The simple act of petting a dog can be a form of massage. Many dogs seek it out, whether it be by nudging a nearby person or rolling onto his back. While they are usually happy to take whatever they can get, a professional massage or reiki session takes them to another level of relaxation.
Massage is, in fact, very beneficial for dogs. Its advantages include opening blood vessels, distributing oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, flushing out waste and toxins, loosening tight muscles and decreasing pain.
“I focus on where the dog is comfortable being interacted with, and start there,” she said. She will talk to the owner to find out if the dog has any sore spots, such as arthritis or injury, but will let the dog take the lead.
Pam also practices reiki, which can involve less contact with the dog but is equally beneficial. It involves transferring a flow of energy from a limitless source to the patient via the reiki practitioner. A dog’s energy could be disrupted by emotional or physical trauma, injury, negative thoughts and feelings, or nutritional depletion.
Reiki restores the flow of energy, creating deep relaxation and releasing stress and tension. It helps sleep, reduces blood pressure, relieves pain, supports the immune system, postpones the aging process and releases toxins. In addition, it helps reduce the side effects of drugs such as antibiotics or chemotherapy.
How does the transfer of energy happen? The body has its own energy field or “frequency” which is constantly changing. If the “life force” is blocked, you are more likely to get sick. If it is high and flowing well, it is easier to maintain health and well-being. Reiki practitioners assist in restoring the flow of energy by the laying of hands, channeling the energy where it is needed to bring the centers into alignment.
At All About Dogs, Pam has several regular reiki clients. Most dogs will come into the reiki room and immediately lay down in front of her. They go into a state of deep relaxation quickly. Pam said she sends signals to the dog and “lets them come to me.”
“I let them know they can accept it or not,” she said. “I don’t force it. I let them come to me.”
Some dogs will actually present the parts of the body they need healed to Pam, putting them right in her hands. They often lick her hands, where the energy is concentrated. They are often more open to the benefits of reiki than their human counterparts.
“They don’t have preconceived notions,” Pam said. “People overthink things, while dogs just react to the energy.”
Pam became involved in reiki after watching a session with her horse several years ago. She said she saw the horse react in a way she had never seen, and decided that she wanted to learn more about it. She took several classes and became a certified reiki master in 2007.
Massage and reiki can be a natural way to heal and calm dogs; while not a substitute for veterinary care, it can expedite the effects of conventional medicine. To try it out, take advantage of our 20 percent off offer from Aug. 24-Sept. 7 to mark National Massage Therapy Week and National Holistic Dog Day.