One of the most common misconceptions regarding massage therapy is that it is only for humans.
Of course, humans are the most common clients that you will see at a massage therapy facility.
But massage is equally important for animals.
Exactly like massage therapy relaxes humans, it also relaxes animals.
The most common clients for animal massage therapy are dogs and cats.
However, all types of animals can get stressed.
This is why all animals can require massage therapy.
In fact, animals are known to get stressed more often than humans.
The massage techniques for animals are more or less the same as humans and there are quite a few similarities.
However, the massage pressure points and relaxation techniques are rather different.
How Can Massage Therapy Be Beneficial For Animals?
Much like humans develop ailments, animals do too.
It may come as a surprise but, animals suffer from almost the same types of diseases as humans.
There are many pets which get arthritis and other joint problems.
Of course, some pets also get injured and may need rehabilitation therapy.
In addition to this, pets also tend to develop poor blood circulation as they age.
Some animals grow to be quite old and develop certain issues due to their age.
The discomfort from such ailments can be significantly reduced, if not eliminated, by applying massage therapy.
Most importantly, massage therapy relaxes pets.
Many owners use this therapy as a medium to relax their pets prior to a big event.
For instance, if the animal has to travel, many owners ensure they get a massage first.
This helps the animals relax while they are travelling.
Some animals often get very anxious when visiting the vet. Having the animal go through a nice and relaxing massage ensures that they are less anxious while the vet is examining them.
Animals that have close interactions with humans are the ones that suffer from anxiety the most and this anxiety can result in disorders in their body.
This is why it is important for each and every animal to get regular massage therapy as well.
How Does Massage Therapy Work on Animals?
Most owners and handlers pet the animals.
They spend lots of time with the animal petting and stroking them to ensure that they are relaxed.
They do this thinking that it may relax the animals.
This is not entirely wrong, but stroking and petting have nothing to do with massage therapy.
Petting and stroking animals mostly helps in developing a strong bond with them.
Of course, once the animal gets to know the owner or handler better, it feels less anxious around them.
So, petting and stroking the animal does help put it at ease to a certain extent. Massage therapy,
on the other hand, is a completely different application with completely different results.
Similar to humans, it involves touching certain areas of the animal with particular pressure.
Touching each area produces a specific result in the body of the animal.
In addition to this, each animal has to be touched and handled differently.
For instance, the massage points to induce relaxation in a dog are entirely different from the ones which are used on a cat.
Of course, it may also vary in horses and other animals. Therefore, the massage therapist should be properly trained to perform massage techniques on different animals.
Specialized Massage Therapies for Animals
There are many types of special massages for humans.
There are the hot stone massage, acupressure massage therapy and even the acupuncture massage.
In fact, a few massage therapy techniques do not require immense skill and only a basic understanding of the human anatomy and how to apply pressure to different areas is enough.
The same is the case when it comes to animal massage therapy.
Regular massage therapies do not require immense skills.
They require a basic understanding of the anatomy of different animals. Of course, there are some techniques involved in animal massage as well. Moreover, specialized massage therapies do require extensive training.
In addition, a massage therapist for animals has to be extra vigilant.
This is because pets cannot relay to the therapist if too much pressure is being applied to the muscles.
Moreover, pets will not be able to tell the therapist where they are feeling discomfort either.
It is your responsibility as the therapist to ensure that everything is just right as you massage the animal.
Training and experience are the two best ways to get good at this over time.
How to Train To Become an Animal Therapist?
There are many institutes that teach massage therapy for animals.
Once you have studied about massage therapy, you can practice at a veterinarian’s clinic.
Most animal massage therapists are found at vet clinics.
This is a great place to practice because you will be under the supervision of a qualified veterinarian.
Should you have any questions, you can easily ask the vet.
There are many animal rehabilitation specialists who also perform massage therapy.
If you are planning on a career in animal massage therapy, you will need to study extensively.
But, if you are already a qualified massage therapist for humans, you may not have to struggle as hard.
There are a few additional classes that you can take up to learn about animal massage therapy.
Not many vets may hire you to perform massage on animals.
However, you can begin your own practice after gaining the necessary experience.
A great way to do this would be to begin a pet grooming business.
Along with this, you can run a pet massage therapy and relaxation centre.
These types of businesses do particularly well in high-end and dense pet markets like New York and San Francisco.
Massage Therapy for Senior Animals
Animals that are in most needs of therapy are seniors.
These are animals that are in the golden years of their life.
Not only do they require a special diet, but also special massage to treat certain ailments that develop with age.
Although massage therapy may not fully cure those ailments, it does provide extensive relaxation to make day to day life better for them.
There is nothing better than giving a senior animal a comfortable and relaxing massage every once in a while.
They often enjoy it and look forward to it.
Wouldn’t you want to be pampered every now and then during your golden years?
Do keep in mind that animal massage therapy is not only for senior or injured animals.
In fact, healthy animals may also need massage therapy every once in a while.
The two main benefits of proactive application of animal massage therapy to the younger ones are better blood circulation and thus more active pets, as well as more relaxed pets.
Contact the top schools near you and learn about their curriculum and whether they offer animal massage training as part of their curriculum.
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interested in the course.
Where and how much?
Sally – what course are you referring to?
hi, i went to school for massage therapy finished the course but have not gotten my license. i would like to learn about animal massage therapy. where can i get more information on that? do i need to take extra classes since i already know the human massage part of it or will it be a brand new start for animal therapy?
Iris, you will need some unique coursework in animal massage therapy. Have you tried using our search box to find one near you? Let us know how you are progressing