Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues such as; skin, fascia, muscles, tendons ligaments, and nerves.
This treatment is beneficial for;
- Maintaining optimum muscle health in sporting dogs
- Improving comfort and mobility in older or arthritic dogs
- Enhancing healing in injured dogs or those post surgery
- Rebalancing any compensatory patterns in dogs with injuries or post surgery
Massage has many benefits including;
- Pain relief
- Improved circulation
- Improved lymphatic drainage
- Reduction of oedema
- Improved proprioception
- Improved muscle suppleness
Joint mobilisations are small gentle movements within the normal normal range of movement of the joint. These are different to joint manipulations. In some cases when joints are stiff, it may be beneficial to move the joint in a series of gentle small repetitive movements.
This can help to reduce restrictive muscle spasm and increase lubrication of the joints.
Stretches are useful to maintain and improve;
- Range of motion
- Reduce joint stiffness
- Decrease risk of injury
Stretches may be demonstrated to the owner and utilised at home as part of a home care plan.
Passive range of motion (PROM)
Passive range of motion is the movement of joints by the therapist through their normal available range. This maintains and improves;
- Joint range of motion
- Decreases joint stiffness
- Improves proprioception
- Decreases likelihood of soft tissue contracture
Active range of motion (AROM)
Active range of motion exercises are designed to target specific joints, muscles or areas of the body. These exercises are carried out with the therapist encouraging the dog to participate in them. This sometimes includes using equipment such as poles, cones, balance blocks, wobble cushions etc.
These exercises are designed to improve specific qualities depending upon the dogs’ needs.
These may include;
- Increasing strength
- Decrease stiffness (both joint and muscular)
- Improving proprioception
- Improving balance
- Improving posture
- Improving performance
- Decreasing risk of injury