Massage Therapy is "the use of fingers, hands, and machines to manipulate the soft tissues, or stimulate at the cellular or neurological level of the body to improve healing and recovery" - IVC Journal. Massage is a form of holistic care as it restores balance and increases the individual's overall wellness.
What Are We Trying to Accomplish?
The most important tool in massage therapy is the use of hands. The main goals are to:
Reduce any muscle tension
Improve joint flexibility
Promote tissue healing
Improve and increase circulation
Types of Massage Therapy
Myofascial Release- This technique is used to release tension in the fascia due to conformation issues, trauma, or inflammation. Fascia is the tissue that surrounds the muscles, bones, and organs in the body.
Acupressure- Acupressure replenishes and maintains the health of animals using non-invasive touch techniques to move and balance life force energy. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of using needles, the hands are used to stimulate points.
Friction Massage- This is used to decrease the inflammatory response. Particulary in tendonitis cases, the technique is performed by making small circular movements, in which facilitates more circulation.
What Conditions Can be Treated With Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy can be used to help treat numerous conditions. These conditions include but are not limited to:
- Post surgery recovery
- Trauma recovery
- Muscle and ligament injuries
- Recurrent inflammatory conditions
- Inflammed and contracted tendons
- Development and maintenance of muscles
- Stiffness and joint discomfort
- Stress relief
- Building self confidence, sociability, and trust
- End of life care transitions
Are There Any Downsides to Massage?
Used in the right situation, massage therapy can only help, and can be extremely successful. But, it is still important to get a veterinarian's consent before trying massage therapy. This is because massage therapy is contraindicated in patients with:
- Internal organ problems
- Any kind of mass that has not yet been diagnosed as benign
- Bacterial or fungal diseases
- Fracture disease