Acupressure for Companion Animals

Acupressure; your hands do the manipulating instead of needles.
by Lisa Speaker 
Acupressure and other holistic modalities for animals have seen a jump in popularity as animal owners look for ways to help their furry family members live longer, happier and healthier lives. Animal owners are leading the charge as they demand more options for their beloved pets. They are challenging their veterinarians to think outside the western medicine they learned in veterinary school and many veterinarians are responding.

For thousands of years Acupressure has long been used in Chinato maintain the health and well-being of livestock. Today, there are multitudes of books, classes and entire program offerings for those interested in learning this art form. Acupressure is based upon the same theories as Acupuncture only your hands do the manipulating instead of needles. Traditional Eastern belief is that every living being is born with a fixed amount of Chi or Energy. Through illness, injury, trauma and age our Chi slowly becomes depleted. Acupressure is a means of stimulating certain points on the body to restore depleted Chi.

Stimulation of Acupressure Points can release endorphins, reduce pain, cause a relaxation effect, and bring fresh, oxygenated blood into an ailing area flushing toxins and bringing nutrition rich blood where it’s needed. Ideally, Acupressure is used as a preventative to maintain health and well-being. “Maintenance sessions” with a professional practitioner will depend on the animal but will vary to between once every one to four weeks for a healthy animal. Acupressure is also used to relieve specific conditions both acute and chronic and the number of sessions will vary depending on the health, age, lifestyle and genetics of the animal as well as the specific problem being addressed.

 Typical Acupressure treatment

  1. Observation
  2. Introduction
  3. Opening
  4. Treating
  5. Closing

During the Observation the practitioner observes the animal’s movement, posture, gut sounds, etcetera, and makes notes of marks and patterns on the body to use these cues in the work. The practitioner then asks the animal for permission to do an acupressure treatment. This is done by speaking and touching softly so that the animal accepts the practitioner and gives its permission. The Opening is when the practitioner runs a hand from the eye to the hind foot along an energy meridian called the Bladder Meridian. This opens the energy flow in the entire body and prepares the animal for the Acupressure Point Work or Treatment. The treatment will be unique to each anima and its condition. The intention of the Point Work is to bring balance and healing. The Closing is performed to finish the treatment and is the same as the opening, a long stroke from eye to hind foot. This leaves the animal relaxed and refreshed. A treatment can last anywhere from twenty to sixty minutes depending on the animal and its condition.

If you start working with any cooperative therapies such as Acupressure, Reiki, Massage, or Aromatherapy you will begin to make personal discoveries that often depend on your and the practitioners developed intuition rather than on any “rational” process or scientific theory. When someone insists that these therapies meet “rational” standards of proof, they rule out methods of treatment that have been shown for years to be effective and harmless. Janet Travell was effectively sidelined by her medical colleagues for years because anatomical knowledge could find no explanation for the patterns of pain distribution associated with myofascial trigger points. She was in her late eighties before the breakthrough was made and she received the belated recognition that her success in diagnosis and treatment should have earned her forty years prior.

 Acupressure and other forms of animal bodywork are exciting and rewarding fields of study for those looking to enhance the health and well-being of their own furry friend or begin a new career helping the animals of others.

 For more information on animal Acupressure, Massage, and other programs, or to order books, DVDs, or charts, contact the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage, P.O. Box 1491, Carbondale, CO 81623 / 303.660.9390