top of page
5G9A0147.jpg

Canine Bodywork

Bodywork is rooted in the belief that the body has an innate ability to heal itself when given the proper support and stimulus. Through gentle manipulation, palpation, and movement, we aim to restore balance, release tension, create awareness, and promote optimal function and well-being. 

The most common question I get when I tell someone about Retrieving Wellness is,

 

"What actually is canine bodywork?"

Deep dive with me below on what exactly it is we do as practitioners and why bodywork may be the right avenue for your canine companion. 

Neuro-fascial Canine Bodywork & Healing

In it's most simplest forms, bodywork is an umbrella term that encompasses a diverse array of therapeutic techniques and practices focused on balancing or enhancing the body's structure, function and energy. This includes various modalities, each with it's own principles, approaches and methodologies. Through Whole Energy Body Balance (WEBB) training our approach to canine bodywork is rooted in the belief that the body has an innate ability to heal itself when given the proper support and stimulus. Through gentle manipulation, palpation, and intentional touch, we aim to restore balance, release tension, create awareness, and promote optimal function within a dogs body. 

Bodywork is intricately connected to the central nervous system (CNS) through various physiological pathways and mechanisms. When performing bodywork techniques, sensory receptors within the skin, muscles, fascia and joints are stimulated. These sensory signals are transmitted via nerves to the spinal cord and then relayed to the brain, where they are processed and interpreted. 

Through this sensory input, canine bodywork can modulate the activity of the CNS in several ways:

  1. Pain modulation: bodywork techniques can stimulate the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters involved in pain modulation, leading to a reduction in pain perception and discomfort.

  2. Relaxation response: gentle, intentional touch during bodywork activates the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to a relaxation response characterized by decreased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and reduced stress horomone levels --- create a box explaoining sympatetic and parasympathetic

 

   3. Improved proprioception: the body's awareness of its position in space, is mediated by sensory input from the muscles,         joints, and other tissues. Bodywork can enhance the proprioceptive feedback, helping the dog develop better body                 awareness and coordination. 

​   4. Facilitation of healing: by promoting circulation, lymphatic flow, and tissue mobility, bodywork techniques support the           body's natural healing processes. Enhanced blood flow and oxygenation to injured or compromised tissues can                       facilitate tissue repair and regeneration. 

   5. Emotional regulation: intentional touch is a powerful means of communication and can have profound effects on an             animals emotional state. Emotionally charged experiences, stress, and trauma can manifest as tension or restrictions           within the fascial system. As a result, emotions may become 'trapped' or stored within the fascial matrix, leading to a             somatic experience of unresolved emotional states. By engaging with the fascial system, therapeutic presence and               touch can provide a sense of comfort and security, facilitating the expression and integration of emotions. 

As an advocate for integrative and collaborative care, bodywork is not a replacement for proper veterinary care, and we are not able to diagnose. Whether your dog is recovering from injury, managing chronic conditons, or simply seeking to enchance their quality of life, our tailored bodywork sessions are designed to meet them where they are and tailor to their unique needs. 

The sympatheic nervous system is responsible for th ebody's fight or flight response. It revs up a dog's body ready for action, like when they are playing, excited, or even feeling stressed. It increases the heart rate, boos awareness, and redirects blood flow to the muscles. 

On the other hand, the parasympatheic nervous system helps dogs calm down and rest, aiding in digesetion, slowing the heart rate, and conserving energy. We often call this the rest and digest state, and its 

Fascia

One of the key elements of canine bodywork is its connection to fascia. Fascia is a complex network of connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve & organ in the body. It plays a crucial role in providing structural support, facilitating movement, and transmitting forces between different parts of the body.

In dogs, just like in humans, the fascial system can become tight, restricted, or imbalanced due to various factors such as injury, overuse, poor posture, stress & trauma. When the fascia becomes dysfunctional, it can lead to a range of issues including pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and compromised movement patterns.

Canine bodywork targets the fascial system by using techniques such as myofascial release, craniosacral techniques, stretching, massage, and joint mobilization. These techniques help to release adhesions, break up scar tissue, improve circulation, and restore optimal function to the fascia. By addressing fascial restrictions and imbalances, canine bodywork can alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall comfort.

If that's not enough for you, the fascial system is interconnected with other systems in the body, including the nervous system and the lymphatic system. By influencing the fascia, canine bodywork can also have indirect effects on these systems, promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and supporting immune function.

The connection between canine bodywork and fascia highlights the importance of addressing the underlying soft tissue structures in order to promote optimal health and mobility in dogs.

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/fascia-the-most-important-organ-in-your-dogs-body/#:~:text=Fascia%20is%20a%20network%20of,dog's%20body%20to%20function%20well. 

screen-shot-2020-05-10-at-1.16_edited.jp

Organized Fascia Matrix

Disorganized Fascia Matrix

Conditions shown to benefit from bodywork

One of
 

In-Store Help

Click here to edit the text and add your own content to this paragraph.

24/7 Support

Click here to edit the text and add your own content to this paragraph.

Same-Day Delivery

Click here to edit the text and add your own content to this paragraph.

Personal Shoppers

Click here to edit the text and add your own content to this paragraph.

Online Orders

Click here to edit the text and add your own content to this paragraph.

Easy Returns

Click here to edit the text and add your own content to this paragraph.

Stress Reduction/Anxiety

Click here to edit the text and include the information you would like to feature.

Injury Rehab & Prevention

Click here to edit the text and include the information you would like to feature.

Digestion

Click here to edit the text and include the information you would like to feature.

Emotional Regulation

Click here to edit the text and include the information you would like to feature.

Ailments bodywork has been effective in treating 

  • Stress Reduction: These holistic therapies help alleviate stress and anxiety in dogs, fostering a calm and peaceful state of mind.

  • Pain Management: Canine holistic treatments are effective for managing pain, making them ideal for dogs with chronic conditions, injuries, or post-operative recovery.

  • Enhanced Mobility: Many therapies can improve your dog's range of motion, making it easier for them to move comfortably and engage in physical activities.

  • Improved Digestion: Holistic approaches can aid in regulating your dog's digestive system, alleviating issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

  • Emotional Balance: These therapies can address emotional imbalances, helping dogs overcome fear, aggression, or behavioral issues.

  • Enhanced Immune Function: By supporting the body's natural healing abilities, holistic therapies can boost your dog's immune system, making them more resilient to illness.

A balanced body is able to restore and maintain bodily functions that provide:

*Nutritional support

*Mental health

*Healing

*Muscle and joint support 

*Sometimes life events such as growth spurts, injuries, stress, illness,  training, and competition can tip this balance. The body is then left in a state where it’s unable to heal and restore. This can lead to chronic inflammation, posture imbalances,  changes in their mobility, and comfort.

what you can expect during a session

Your dog’s session will begin with us reviewing any questions or additional thoughts you may not have noted on your health history form. Together we’ll assess your dog’s current mobility and postural habits.

Afterward, we’ll choose the location you feel your dog will be the most comfortable. We will be here for at least an hour, an hour and a half. One with limited distractions and where they feel safe is best.

I’ll begin with a quick scan of their body to feel for any areas of tension or restrictions. We’ll then chat about the bodywork protocols that I feel will be of benefit to your dog’s current state. Once you are comfortable with the plan, we’ll begin.

Be prepared for long, quiet pauses throughout the series of hands-on moves. We need to allow your dog time to process each set, allowing the brain to integrate the information being sent. This is a great time to ask any questions or note any changes you may see in your dog during the session. Often we will see them show the following signs of releasing tensions and receiving messages:

  • Licking or chewing

  • Yawning

  • Relaxed body posture

  • Sleeping

  • Fidgeting

  • Snorting, sneezing, or sighing

So don’t worry if you suddenly feel like your dog isn’t as quiet as they normally would be. This is their way of providing me with feedback as we go through the movements. I’ll share with you what I feel and notice in their body throughout the session.

At the end of the session, we’ll review key areas that I need you to monitor for me. Depending on your dog’s needs we may also chat about some exercise homework you can do between sessions for success.

Feel free to reach out at any time after a session with any questions or concerns. It takes a full team for your dog to be at their best and you are the frontline!

We’re happy to share any findings and successes with your other healthcare team members.

Thank you again for supporting your dog to be all that they can be!

what i look for as a response to bodywork

Initial Assessment 

The initial assessment is designed to gather comprehensive information about your dog's overall health, behavior, and physical condition. This process includes a physical examination, movement analysis, and a thorough inquiry into your dog's medical history. This assessment serves as the foundation for tailoring an effective and safe bodywork plan to address the specific needs of your dog.

bottom of page