What is massage therapy?
As a form of rehabilitation, massage therapy is the application of specific hand movements on a patient to improve muscle and joint function by relieving tension, spasm, or other restrictions to proper motion. It may be used for warm-up purposes, for relaxing or stimulating muscles in order to prevent injury, or for rehabilitation of a patient after an injury has occurred. Massage is also used to compensate for impaired circulation by augmenting the normal flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. Finally, massage is used to stimulate the function of various internal organs through reflexively linked and externally located portals of access, often termed trigger points and/or acupressure points.
What is the history of massage therapy in veterinary medicine?
While the desire to touch animals is probably one of the first things we are aware of from the time we are newborn, massage therapy itself has been relatively recently adopted as a therapeutic modality by veterinary medicine, and borrows heavily from techniques used in human massage therapy. A few of the more common techniques include trigger-point massage, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, friction massage, and passive range of motion therapy.
What conditions are most often treated with massage therapy?
Both acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries may respond to massage therapy, especially as a complement to other forms of specific treatment. Acupressure can be used as an adjunct therapy for any condition. When used for rehabilitation, the patient's treatment must have been preceded by a veterinary examination and complete diagnosis, including assessment of any other health concerns.
How can my companion animal benefit from massage therapy?
"When performed as part of a comprehensive treatment package, massage therapy may minimize injuries and enhance the patient's recovery speed."
When performed as part of a comprehensive treatment package, massage therapy may minimize injuries and enhance the patient's recovery speed. Animals with decreased mobility from chronic injuries may benefit from massage therapy, with improved range of motion and/or decreased pain. Massage increases circulation and nerve stimulation both where it is applied and also internally in any reflexively associated internal organs.