Covid19 update

By Jonathan Rudinger | 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 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 Jonathan Rudinger | 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


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

— Canine Hindlimb –Anatomy & Physiology 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 .  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.

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 canine massage school, provides massage to dogs and therapeutic MFR, Myo-Fascial Release for people.

Find hundreds of Jonathan’s weekly blogs cached at

I take excellent care of myself and ask for help when I need it.

By Anastasia Rudinger | March 16, 2020 |

Your next career is helping animals.

By Jonathan Rudinger | March 10, 2020 |

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… 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.