The ebb and flow of waves inspire canine massage innovations.

Waves tracing patterns in the sand: what could be more inspirational! There’s an organic sensibility to water and wind flowing along a sandy shore. It aligns perfectly with the nonverbal flow of canine massage.

Whenever I stroll along a beach I pause, and empathically experience the ebbs and flows of encroaching waves. Mysterious ancient salty memories emerge from the deep and complete their migrations on the shore.

I watch. I close my eyes and listen. The breeze whips at my clothing. I smell the vast sea. I open my hands and breathe into the grand immensity. I’m sure that there are messages there. If only I could decode them.

Sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away … has all the elements of great political drama. There’s encroachment, control, and retreat.

All the phases of life are represented: inception, youth, maturity, old age, and death; each with their naïveté, hubris, wisdom, despair, and rebirth. The mundane and the extraordinary; it’s all there in the water.

And there’s always another wave. Always hope vested in the next oncoming wave. Hope that it revises, supersedes, and improves everything that has come before.

I scheduled 2 massages, back to back. First with the owner, then his dog. While applying Myofascial Release to my human client’s back, I imagined I was flowing with the movements of waves on a sandy beach.

My hands became part of each ebb and flow. They drifted up, paused, held the skin they covered, and receded. In my mind, they left silhouettes of lacy sea foam. Tiny bubbles expand, thin to translucent, and disintegrate. They de-gas and discharge their contents: memories that they’ve collected and have been carrying for millennia.

Another wave rolls over them, flowing high up onto the sand. It too pauses, does what it needs to do, eviscerates its bubbles, and recedes.

Each wave unloads its cargo and retreats, marking the sand with a residual and very individual impression. Each wave has been there!

The movement is:

  • Touch
  • Slide forward
  • Hold, slowly releasing pressure
  • Tap with your fingertips to pop the energetic bubbles
  • While you tap, the next wave rolls over your wrists
  • Allow it to carry your hands with it
  • Repeat the sequence

I can never be sure what my clients are feeling. I trust that the massage form I’m applying is the right one for him in this moment. These were my thoughts when he sighed, and exclaimed “My pain just disappeared. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” So I did.

When his massage was complete, he was asleep; and I felt radiant! Invigorated! It was as if I had just spent an hour at the shore. I skipped to the canine massage room where his dog was waiting.

I soon found myself flowing with “the wave” again. I slid my hands into the dog’s undercoat over his lumbar region and raked up his spine to his shoulderblades. There, I held, and slowly releasing the pressure, tapped the skin with my fingertips.

The next wave dragged my hands back toward me. I lifted them as they moved, smoothing the surface hair with my palms. I felt the tug, and my fingers dove back into the undercoat and flowed back toward the shoulders. They again paused, released, tapped, and receded.

Slide, hold, release, tap, retreat. Slide, hold, release, tap, retreat. It has a pleasant rhythm. Up, pause, tap, and back. Under, over, and through.

I checked in on my monitors.

  • How is the dog responding? He’s calm.
  • How does it feel in my body? Warm and comfortable.
  • Does it feel right? Absolutely.

This dog normally maintains a continuous anxious pant. He swallowed, closed his mouth, rested his chin on his paws, and released a great sigh. He expressed his contentment. His body said “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” So I did.

When you try out, or repeat a new sequence, consciously observe everything that’s happening.

  1. How is the dog responding?
  2. How does that make you feel?
  3. Do you feel more present?
  4. Has your eyesight become clearer and sharper?
  5. Is your heart rate slower?
  6. Does your saliva taste sweet?

These are the keys to understanding how well your canine massage is working; and how your PetMassage practice is evolving.

Learn professional level canine massage in our Programs: Foundation, Advanced, and Canine Aquatic Massage. As your practice deepens, we’ll continue to mentor you with encouragement, advice, and the support you need to create a successful career.

As you can tell, PetMassage skills are rooted in traditional massage and embellished with a developed sense of intuition and self-trust.

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