School of Zoo-massage

Next, what happens to the animal’s body during massage, what result can be expected after the procedures and why it is necessary? First – what effect does massage have on definite systems and internals? Skin and coat are the first to receive the corresponding mechanical action. Rubbing, petrissage, pressure and other massage strokes improve blood circulation, making skin pink, elastic and more resistant to temperature and mechanical impact. Skin and muscle tone increase, the skin becomes elastic, smooth and resilient. Coat structure and quality improve.
Muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons undergo massage manipulations of a deeper impact. Massage stimulates virtually all muscle functions, which increases the muscles’ efficiency and endurance. Moreover, blood circulation and muscle oxygen supply improve and redox processes intensify. Pain diminishes or disappears, the process of lactic acid disintegration and excretion of decay products from tissues is accelerated. Massage also improves the nutrition of joint tissues, accelerates formation and motion of synovial fluid, which makes the joint more mobile, and the ligaments more elastic. Moreover, massage performed in proper time may prevent arthrosis causing injuries to cartilaginous tissue. It is the best supporting therapy when there is any degree of dysplasia. To say more, under the influence of rhythmic massge movements all liquids in the body, especially blood and lymph, accelerate. And this all happens not only within the surface being massaged, but also in the remote veins and arteries. What is interesting, even the movements which do not demand special skills and efforts, such as simple stroking and patting, accelerate blood and lymph flow. By the way, skin capillary network enlargement and the improvement of venous blood circulation facilitate cardiac performance, which, in turn, increases the average life expectancy.
ATTENTION! You must not massage lymphatic glands. The acceleration of lymph flow when the lymphatic glands are painful and enlarged may lead to the spread of infection in the body.
The improvement of blood circulation leads, in its turn, to the improvement of blood supply of the nerve centers and the peripheral masses. As a result, the transmission of nerve impulses accelerates and improves. It is worth to mention that, in any case, the nervous system is the first to react to any impact. Different kinds and techniques of massage act upon the nervous system in different ways, too. For example, vibration or tapotement stimulate it; rubbing or effleurage, on the contrary, calm it down. Thus, with the various duration and intensity of massage, together with the different techniques of it, the nervous irritability of a dog can be increased or decreased. Even a dog’s behaviour can be corrected. By the way, professional cynologists use this quite successfully. The same is used to relieve stress in dogs and to normalize their psychophysical condition after some kinds of work.
One more thing that may be interesting to bulldog owners is the influence of massage upon the respiratory system. Different kinds of massage, performed on the chest (tapotement, hacking, intense rubbing and petrissage of the back muscles, neck muscles and of the intercostal spaces), take off the fatigue of the respiratory muscles and improve the respiratory function, which makes respiration deeper and facilitates it.
There exist five basic strokes of zoomassage: rubbing, petrissage, effleurage, tapotement and vibration. Each of these strokes has several forms and each form has a definite function and is applied by means of a definite techniques.
Let us begin with effleurage – this is what any massage procedure begins and finishes with. Effleurage also alternates with other techniques during the procedure. During effleurage, the hand goes smoothly, with different degrees of pressure, but without making skin folds, mostly (but not always) in the direction of hair growth. Hair does not interfere with this action, because, unlike the “human” massage, zoomassage does not demand special oils or lotions, and the massage intensity for dogs is weaker than for humans, because dogs are more sensitive to a tactile contact and pain, especially if the massage is performed by a person who is a stranger for the dog. Now, a little about the technique itself – this is important for the owners who want to learn to do zoomassage. Let us start with flat effleurage. It can be ordinary and deep. During the ordinary effleurage, the hand is not tense; the fingers are straight and close. A stroking movement is performed, then the hand is back in the original position and this is performed over and over again. This can be done with one hand or with both hands. When both hands are used, the effleurage is performed by turns, from the same starting position as with one hand, in one and the same direction, one hand after the other, crossing. Deep effleurage is performed in the same way, but weighing down one palm by the other, putting them one over the other, with different degree of pressure. The same is done when working on the back, chest, neck and the extremities. Enveloping effleurage - the hand and the fingers are in the form of a gutter: the thumb (1) is aside to the maximum and it is opposed to the closed hand (fingers 2-5). The hand envelops the surface being massaged and moves according to the tasks of the massage, continuously or interruptedly. This is performed on the extremities, sides of the body and on the neck.