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Massage therapy is the application of a scientific system of activity to the muscular structure of the body by means of stroking, kneading, tapping, and vibrating with the hands for the purpose of improving muscle tone and circulation. Massage also helps induce relaxation and it gives comfort.
In massage therapy, balance is key. Simply massaging the affected area isn’t enough. Its important to treat the opposite end as well. For instance, if a dog is painful in the rear, he’s usually putting excess strain on his front end, and vice versa. A good massage therapist will treat the whole animal.
Massage therapy can be performed by a licensed veterinarian with education in massage therapy or by a graduate of an accredited massage school who has been educated in animal massage therapy. Some massage schools teach classes in animal massage. Contraindications of massage on dogs are largely the same as humans: fractured or sprained limbs, ruptured vertebral disks, cancer, fever, or shock.
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Reprinted from The Original Dog Bible © 2005. Permission granted by BowTie Press.