The prices on all PetMassage Children’s Canine Massage materials have been slashed.
We have boxes and boxes of brand new PetMassage produced books, DVDs and CDs. We need the space that we’ve been allocating in our PetMassage School to the PetMassage for Kids Program. We are preparing to install the new Canine Aquatic Massage pool.
Here’s your opportunity to load up for birthdays, holidays, and scout programs. If you are a formally trained educator or a by-necessity homeschool learning coach, we have curriculum for group after school activities and summer camp courses. Official PetMassage patches that kids can be rewarded for taking the workshop are also marked down.
Here is a list of how much they used to cost and what they are now. Links provided will give you in depth descriptions.
- Book: Dogs Kids PetMassage / Dog Massage for Kids. Was $16.95 Now only $1.99 + shipping
- DVD PetMassage: A Kids Guide to Massaging Dogs. Was $17.95. Now only $1.99 + shipping
- PetMassage Doggie Songs for Kids. Was $12.95. Now only $1.99 + shipping
- 4-part set includes the book, DVD, CD and patch. Was $45.00, Now only $ 5.99 + shipping
- After school/camp curricula. Was $220, now only $49.99 + shipping
- GSA -Girl Scouts of America’s Program for Skills Merit Patch. Was $75.00, Now only $19.99 + shipping
- Patches: Official PetMassage logo. Was $5.00, Now only $1.99 + shipping
Kids need to learn PetMassage. It’s fun for them and great for their dogs. They learn about massage, to become aware of their surroundings, to be responsible, and animal care.
Several years ago Anastasia and I attended an after school program convention in New Orleans. Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State and retired 4-star General was the impressive keynote speaker. He spoke about the power and value of the ancillary courses in his own early education growing up in New York, and how they shaped his extraordinary career. The trade show part of the conference was held in a massive conference hall. Hundreds of vendors. Everywhere one looked there was STEM. Stems everywhere, but few flowers. Math, science, reading, robotics, and computers. Nowhere, except in the little 10×10 booth in the middle of one of the rows in the back half of the hall, could you find something for kids and their pet dogs. What can be more wholesome, more natural, more essential in children’s education? We proffered PetMassage lessons in pet dog handling and care.
It was a remarkable experience. While some vendors sat waiting for someone to talk to, our little booth space was continuously jam packed with people. They just wanted to be in our energy. I can understand.
One of the good things we’ve learned during the pandemic is that dog owners are maturing in their appreciation of their dogs. Especially their older, more vulnerable dogs. They are demonstrating by their actions that they know how valuable their dogs are to them and their families. They celebrate them. Their companionship. Their emotional support. Their devotion. Their entertainment value. Their stability.
They are becoming more proactive in their dogs’ care and nurturing. They are seeking long term health and wellness maintenance; short term symptomatic relief.
They are learning that massages are investments that have proven to enhance their precious darlings’ overall quality of life. They are turning to massage to attend to their dogs’ chronic conditions, such as arthritis, obesity and instability; and arrange months or years of supportive hospice care.
I feel privileged to be requested to be part of the team that supports and honors these dogs.
Senior dogs are now a large part of my PetMassage practice. Each session takes on the flavor of an old time tent revival healing. The owners, elated to tears, witness the lame walk, the faltering steady, the dazed and confused realize clarity, the hurting, breath comfortably, and the still tails wag!
I had written “How to Massage the Senior Dog” a couple of years ago to encourage senior dog massage and offer instruction on it. With this newly expanded enthusiasm in taking care of these dogs I took another look at it and quickly realized it could be improved. In the name of space and brevity, I’d left out some important things. So it’s now revised. I changed the paper, the margins, justification, and font. It’s easier to read. I attenuated the order; so it’s easier to follow. And I added fresh content that I’m confident will give you more insight for your massage with your geriatric dogs. It’s really a new title.
This instruction is based on my 30 years of experience as a canine massage practitioner and instructor at the PetMassage Training and Research Institute in Toledo Ohio.
The new Massage for the Senior Dog describes senior dogs, their needs at their mature stage of life, and instruction for how to address those needs with the skills of massage therapy.
More specifically, in this book you’ll learn about variations in gait, behaviors, and aspects about the aging canine body that you must know to provide an effective massage. You’ll learn about the psychosocial needs of dogs, their pack mentality, canine body language, and instinctual behaviors. There’s a style of safe animal handling that we use during the massage which is taught in PetMassage hands-on workshops. You’ll be introduced to that too.
This book describes each massage skill and its application, in detail, with photographs, captions, and instructions for correct body and breath mechanics. Simple skills flow and morph into more complex skills. And it all comes together with a full massage sequence tailored to the senior dog.
If you are already a canine massage practitioner, we have a new PetMassage home study course that you can take as continuing education. Massage for the Senior Dog is one of the texts for the course Senior Dog Massage for the Canine Massage Practitioner.
Each dog I massage offers new insights and new approaches. Join me as we learn and grow our canine massage practices. It’s always fresh, always engrossing, and in all ways life enhancing.
Full Title: Muscular Anatomy and Effects of Positional Release on the Pelvic Girdle
Author: Ashley Peter
Date of Publication: August 15, 2020
Research Paper Text:
The pelvic girdle is a bony structure that serves many functions. It is made up of two hip bones or os coxae, which are composed of the ilium, ischium, pubis, and acetabular bones. The girdle shape encircles and protects the organs contained within the pelvis. It connects the hind limbs to the back by using a multitude of ligaments and muscles. The muscles also help to support the dog’s movement, and therefore, require an abundance of blood supply and nerve innervations. The muscles covering the pelvis are easily manipulated, and the positional release method is highly effective yet very gentle. To understand the effects of positional release on the pelvic girdle more easily, it is important to comprehend how far the ligaments, fascia, and muscles reach within the body and how positional release works.
There are five major ligaments that attach to the pelvis: The ventral sacroiliac ligament runs between the ilium and sacrum, the dorsal sacroiliac ligament runs from the iliac spine to the sacrum, the sacrotuberous ligament runs from the sacrum to the ischial tuberosity, the transverse acetabular ligament is connected to the acetabulum, and the ligament of the head of the femur runs to the acetabular fossa and blends with the transverse acetabular ligament (Hermanson, de Lahunta, & Evans 2020). These ligaments help to keep the pelvis attached to the sacrum and femurs.
The thoracolumbar fascia covers an exceptionally large area of the body. It begins at the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, fuses with itself at the linea alba, spreads to the sternum and costal cartilages, and attaches to the ilium; This fascia also gives rise to the latissimus dorsi, the internal abdominal oblique, external abdominal oblique, the serratus dorsalis caudalis, splenius and serratus dorsalis cranialis, and the transverse abdominis (Hermanson et al, 2020). This fascia that attaches to the ilium, can affect the back, the abdominals, breathing, and even the neck by attaching to the deep cervical fascia.
There are over 20 muscles that arise from or near the pelvic girdle. There are five superficial muscles that are easily palpable and most relevant to the massage practitioner.
Nerve innervations for theses muscles include the dorsal branches of the thoracic and lumbar nerves, gluteus caudalis, gluteus cranialis, ischiadicus, and ramus muscularis proximalis of the of the nerve tibialis (Hermanson et al, 2020). All blood supply for the pelvic girdle stems from the aorta.
Left photo: Back is extended, hips extended, stifles extended, tarsals extended. Right photo: Back and abdominals relaxed, hips flexed, stifles flexed, and tarsals flexed. Both photos: Heavy breathing.
Positional release helps the dog to create a slight course correction in patterns of thinking and moving; the method assists the dog to unwind from physical, emotional, and behavioral holding patterns (PetMassage for Dogs, Foundational Workshop Manual, 2020). To use positional release, ground yourself and place both hands on the body of the dog. The hand closer to his or her body is gently holding the area of the dog, the other hand is doing more of the “work”. Gather the earth’s chi and envision a ball of energy between both hands. Feel for your working hand to be pulled in a direction, and very slightly move in that direction. This movement should not be easily seen or noticed. When you feel a release, follow the movement. Then feel for the follow through and move into that position. It is important to understand that this movement does not just affect the tissue between where your two hands are located. Within 24 hours, the movement will circulate throughout the entire body of the dog.
A canine massage practitioner should not claim to heal or treat any specific disease. If the dog chooses to unwind with the help of positional release, the effects may be noticed in the slightest of ways. The dog may have a muscle twitch during the follow on, a signal that a release was stimulated. The practitioner may experience a pain in an area of their body that suddenly goes away. The muscles in the hips may charge from being firm and rigid to soft and flexible as they relax. A limp while the dog is walking may not be as noticeable. The dog’s digestive tract may have been stimulated to excrete a buildup of gas. The dog may be more likely to return to old patterns of behavior such as going up stairs or jumping onto the couch or bed. Remember that positional release can affect emotional and behavioral holding patterns as well, relaxation or playfulness after the massage may be another effect.
Hermanson, J.W., de Lahunta, A., Evans H.E. (2020). Miller and Evan’s anatomy of the dog. (5th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.
Rudinger, J. (2020). PetMassage for Dogs, Foundation Workshop Manual. Toledo, Ohio: PetMassage, Ltd.
Zidonis, N., Snow, A. (2018). Canine acupoint energetics & landmark anatomy. Castle Pines, Colorado: Tallgrass publishers, LLC.
During a recent dinner with friends, I heard the term “sacred geometry.” It was spoken in reverence. Sotto voce. So it got my attention. As soon as I had an opportunity I looked it up. I learned that sacred geometry ascribes symbolic and sacred meanings to certain geometric shapes and certain geometric proportions. It is associated with the belief that there is a spiritual constant, a universal mean, a geometer of the world.
It’s essentially repeated patterns found in nature that we ascribe meaning or relationship to.
There are recognizable repeated patterns everywhere we look. There are triangles, rectangles, and hexagons. Circles. The concentric circles like the ones that raindrops make when they hit the surface of water. Circles with designs such as the yin yang symbol. These images move us. They connect with us at the heart level.
One of the wonders of nature is the Fibonacci spiral. In geometry, it’s the golden spiral; a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is φ, the golden ratio. The Phi symbol is the circle bisected by a staff. Interesting.
Spiral patterns are repeated throughout nature. From the tiniest of nautilus shells to massive galaxies with giant tendrils of life spiraling out from their cores, extending for millions of light years.
The designs in the shells of sea creatures begin tiny and young, and also spiral out into time, space, and life.
Some of the most repeated designs are reflected in our numbers. 1, the straight vertical line, is a powerful sacred geometric figure. Think of a single tree, the stem of the flower, a cactus, the lone cowboy, the staff of the crucifix, the stem of the ankh, the last piece of asparagus on your plate.
The number seven, an angled one with a top line, is considered a mystically powerful number. Whether it’s 7 as we write it, or seven backwards, it is a symbol used in every written language. Seven is seen by many cultures as the perfect number that holds creation and the universe together. Religious or mythological cosmology refers to seven heavens, seven chakras, seven planes of creation, the seventh son of the seventh son.
It’s interesting to note that the 7 is the first 2 strokes of the Reiki power symbol Cho Ku Rei. To complete the Japanese pictograph, continue from the bottom of the seven, drawing a large semi circle that flows up and around just underneath the top cross bar and spirals inward, to the core. Like the galaxy.
The word Reiki is derived from two Japanese words: rei and ki. Rei means “higher power” or “spiritual power.” Ki means “energy.” Put together, reiki can be loosely translated as “spiritual life force energy.” Cho ku rei, is used to increase or decrease power (depending on the direction in which it is drawn). Its intention is the light switch, representing its ability to illuminate or enlighten spiritually. Its identifying symbol is a coil, which reiki practitioners believe is the regulator of qi, expanding and contracting as the energy flows throughout the body. Power comes in different forms with Cho ku rei. It may be used as a catalyst for physical healing, cleansing, or purification. It may also be used to focus one’s attention.
I’m not a Reiki practitioner, yet to me, the potential in this power symbol is obvious.
I see the straight lines of the 7 as base lines, like the x and y axes on a graph. The spirals are not confined to a two dimensional surface; they are either spiraling down, penetrating through the paper or the body fascia, or out as a releasing tsubo, a vortex. The energy you are intending, your energetic intention, moves, cycling in and down, or withdrawing out and back up.
During a recent canine massage my hands were over a dense area that was not spontaneously responding to my stroking, compression, and myofascial positional release. I wondered what would happen if I imagined my fingers projected energy through the pattern of Cho ku rei.
I held my fingers still, maintaining constant pressure and visualized the pattern. A seven and 3 cycles spiraling inward.
My imagination slid across the top line of the seven, turned, and swept down to the bottom. I paused. The directions that patterns move are essential aspects of their sacred geometry-ness.and swirled up to just below the horizontal line.
I was using my right hand, so my natural tendency was to move in the rightward direction, counterclockwise, from the bottom of the 7. I continued coiling inward, until after 3 roundabouts, I was in the core.
The pressure remained constant yet I sensed the subtlest of movements in my fingertips. The energy projected from my fingers extended deeper and deeper and deeper into the dog’s neuromuscular fabric.
Something shifted. It was deep within the tissues. Whatever was in there that needed adjusting tightened and released.
As I withdrew, my fingertips tingled clockwise. So I reversed the direction and followed it out. I smiled as I reflexively murmured “lefty-loosey, righty-tighty”.
Here was a repeatable pattern I could follow to flow in, connect and influence, and flow out.
- With the 2 strokes of the 7, I aligned my energy with the tight resistant area within the dog.
- Spiraling in, the energies of the dog and I connect and wind further into the tightness.
- Reversing the spiral, the resistance is loosened and pulled (to safety) free.
This is very similar the “pain drain” technique of Healing Touch.
You are the geometer. Imagine the sacred geometry patterns and make them part of your practice. They will transport your intentions and help your PetMassage be even more powerful.
Japanese Ink Painting
I had an intriguing lesson last weekend. I attended a short workshop on Sumi-e painting. I rediscovered and reclaimed a freedom that I had nearly forgotten.
I was so eager to take this class. This was something that I’d wanted to learn since my age was still in single digits. I knew I would take to it as I had to Tai chi, when I’d finally gotten the opportunity to take that class 25 years ago. I’ve been playing Tai chi ever since and I’ve seen how profoundly it has reshaped my life and work.
Sumi-e is a 2000 year-old art form of Japanese brush painting which is spiritually rooted in Zen Buddhism. Sumi-e’s earliest practitioners were highly disciplined monks trained in the art of concentration, clarity, and simplicity. These early Zen Masters adhered to a rigorous schedule of meditation in preparation for painting. Entering a deep contemplative state was at the core of their creative process. The rituals of preparing the inkstone, grinding the Sumi ink, loading the brush (fude), culminated in releasing the brush stroke on rice paper or silk scroll. Mastering the nuances of the black sumi ink required consummate skill.
Throughout its long and venerable history, Sumi-e has been held in high esteem and became a powerful way to inculcate the values of Bushido, the Samurai Code of Conduct. For the swordsman, composure on the brink of battle had its artistic parallel in the calm and tranquility essential before the fearless release of a brush stroke. www.Drue.net
Workshop Introduction and Materials
After a short historical introduction we were informed that we would not be learning the small brush skills I thought were the basics. I was a little disappointed to find out we were not learning to paint bamboo, rocks, herron, carp, waves, and torturously romantic scraggy cliffs.
The brushes we used were massive. Their handles were of horn with brass fittings. So cool! The bristles were either of goat hair, horse hair, or rooster tail feathers. Oh, yeah! We didn’t have time to grind our special ink on ink stones so the ink we were provided was prepackaged; poured for us into plastic containers. We painted on art store watercolor paper. Newsprint would have worked, too.
We were instructed not to have any preconceived plans for the design. So much for my rocky cliffs in the mist. We were to approach our paper with no intention other than releasing energy. The Sumi-e magic would only happen with no-mind. We’d simply allow the ink to interact with the paper. Easier said than done.
Moving From Your Source
The Sumi-e is a statement. It’s an exercise in allowing intuition to surface: moving from the hara, your energetic center, using your shoulders and arms to move the brush, balancing black and white, negative and positive, full and empty, male and female, solid and space.
It’s All About That Bass
A lot like abstract expressionism, it is all about the energy and the rhythm of the one or two strokes. That which is created is simply a documentation of what we are experiencing this moment, with this stroke. Each effort proves you are here; that you are aware of your here-ness.
After a couple of self-conscious efforts, I enter into the Sumi-e zone. There is no judgement. There is neither good nor bad. Neither right or wrong; correct or incorrect. Whether one is better than another is wholly in the eye of the observer. Some are more aesthetically pleasing; some, more challenging. Some were easy to love; some were unsettling. Observing each effort engages ancient emotional reflexes.
Intellectualizing Gets In The Way
In fact, when you “try,” you leave the meditative, contemplative zone. If you attempt to force a design, it doesn’t work. It’s like having a dream and then attempting to recreate it in your waking state. Having it was a natural phenomenon. It was purely experiential. Unadulterated. Recreating it is an intellectual exercise. Identifying it, you are separating from it; approaching it from the outside. Reconstruction from bits and fragments makes something essentially false. It is contrived and synthetic.
Sumi-e PetMassage At First Blush
During a PetMassage I have enough trained muscle memory to trust that my hands will go where they need to go and be present enough there so they can be guided to do what they need to do. While I’m there though, I open myself to the uncontrolled freedom of the Sumi-e. My no-mind expression of energy plays with the natural flow of the dog. The two are the same no-culture. They share the same no-language so “work” gets yes-done.
The Courage Of Touch
In practice, my first touch connection with the dog is always a bit precarious. Its like approaching a blank sheet of paper. So many options. So much potential for grace, restoration – and missing the proverbial boat. The first touch takes courage. It is a commitment. It’s the first stone you are laying in the foundation of your Practitioner-client relationship. It is the irreversible touch of your palm to dog; your brush to paper.
We Get Engaged and Face EAST
Then, when you are in the zone, the creative process takes over and movements take on an expression and journey of their own. PetMassage is a process in which we engage, witness and facilitate. My energy mixes with the energy of the dog. And in our mindless interaction, splashing about in the Etheric Akashic Surf and Turf, we are both transformed.
Last week I was massaging a sweet senior dog. I could not walk her during her PetMassage assessment because her hind legs kept crossing and getting tangled beneath her. She was unable to stand unassisted. Her eyes, still and dull, stared unfocusingly into space. Here and not here, she was Stuck in a dispirited, uninspiring fog.
This massage needed to be superb. My job was to guide her from the pall she was experiencing to comfort and clarity. No pressure.
I picked her up and positioned her on the massage table.
She lowered her chin to her paws, and began to relax. Her breathing pattern shifted; it was less labored. She was already beginning to process her massage. She is a regular client so she knows, and can anticipate, how much a massage will help her.
I rested my hands on her top line, one palm on her withers and the other on her lumbar spine. I touched the tip of my tongue to the roof of my mouth, closed my eyes, exhaled through my nose, and opened myself to my intuitive sources. Then I paused and waited for inspiration. Nothing.
I centered myself, adjusting my feet in my shoes until they felt solidly grounded, and observed my breath. My lungs filled and emptied. Filled and emptied. My chest rose and fell. Rose and fell. Still, nothing.
I was doing everything I could think of to open my awareness. I felt my pulse throb in my chest and temples. My heart beat was rapid. I could visualize my irises dilating and contracting with each beat. Then with intention, it slowed. Lub dub. Lub dub. Luuub duuub. Luuub duuub. Hello intuition. Anybody home?
I was trying too hard.
I was Bullwinkle expecting to pull a rabbit out of my hat for my little flying squirrel buddy. And I really didn’t know what to look for.
BTW, it was seldom a rabbit that came out. “Oops. Wrong hat.” Or, “I didn’t know my own strength.”
With patience, messages and directions do come. While I waited, I followed one of the beginner routines that beginner students learn in workshops. Everything in these canine massages serves to enhance the body’s circulation, flexibility, and proprioception.
I began with the vectoring to reintroduce our subliminal bodies. Then, using slow purposeful assessment strokes, I simply observed. Her coat was coarse, oily, and the skin beneath it, taut and non-responsive. No areas expressed as warmer or cooler. Her vitality was flat, flaccid. She had lost a lot of muscle mass so my fingers traced over the protruding contours of her skull, her spine, her pelvis and her hips. I felt her generalized stiffness and lethargy. I sensed her pervasive fatigue, despair, and apprehension. I felt emotionally depleted.
Witnessing is a powerful tool, and I knew that there was more that I could offer. As the observer, I was participating, but only partially. As my hand slid off her spine onto the tail, I felt the familiar PetMassage connection.
I grasped the upper tail, slightly squeezing its top 4 or 5 vertebra, and pulled them the 1/2 inch away from the buttocks into mild sustained traction. Here was the sign I’d been waiting for. My fingers pulsed.
I softened the tension, maintaining the tail’s position at the same height and angle. The tail-set tensed, softened, and sighed. A surge of energy flowed through my hands and into her hips and legs. I was an iDog charging station!
It was as if I were holding a hose, feeling the vibration of the water sputtering and gushing within it. Myofascial Positional Release. This was the theme, the motivation, and the essence of her massage as we reactivated all over her body.
When we were complete, I gently placed the dog on the floor. She shook, maintaining her balance. (That in itself was huge.) with bright eyes she looked around, and purposely strode off to investigate a hallway and the room where bipeds (people) get massage. Her focus was back. Her curiosity was back. Her steadiness at the walk was, while not perfect, demonstrably better.
Hey Rocky, did you see what we pulled out of this hat? Whatever it is, for this dog in this moment, it’s surely superb!
If you appreciate what you read here, please favor me by Sharing it and my other blogs with all your friends, groups, and networks. Help me spread the word. This is important work. Canine massage can enhance the lives of every dog, every dog’s owner, and every canine care provider. Especially at this moment, when the world craves beauty, promote the goodness, peace and love of canine massage. Thank you. -Jonathan