For injury management, pre- and post-surgery and dogs that show compensational issues
For improved mobility, physical and mental development and longevity
Myofunctional Therapy is a hands-on treatment which greatly improves healing in the body before and after surgery, as injury management, for dogs with compensational issues (e.g. the occasional limp) and chronic impairment such as hip dysplasia, luxating patella, (osteo)arthritis. In non-acute cases this physical therapy is perfect for dogs who are starting to show signs of wear and tear e.g. not wanting to use the stairs anymore, being hesitant jumping in and out of the car or are simply slowing down. Dogs that are generally healthy, elderly / geriatric or those that suffer from anxieties or stress symptoms benefit greatly from the massage treatment as a maintenance program to help prevent incidents in the future and to support the wellbeing of the dog’s body and mind. We also treat puppies and adolescent dogs to support them during their growing stage. As their body evolves, bones grow and muscles develop it is important to maximise the health benefits of myofunctional therapy so that they can grow into fit and healthy young adults. The techniques during the treatment promote balancing of the body functions, efficient metabolism and will enhance the healing of the cells as to reduce pain, compensation and dysfunction, increase stride length and frequency, improve joint articulation, strengthening of the whole musculature and more. Massage conducted as a clinical therapy firstly stretches the muscle fibres, makes the muscles more relaxed and relieves tension which in return increases the blood flow to the muscles. Now an entire series of events starts to happen throughout the body. With the increase of blood, more nutrients from food and also oxygen travel through the body via the cardiovascular system, being released in the cells as needed. These healthy cells are able to absorb nutrients more efficiently which means food can be converted into energy, may it be for healing in certain parts of the body, mental functionality or physical exercise. Post-operative or remedial treatment should be considered to be done weekly until improvement can be seen. Then the sessions can be spread further apart, fortnightly to eventually monthly to what we call maintenance treatments.
Exercise Physiology and Canine Bodywork
To increase joint mobility, balance, range of motion and to strengthen the muscles and improve proprioception
To complement our myofunctional treatments we offer physical bodywork and exercises to enhance the outcome of the treatment. These exercises are designed to be a low activity task that will improve muscle leverage, balance, length of pace, joint facilitation, postural / core stability and strength. They are controlled activities that promote the re-setting of proprioception which means the coordination of muscles and nerves. We customise the individual exercises to the abilities of our canine patients depending on their condition e.g. rehab, seniors, prevention. We hold regular online courses in which we teach dog owners how to practise these exercises safely at home and accompany them through a Facebook group with ongoing support.
We establish an individually tailored lifestyle plan for each dog to set them up for a safe and fun life being active and well
We look at each dog’s lifestyle, abilities, condition, age and consider the owner’s expectations to provide you with a treatment and lifestyle plan in order to enhance your dog’s health, fitness, vitality and behaviour. This is planning for the future to prevent injuries, unwanted behaviour and will give you guidance to having a happy and healthy pet. The guidelines for the lifestyle plan will be discussed in the initial consultation and will be sent to you with your dog's history report.
We tailor our treatments to the needs of each individual pet patient with add-on therapies
In addition to myofunctional therapy, we offer a variety of other natural therapies to compliment the treatment sessions:
PEMF therapy (pulsed electromagnetic field): stimulates every level of the body as the electromagnetic pulses of energy penetrate the cells. This increases blood flow, oxygen intake and improves the rate of healing. Our PEMF mat is a favourite amongst our canine and feline patients with acute injuries as well as chronic issues such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.
Kinesiology Taping: this type of therapy is ideal for more acute injuries as it stimulates cell regeneration in joints e.g. ligament ruptures and along muscles e.g. in case of spasms. Dogs tolerate this very well as the tape is soft and stretchy. We even have waterproof tape so your buddy can go for a swim with their tape on.
Craniosacral Therapy: this hands-on technique gently manipulates the joints in the cranium, spine and pelvis to alleviate a range of dysfunction from chronic pain to sports injuries as well as neurological impairment. Dogs in particular respond immediately to the release as craniosacral therapy promotes the correct rhythmic action of the cerebrospinal fluid as it pumps through the Central Nervous System.
Canine Pharmacognosy: stimulates a self-medicating behaviour in our dogs. We provide best quality dried herbs and essential oils that dogs can select for their healing. As dogs can't tell us what may bother them, this is a way of finding out if a dog suffers from a condition such as anxiety, intestinal problems, acute, chronic or neural pain, allergies etc. This does not replace veterinary care but may be useful in directing to a vet's diagnosis.
Reiki: we work closely with other therapists and can make referrals to a local Reiki Master Animal Practitioner who qualified from the traditional Usui Reiki teachings. Reiki is a fantastic way of supporting dogs with conditions such as pain, decrease healing time after surgery, removing emotional / psychological blocks e.g. stressors and boosts the immune system and organ health, promotes relaxation and overall well-being.
Need to know
PRIOR TO MAKING AN APPOINTMENT
What to Expect
During the massage the dog may lay down on the provided mats or their own bed, sofa, carpet etc. or they may choose to sit or stand. This is no problem, I want the dog to do what makes them feel comfortable so that they can get the most out of the treatment. Dogs are free to walk away; we do not restrain them as this ensures that they have a choice of how much treatment they want. We may break the massage into a few shorter parts. We also let them go for sniffies and potty breaks.
It is important for the dog to remain as calm as possible. It is preferable to use an air-conditioned space (during summer) as the dogs get rather warm when being palpated (this is passive sport for them!). While your dog is being treated we ask that the owner remains quiet, puts their phone on silent and we welcome you to read or sit with your dog.
Before Canine Myofunctional Therapy can be applied, we must rule out any contraindications. These are conditions where using massage could cause potential harm for example injuries, unknown health problems, pregnancy, pain, swelling, joint instabilities, fractures or may lead to exacerbation of existing situations such as burns, inflammation, haematomas, arthritis, recent muscle injury and similar problems. Due to massage working on a deep cellular level accessing all the systems, it influences a great range of body functions even though it is a topical treatment.
We will talk about this in the free initial phone consultation and guide you through a plan of treatment. Quite often it is just a matter of time or a certain region of the dog’s body before we can apply massage safely. The Dog Owner's Permission Form can be found on our website or you can fill this out at your first appointment. It outlines the contraindications, asks for details on vaccinations and worming and makes recommendations for vet approval (if necessary). We want to work in a holistic way and welcome the liaison with your veterinary clinic. Please click below for the Vet Referral / Approval Form
Before and After Massage Care
Your dog is receiving a holistic (whole body!) clinical (medical) massage treatment in the form of Canine Myofunctional Therapy. This does not only affect the musculo-skeletal aspect of their body but greatly influences their entire body through the cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, digestive and endocrine (hormonal) systems.
The effects of the massage take place not only during the treatment but especially afterwards so it is important to understand that there is a lot going on in their body and mind to “digest” and consolidate the treatment. This is the healing process.
Please support your dog by letting their body rest and heal after the massage (even though you can’t see it) so the treatment can be effective.
Before the massage:
No food (2 hours) as massage affects digestion
No exuberant exercise, play or excitement (we don’t want the adrenaline to be up) as massage affects the nervous system
Short calm walk to eliminate (pee & poo)
Check our contraindications list and fill out the permission form
After the massage:
Provide stress free environment (consider other pets, children, outings, visitors)
Dog may be chewing, twitching in their sleep (this is a good sign as their body is reflecting on the treatment)
Dog may drink more
You may notice increased elimination (pee, poo and gas as the lymphatic system is detoxing)
Vet Approval / Referral Form
Will Massage hurt my dog?
No. We work with the principle “Do no harm” in mind. This means that we use different techniques that can be altered depending on the dog’s acceptance. During the treatment the dog is free to move away and show us what they like or dislike.
Will my dog be sleepy after the Massage?
We hope so! After your dog has received a myofunctional treatment, it will have affected their nervous system by stimulating the sensory receptors in a calming way. This transfers to all the other systems in the body and means that your dog will be in a healing state and needs to rest for a couple of days.
How often should my dog have a treatment?
This depends on the circumstances, age, health issues and your dog’s treatment plan. We recommend that you see us weekly or fortnightly for the first few treatments. Most dogs can go on a monthly schedule after their initial healing phase.
Do you offer Massage for cats?
Yes. The treatment and massage techniques can be applied to felines as well however they don’t often hold still long enough. If you think your cat would be calm and receptive of gentle healing touches please contact us.