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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Canine Massage Enters the Mainstream

In the 1990s, massage became widely known as a therapeutic intervention and some health insurance plans even paid for it. Now, massage is widely available at resorts, health clubs, and spas and training institutes have sprung up around the country. People are as familiar with the benefits of massage as they are with concepts of regular exercise, good nutrition and plenty of sleep being an integral part of a healthy body and mind. 

Massage for domesticated animals like dogs (canine massage) occupies a place similar to that of human massage about 30 years ago. Despite its perception as something new, animal massage, like human massage, has its roots in ancient practices. Supporting documentation has been found from the early Egyptians, Romans and Chinese.

Today’s domesticated dogs need massage more than ever to maintain optimal health, because many do not get the activities that serve to cleanse the body of toxins, stimulate blood flow, enhance relaxation and drain the lymph glands.

Dr. Michael Fox, author of Healing Touch and numerous other books on animal care, points out that in the wild, social grooming (by licking) provides the touch stimulation needed to thrive, and hunting and free play keeps the animal’s body toned and fit. Many of our domesticated dogs, confined to small spaces and often alone, miss out on these activities. While petting does provide loving attention and touch, massage goes a step further. Many animals with emotional issues such as depression, grief, shyness or distrust, respond well to the relaxation and positive touch of massage. 

Help a dog maintain their health or recover from illness or injury by scheduling a session with a local canine massage therapist.

Nancy McDonald, certified through the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage, is owner and chief therapist at Animal Ally of Arizona. For more information, call 520-591-2950 or visit See ad page 35.

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