champagne under my skin. The sensation of holding tiny, bubbly effervescence began slowly; gradually increased in activity, and then subsided. I knew the shift within the tissues was complete.
I was neither projecting nor affirming. I was witnessing. I intuitively knew the two edges had aligned and joined up with each other. They were adjusting. Tissues fusing together.
I lifted my hand. Touching thumb to middle finger, I released the heat and absorbed energy. I again rested my hand on the wound. The skin was cooler. I looked at the leg. The sutures were even and clean. The borders of the incision had lost their raw discoloration. The bleeding had stopped. The dog rested his head on his front paws, slowly closed his eyes, and drifted. The room was still. It was a moment of happy quiet grace.
The dog’s owner, watching intently, looked at me and whispered, “When did you know you were a healer?”
If we pay attention, we recognize where our journey can take us and the potential when we are aligned with our highest good.
Sometimes the reminder is overt, like in the book, Zen Flesh Zen Bones, when the master takes his staff, and whacks the student on the head. PAY ATTENTION TO THIS MOMENT! REMEMBER!
Spiritual healing, a term that resonates with me and what I do, pertains to the act of healing others of their physical or emotional ailments. It’s inseparable from the physical massage. They work in tandem to disperse stagnation and stuckness at various levels. The magical force that maintains life is pure spirit. When it flows as it should, our dogs are healthy and in all ways harmonious. When it doesn’t – and we can track it – they are neither.
Through active presence and touch, we enhance the transference and diversion of their physical and spiritual energy.
This is the text message I received the next morning, with the photos accompanying this article:
“Miracle!!!! These were beet red and inflammatory. Look how nicely the tissue has changed. Luke has been in bliss since you left. (It was a home visit.) Thanks so much!”
After the next session 2 days later, she writes, “Hi. Good news: Luke is doing much better. (Progressing with toe touching.) So we can come to your office for his PetMassage on Tuesday. Have a blessed day. See you Tuesday at 11 am.
Tuesday afternoon, a couple of hours after his massage, she texted a video of Luke standing in their garden with his weight on all four paws. Then, through happy tears, I watched him begin trotting!
Practitioners in spiritual healing attest to the grace they themselves experience in their acts of compassion. There is an ecstatic feeling of profound Divine connectedness. We are overcome with gratitude for realizing our sense of purpose; of validation of the truth to our personal spiritual and professional path, and the choices we’ve made to get to where we are. When we access our spiritual gifts and talents and use them to heal one another, the experience is beautiful.
When I felt the reciprocal compassion in canine massage, I recognized my life’s plan. First of all, I was comforted that I had a life plan. Sharing my insights and skills, teaching PetMassage, I help dogs, and I help other dog people. Through the modeling and testimonials such as these that I share in these blogs, my books, videos, and canine massage vocational training workshops, I encourage people like you to realize your dreams.
I can help you to create a career in which you can use massage to help dogs and validate your passions to care for dogs. I also feed my spirit. I take big helpings!
Who can be a healer? Some people cannot. They aren’t ready. They came into this life with other talents; alternative agendas.
Everyone who reads this article can. I truly believe that’s the reason you’ve been guided to these words. If you haven’t already felt the gentle nudge or the whack on your topknot, here it is: I’m telling you that you are ready. You can learn canine massage and help dogs with its energy applications.
You already know the skills. You just have to be reminded. You’ll recognize them by their ease and comfort to perform.
It is possible to learn to be a canine massage healer on your own. You have the raw talent; but, like playing a musical instrument, you will never reach your full potential without instruction, training, and practice. Let’s expand on your natural talents and take them to the skills of the healer.
You may have already begun by learning some form of healing such as Reiki, Healing Touch, EFT, NLP, polarity work, and Toe Twiddling. Yes. That’s a thing. It is easier to learn with an instructor. Hey: that’s me!
In the PetMassage Foundation and Advanced Level Programs and workshops, I show you, and help you, to learn and practice the skills to be a canine massage and canine energy work practitioner.
The Foundation Program includes the basics:
- Observation skills
- Basic canine anatomy
- Presence skills
- Grounding skills
- Canine massage and holding skills
- Canine body language
- Gait and body mechanics
- Dog handling in the context of massage, and
- Creating your dog massage business
The PetMassage Advanced Level Training focuses on the skills of a canine massage healer. At this level, you
- Expand your observational skills to learn why, what, and how, to massage dogs.
- Learn more in-depth canine anatomy, pathology, and medical terminology, to enable you to visualize and recognize patterns while working with vets doing rehab.
- Learn Dousing – pendulum work to expand your palpation skills to sense meridians, chakras, relationships within fasciae, neuromuscular patterns, and concentrations and boundaries of personal space.
So, I ask you, when did you know you were a healer? More importantly, when are you going to do the work to develop your raw talents so you can use them with dogs?
Here’s the link to the schedule of workshops for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. I look forward to helping you develop your skills to be a canine massage healer.
PSA, Public Service Announcement: Use PetMassage to help your dogs survive-and sleep through-Fourth of July fireworks.
Independence Day fireworks are highly stressful to sensitive people and sensitive dogs. Let’s focus on the victim dogs. When the bombs start bursting in air, their percussive blasts can be devastating. Dogs shake. Dogs pace. They cannot sleep. Cannot eat. Cannot play. Cowering by the door, they refuse to leave the security of the house. When explosives are going off, and they may be barely heard off in the distance, they often refuse to venture out into their own yards to pee and poop. It’s Scaryland out there. They’re terrified of what’s outside. So scared. So emotionally fragile. What can we do to help them?
Is there anything you can find, or buy, or do to help your dogs? There must be something we can find to calm their frayed nerves?
You’ve already searched online and have researched the traditionally recommended methods. Over the counter sedatives. Serious vet prescribed sedatives. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy. Essential oils like lavender and frankincense. You can play music to compete with the noise outside.
Jai Hamilton, of the The Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control Center, recommends keeping dogs inside during fireworks. They should also have collars and microchips. She suggests a way to desensitize dogs with training.
“Play a recording at a low volume. When your dog hears those noises, you give them a treat. Then when the Fourth of July rolls around and they hear fireworks, they think of happy thoughts when they hear those sounds.” But what about today and this week?
You may have already purchased a pheromone collar; and/or a Thundershirt, a jacket that swaddles the dog with snug fitting Velcro fasteners. Or, you may have tried loosely crisscrossing an ace bandage around your dogs rib cage and shoulders, T-Touch style. Some of these work. Some work some of the time.
From the perspective of massage, something essential is missing from all of these. What’s missing? The comfort of your touch.
If your child was anxious and terrified, the first thing you’d want to do is to find some nonverbal way to comfort them. You let them know that they are not alone. You are there for support. You’d hold their hand. Offer a reassuring touch or grace stroke on their forehead. A hug. An arm around the shoulder.
If you knew of a special point on their body, like the acupressure point on the inside of the wrist that eases the symptoms of air sickness; a point that would reduce their anxiety, would you stimulate it? Of course you would.
Your dogs have special calming points on their bodies that you can easily locate, access, stimulate, or in this case, quiet/sedate. Every PetMassage bodywork protocol includes a sequence to engage these points. Points which function to enable dogs to cope with extremes. Extremes in physical issues; extremes in behavioral, psychological and emotional issues, like the panictriggered by the loud, abrupt, and unexpected report of fireworks.
This part of the PetMassage is something you can do today, during the first rumblings of firecrackers and Roman candles, to provide your dog some relief. This massage reduces the hysteria your dog is experiencing; and the helplessness that you are feeling to comfort him/her. Let’s take both of your levels of anxiety down to more manageable levels.
Vectoring is a series of simple hand holds that are applied on your dogs body.
These hand positions are a sequence of 6 combinations of slow hand placements. Each combination is applied gently yet securely. Each hold is held for 5 or more breath cycles. Slow inhales to the count of 5, hold for the count of 3, and slow exhales to the count of 7. The order follows the sequence of Traditional Chinese Medicine Meridians. So, the order your hands follow when they move from place to place on your dogs body is significant. If you apply the sequence in a different order, you will not harm your dog; the resulting effect will just not be as pure.
There’s a place for us… Take your dog to a safe place where he/she feels comfortable. A favorite spot, a chair, a blanket or a pad. A place with a friendly scent. Open a door or window so the popping and cracking sounds are still audible. As you sit with him/her, apply the following sequence of hand placements, breathing at the rate described above. You can play some soft music if that calms you; but you still want to hear the offending fireworks. Hold my hand and I’ll take you there…
The hand placements are
- One hand on the chest, the other over the withers, or spine just behind the neck. Breathe and relax.
- One hand on the spine just behind the neck, the other on the spine, just in front of the tail. Breathe and relax.
- Cup the bulge of the hip joints in both palms. Breathe and relax.
- Slide your hands forward to inside the armpits cupping the rib cage. Breathe and relax.
- One hand on the top line at the back of the rib cage, the other underneath, supporting the belly. Breathe and relax.
- Retain the hand where it is on the top line at the back of the rib cage, move the other hand to the chest. The breastbone cupped in your palm. Breathe and relax.
This is an excerpt from the new book Canine Massage for Passionate Dog People that describes Vectoring.
“As you hold each vector, visualize the waves of the ocean lapping up onto the beach washing the rocks with foam. Each wave retreats back into the water, leaving a shimmering lacy residue. In its wake, you see all the small rocks and shells repositioned in the sand. Then, caught by an inflow of the next oncoming wave, part of the water as well as the debris suspended in it, is carried back up onto the beach. The new waves push through the resistance and create new patterns.”
Repeat as necessary based on your dogs responses. If and when your dog begins to stress and pace again, repeat.
These gentle and intentional holds engage internal patterns in your dog’s nervous system. Patterns that provide strength, resilience, and calm.
Please let me know in your comments how helpful PetMassage Vectoring is in alleviating your dogs’ firework and thunderstorm anxiety.
Vectoring is described more fully with accompanying illustrations in PetMassage books and DVDs. Here are the links so you can order yours today.
We just got the following request for information.
Message: Good morning!
My name is —-, I am seventeen and am an upcoming junior in high school. I was wondering what you could tell me about your Canine Aquatic Massage program. Can anyone attend the workshop, and if so, do they have to have a background in animal massage therapy? Thank you so much.
Initially, I thought, no, you’re too young. You don’t have the life experience to appreciate how amazing it is to care for dogs. Most of our students have put in the time. They’ve learned the lessons and are training for new 2nd or 3rd careers in PetMassage, canine water massage, or they are expanding on the careers they have.
Then, I thought about all the enthusiastic young people that are training to be hair stylists, dog groomers, and dog trainers. No one is required to have previous experience in their fields.
So yes, if you have figured out that your passion is caring for dogs, and RVT and vet schools are not possibilities, learning dry canine massage and/or canine water massage is a perfectly rational choice. It’s a great choice. So, yes. Yes. Yes.
Before you attend the workshop make sure you have access to a heated indoor pool that accepts dogs. That’s where you will be working. That’s where you will help sport dogs with their conditioning, injured dogs in their rehabilitation, obese dogs to lose weight, and older dogs who suffer from arthritis and joint mobility issues.
It’s curious that I get this request now. I’ve been witnessing firsthand how overwhelmingly stressful the decision making process is for high school kids. It’s the biggest question for Juniors and seniors. What are you going to do when you graduate? Our extended family includes a this years grad, a junior, a sophomore, and 2 fresh persons. The decisions these kids are asked to make will determine the course of the rest of their lives. The kids are stressed. Their parents are stressed: they are dealing with their baby growing up and leaving the nest. They are also stressed by college tuition sticker shock! Even their family pets need more massages so they can cope with all the tension!
The kids have so many decisions to make. Do I go to a 4 year college, or 2? Which one is the best fit? What’s the culture there? Where do I want to live: close to home or as far away as reasonable? Can I stay connected to my friends? What should I study? What am I interested in? What do I like? What do I want to do -to be- in my forever career? How long will it take? What can my family afford? That if I learn a trade until I really decide? What can I be good at? What would make me happy? What would make me money? What can I do that will make a difference, that can create value? What can I do that helps dogs?
Training onsite at the PetMassage School is about a week. Then you practice, practice, practice. Especially if you want to massage dogs at Carnegie Hall.
PetMassage workshops include a feature that we don’t talk about that much. That is, post workshop counseling support. We are here to provide advice for as long as you are practicing canine massage professionally. For free.
The PetMassage WaterWork, Canine Water Massage Program includes onsite training for 6 days. The full program for certification includes home study courses in basic canine anatomy and dog handling in the context of massage. Here’s a link to the next workshop: https://petmassage.com/event/canine-aquatic-massage-petmassage-waterwork-programs-1-and-2-july-22-27-2019-kalamazoo-mi/
The PetMassage Foundation Level Program is 5 days of onsite training. It also includes home study courses and post workshop work. Here’s the link for the next workshop: https://petmassage.com/event/petmassage-foundation-level-program-september-19-23-2019/
The PetMassage Advanced Level Program is 5 days onsite, home study courses and post workshop documentations and videos. Here the link to the next workshop: https://petmassage.com/event/petmassage-advanced-level-program-august-12-16-2019/
I look forward to training you in your first career.
Have you heard of the Dunning-Kruger Effect?
Do you know what you don’t know? What if you could find out what you don’t know?
We can be confident about the things we have experienced with. Things we know. And there’s always another tier of experience just over the horizon that we are not sure how to get to. What do we have to do to move to that next plateau?
The Dunning-Kruger Effect states that people with the minimal amount of training and experience think they’re much better than they actually are. And they also realize that they’re not quite as good as people who actually are good. They know that “better” exists but they aren’t even sure what it takes to be “better.” The DK effect suggests that there is an experiential learning curve to this awareness.
There is a phrase “little do they know how little they know.” It describes my journey as a massage therapist.
Here’s my story. When I finished human massage school I thought I knew how to give a good and thorough medical massage; and I did, in a perfunctory robotic way. I performed all the skills in the right order, chapter and verse, just as I was taught. Each session was essentially the same. A client would come in with muscle or joint tightness that needed to be resolved. They’d be in different orders of magnitude and different places; and with the massage I had learned, they were summarily dispatched. I was efficient and as effective as I thought I could be (DK). I hadn’t yet realized that massage had the potential for spectacular complexity. There are multiple ways to access and treat. There are multiple depths to every trauma. It took continuing education for my massage to become a high value event rather than a routine exercise like the massage of other similarly trained therapists’.
One afternoon I was trading practice sessions with another massage therapist. I was lying face down. She undraped one side of my body and using her forearm did a long slow deep stroke beginning on my ankle and moving all the way to my shoulder. Prior to that I had always massaged the body in sections. The shoulders were a section, then the back, then the hips, the legs, the ankles, the feet. This stroke connected the entire length of my body. It was a unifying stroke! It opened my eyes. It expanded my awareness to new possibilities. I felt conflicted. I felt thrilled to experience something new. I felt embarrassed that I had considered the massage I’d been giving to be professional and complete. I realized firsthand (pun) on several levels, how little I knew!
I soon discovered there were many other techniques that I could use to augment-and often replace-the Swedish massage I had learned. The approaches and techniques I gathered were from cultures all over world. They came together beautifully, integrating into a world-class service/product.
I had thought that I knew as much as I needed. The more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know. There is more to know. And even more than that!
Soon, my clients were experiencing fresh, unexpected and unintended possibilities. Massage became transformative. This was the spiritual/life-affirming therapy I had dreamt of providing! Every session was exciting, fresh, fascinating, fulfilling, and for me, fun!
The DK application in the context of canine massage is that there are many people who feel that minimal training is all they need to perform at effective levels in massaging dogs. They believe that observing a session or two, watching a couple PetMassage YouTube videos, and reading one of my books is sufficient training for a professional level practice.
Au contraire, mon ami. Even the PetMassage Foundation Level Program is really just the beginning of your training. It’s very extensive. It covers everything you need to know to begin a career in canine massage. By definition it is the “foundation.” It’s the beginning; the fundamental content upon which you can then build your skills.
For those who’ve completed the Foundation Program and earned your Certification it is an accomplishment to be proud of. However, if you have completed the first level of training, there is the likelihood that perhaps you aren’t the expert you thought you might be. Like me, you thought you were good enough and knew as much as you needed. Now, like me, you realize there is more to canine massage than you know. This is where the Dunning-Kruger Effect comes in: With more experience, we get an inkling of what we don’t know. And that is a lot.
The next step is a big leap. Decide now to attend the PetMassage Advanced Level Program. This is the training program that reviews the fundamentals taught in the Foundation workshop and then expands your horizons; that shows you what you hadn’t known about, exists. It transports your level of canine massage to “better.”
This is the part where you tap your hands on your head, splay your fingers and as you pull them away, exclaim, “Whoa!”
Yes, there is some serious depth to the practice of canine massage. Please allow me the opportunity to:
- Be your instructor for your initial training in the PetMassage Foundation Level Program.https://petmassage.com/petmassage-workshops/petmassage-foundation-level-program/
- Introduce you to and teach you to apply a range of canine massage skills you may not realize exist in the PetMassage Advanced Level https://petmassage.com/petmassage-advanced-level-program/ and PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage Programs. https://petmassage.com/canine-aquatic-massage-petmassage-waterwork-programs-1-and-2/
- Continue to help you mature as your practice evolves.
There are more ways than you know to achieve the practice and confidence you need to help more dogs, more dog owners, and yourself. Let’s work together to expand your canine massage skill set.
The next PetMassage Advanced Level Workshop is August 12-16, 2019 https://petmassage.com/event/petmassage-advanced-level-program-august-12-16-2019/
The next PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage, PetMassage WaterWork™ Programs 1 and 2 – July 22-27, 2019 – Kalamazoo, MI https://petmassage.com/event/canine-aquatic-massage-petmassage-waterwork-programs-1-and-2-july-22-27-2019-kalamazoo-mi/
Please follow the [links] throughout the text or the following links to find out more about
- PetMassage Training https://petmassage.com/petmassage-workshops/petmassage-foundation-level-program/
- PetMassage Refresher Course https://petmassage.com/foundation-level-refresher/
- PetMassage Media https://petmassage.com/product-category/petmassage-media/
- PetMassage Franchise Schools https://petmassage.com/about/petmassage-franchise-schools/
Massaging dogs at the Humane Society “Bark in the Park” event.
The above picture was pulled from this video. https://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/IMG_4659.TRIM_.mov
Last weekend the PetMassage School had a booth at a “Bark in the Park” summer fundraiser/ 5K race-walk for the Toledo Area Humane Society. The event was held in a grassy field adjacent to an outdoor mall. The field was busy and crowded. There were hundreds of dogs and their people. Many of the dogs brought their entire human pack.
We were one of dozens of vendors. There were activities for the dogs, obstacles to climb, tail wagging contests, soaking pools, treats everywhere and lots of other dogs. There were games for the kids, raffles, and lots of enthusiastic volunteers wearing bright green t-shirts. The weather that morning was spectacular. Random puffs of clouds drifted under bright blue skies and we were occasionally graced with just a hint of breeze.
Anastasia and I set up our tent with the PetMassage Training and Research Institute signage and a massage table. While we were setting up, the line began forming of people wanting to get mini-massages for their dogs at $1/minute. In the 2 1/2 hours we were there, I massaged more than a dozen dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, young dogs, old dogs. The booth next to us had a large wading tub; so we had another variation: dry dogs and dogs with wet paws.
The challenge for the dogs was processing all the distractions around them. The crowds, the other dogs, the pools, the movement, the cumulative energy, the ear-splitting loudspeakers with non-stop music and even louder announcements. Everything tugged at the dogs’ senses for attention. They could smell the treats from the pet food vendors, aromas from the food trucks, the grass, the humans, the Porto-potties, the markings of other dogs. Party!!!
Most of the canine massage sessions were 5 minutes long. In that time I wanted to demonstrate how valuable massage is to the dogs’ people and for the dogs, provide a quick, quality experience.
I didn’t have time to walk each dog to observe gait and demeanor. It was such a blurred rush, I didn’t even ask if there were specific issues they wanted me to address. My assessments needed to be intuitive and spontaneous; and, in the rapture of the moment, they were. My hands were instinctively drawn to the exact areas they needed to go. Time and time again amazed pet parents asked, “How did you know to massage there? That’s where he/she was injured/had a problem/had surgery/was weak or compromised.”
My sensory gates were open. My stream of awareness, flowing. Every dog shipped their oars, dipped their paws into their stream of life force, and observed the ripples as they drifted along. It was a canine massage portage party!!!
A boxer’s fascia had a threadiness along one side of his spine, that firmed. A tripod dog had muscles along the scapula that were bunched up from a lifetime of compensation, that softened. He’ d been injured in an auto accident when he was a puppy and one of his hind limbs had to be amputated. A little Shiba had an unusual hair pattern down the back of one of his forelegs, that fell back into balance.
There was a sweet Bernese Mountain Dog who as soon as we started, eased into spontaneous stillness. He stood, head down, savoring each and every touch. He was massive. It took two of us to hoist him onto the table.
A yellow lab made the whole crowd of onlookers laugh. After being assisted back onto the ground after her session, she kept jumping back up onto the table for more, more, more.
One memorable dog was the little tan puppy who was so distracted he reminded me of myself when I was little and taken to the circus (to enjoy-not drop off). Between all the distractions, in discreet moments, he paused, stared straight ahead, and accepted our shared connection. Something or someone moved and our connection splintered. His attention was diverted and he watched or smelled or thought about whatever had drawn him in. I could feel his energy coming and going in my hands. Leaving, pausing, considering, returning, connecting, and flitting away. I cannot judge. He had the attention span of a butterfly; and I went with him.
Ah, these shared moments in his young life were precious. With massage, I was able to facilitate him to get the most value of these moments. Together, we planted seeds. Created memories. The tiny course corrections he made in these moments will influence the rest of his life.
There, in the Bark in the Park, the puppy discovered catches of moments beyond time and space. Presence and stillness. Exquisite clarity. I felt it. His people felt it. And so did all the people around, watching and happily witnessing for him.
I encourage you to participate in your local dog events. Be a vendor. It’s always a rewarding experience for you, for dogs, and for their people. The only way people are going to recognize the value and accessibility of PetMassage is for you to show them. Put yourself out there and tell them, show them, and extoll the benefits. Support your local community. Give your community the opportunity to support you.
Want more ideas for marketing your canine massage business? Here’s the link [ https://petmassage.com/store/petmassage-creating-marketing-animal-massage-business-book/ ] to the book, “Creating and Marketing Your Canine Massage Business”