Different Massage Types
Animal massage is broken up into different categories. Creature Comfort Pet Services focuses mainly on Maintenance Massage, Relaxation Massage, and Stretching.
Maintenance massage is probably the most common type of massage. The intent of this type of massage is to help a healthy pet stay healthy. Its primary goal is to decrease muscular tension. Other benefits include: decreased recovery time between workouts, release of metabolic waste products, decrease the chance of stress related injuries, stimulate the lymphatic system to improve immune function, and prevention of chronic conditions.
Relaxation massage concentrates on the nervous system only, using mostly pure nervous reflex massage over the spinal column to elicit the parasympathetic nervous response. Positive results are typically seen over the course of one to several treatments. A relaxation massage won't put your horse to sleep, but it will induce relaxation and a stronge sense of relief. It will also clear nervous tension and blockages, regenerating the flow of vital energy through the spine to the rest of the body. The relaxation massage is very effective in inducing deep relaxation in a short time, and is also good to use when massaging a horse for the first time.
Stretching improves muscle tone and increases elasticity of ligaments and joints. It also increases the animal’s awareness of his body. There are a number of stretching exercises which complement and facilitate massage, and will depend upon the needs of your pet's Myofascial Release. Fascia is known as the "organ of form", and is the substance that gives us our shape. Fascial connective tissue forms the web from head to tail, and surrounds and connects every muscle, bone, nerve and cell. When an animal is injured, the fascia will tighten and thicken as a protective response. Myofascial release is a sustained, gentle pressure which will elongate the compromised tissue restoring freedom of movement and the horse's natural ability of coordination, strength, and power.
Performance/sports massage is ideal for the owner who is asking a higher level of fitness from their pet like training or competition. The intent of this type of massage is to optimize current performance and assist in the animal in reaching their next level. Other benefits include; improving work efficiency, increasing proprioceptive skills and increasing flexibility. These improvements offer consistent performance, improved muscle memory and correcting poor postural habits.
Rehabilitation massage is directed to any animal suffering from a recent illness or injury or in a debilitated state. The intent of this level of massage is to aid the body in reaching a state of physical equilibrium that will help with natural healing or will complement a treatment program already in place. Benefits from this type include: Stimulating circulation, decreasing inflammation, helping the release of endorphins, increasing metabolism, assisting in healthy scar tissue formation, and all of the other benefits of maintenance massage. Rehabilitation massage should really only be performed by a veterinarian or a specially trained certified animal masseuse working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.
Prepare yourself and your pet for the massage
Massaging animals is different from massaging humans. Animals dictate how long they are interested in receiving treatment - especially at the first session. Massage is generally a new and different sensation for horses. Plus, a new person touching them may take a while for the horse to adjust. The ideal situation is to have a quiet area available with as few distractions as possible, and to have your pet clean and dry. This doesn't mean you have to give them a bath before a massage, but it would be helpful to reduce dried on mud or any burrs.