Massage and TTouch (Tellington Touch)
Renowned inspirational speaker and author Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D, had this to say about touch: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Dogs are enablers for all of these simple, compassionate acts that make such a difference in our lives. For some, the unconditional love received from a dog is what can get us through the day. The connection we establish and maintain with our dogs through touch is magical and miraculous.
The impulsive act of petting a dog can be easily converted to a therapeutic massage by becoming more focused on where and how you are touching your dog.
Channeled into therapeutic massage and Tellington Touch (TTouch), touch is something we can give back to our dogs that helps them (and us) live with less pain and more joy.
The difference between simply petting your dog and giving him a therapeutic massage is almost as slight as the focus you bring to the act. The way you pet your dog conveys many things to him, from a friendly tap to let him know he's done something you like to a caressing of his head or face to let him know how much you love him. Dogs are super-sensitive to our body language, and they sense what emotions we may be bringing to them before we even make contact with them.
The intention of massage is to knead, rub, or pat the body in order to stimulate circulation. Increased circulation means better blood flow, which leads to the release of stress, improved breathing, and a general feeling of well-being. Massage therapy has been known to reduce anxiety levels of students taking exams, assist cancer patients with the effects of their treatments, lessen depression in those who are grief-stricken, promote weight gain in malnourished infants, and much more. For athletes, the benefits of increased circulation translate to better-functioning joints and muscles and improved performance.
Massage can benefit dogs in as many ways. It can reduce fear and anxiety, help the body fight off disease, improve physical performance, and enhance bonding. Consider massage as a treatment for a dog who is especially athletic if you notice that he's sore, for a senior dog whose circulation could be boosted by it, or for a sensitive dog who needs to relax. There are many books and even some DVDs that can teach you about massage tech-niques that benefit dogs.
Not long ago, a competitive rider and horse trainer named Linda Tellington-Jones wanted to explore the mind-body connection through touch as a way to work with her horses' behaviors. Basing her work on techniques developed by Moshe Feldenkrais for humans, Tellington-Jones started using circular touching motions to actually interrupt unacceptable behaviors so that the desired behavior patterns could emerge. Her system has become known around the world as TTouch, and it has revolutionized how people relate to their pets. TTouch improves relationships between dog and human, resolves behavior problems, and even assists in healing physical problems.
Tellington-Jones's TTouch method is beneficial for dogs with problems ranging from barking and chewing to pulling on the leash, jumping up, resistance to grooming, car sickness, and the effects of aging. Learn more at www.ttouch.com.