What do Positional Releases feel like?
During positional release, we hold the dog’s body -in a position- and observe how in the tissues under our hands release tension. We describe these releases as shifts in the fascia. The movements can be obvious, like an inflated balloon releasing air, or very subtle, like your mood change when the sun breaks through dispersing clouds.
We can usually feel physical softening or unraveling sensations beneath the coat, within the muscles. Sometimes, the movements are so subtle we cannot feel anything. So we train ourselves to sense sensations that we can identify; one of them is the shifts in our own body awareness. When we can identify that these sensations are happening, that’s enough to signal that resolutions of restrictions are occurring in the dog’s physical body.
In canine massage, our connection, the connection between Practitioner and dog is so profound, so strong, so intimately personal, that whatever happens in either of us affects, and is experienced by, both of us.
The releases are not -cannot be- exactly the same. If the dog feels a release in her hip, or tail, or gut, or a resolution of a restrictive memory, we cannot experience the identical sensation. That’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to massage a dog with worms and on the way home, need to butt scoot boogie across the sidewalk.
The physiology of our hips are different. We don’t have tails. Our guts have uniquely different microbiomes and have developed specialized processes for digestion. And, since we see our worlds through different light spectra and perceive the world through different sets of filters, we cannot share like-minded memories.
We can sense when changes are happening in the dog. We can know something is happening by noticing shifts, like the deflating balloon and the caress of sunshine, in our own awareness.
This is certainly not scientific. It’s more of an art. For thousands of years Healthcare was as much Art as science. PetMassage often straddles the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical. We can tell that something is happening. It is like noticing that we’ve lapsed into and out of a meditative state while playing or listening to music.
We can describe and record what we feel while massaging specific sites on the dog’s body. However, everything in the body is interconnected through a complex matrix of fascia connective tissue, so we cannot know what the release is actually resolving, or what its source is. The release could be physical. It could be mental/emotional. It could be environmental. It could be a result of shared synergy. Your yin may be the exact complement to balance the dogs yang. We cannot know for sure. Yet, that something releases, is obvious and true.
How can we claim this? How can we be certain that our experiences are more than caprices of our imaginations? The dogs tell us.
Our sensations are consistently validated by the associated movements of the dogs. Here are examples of canine body talk that say “I just moved into a more comfortable place.” They turn toward us, look up at us and blink, they soften or gently close their eyes, they drool, drip from their nose, stretch, yawn, lick, sigh, quiver, shake, quietly pass a whfffffph of gas, and lean into us (join up).
I’d like you to feel what that shift feels like. Sit quietly at your table with your favorite mug of warm beverage. Have a few other objects strewn across the table. In this exercise we will see that you can identify shifts in your awareness and emotional state.
Look at your coffee mug. Notice that when the mug is in focus, everything except the mug is out of focus. Now expand your vision and look at the entire table. You can see everything clearly. Then as you scan the table, when each object moves into focus, everything else fades, softens, and blurs.
Had you noticed before that your vision was so like tapping the focus feature on your camera screen? Your eyes move. Your pupils dilate. Your focus adjusts. There are no other moving parts. Yet it’s an experiential teeter totter.
The shifts you experience may not be palpate-able yet they are palpable. As you express interest in what you see, your heart rate slightly increases. Blood flow is redirected to the part of your brain that’s processing the information. With each redirection of your attention, your body almost imperceptibly adjusts its metabolic rate. Almost. If you know what to observe, you can feel it.
Train yourself to strengthen your awareness muscles. For becoming more adept at feeling the more obvious movements. Practice by first finding your pulse on your wrist and the back of your knee. Then find your dog’s pulse in her groin, behind her stifle, and on the top of her paw. Notice their rates and patterns.
For the subtle cues, practice glancing around the room. Track what it feels like when you adjust your vision from wide angle to focused and back.
There is an eye strengthening exercise of holding your thumb out in front of you and shifting your focus back and forth from your thumbnail to the horizon or wall behind it. That’s not what we’re doing here. We are tracking how our body feels when shift happens.
The dog’s body is constantly in flux. When you cannot palpate any movement, it is still there. You are simply not observing in the right way and in the right place. Look within.
The more you notice what you are experiencing, the more you can notice in PetMassage Positional Release. When you sense the learned feeling of what you feel when your awareness shifts, you can track the imperceptible positional releases happening in the dog.