Both prospective clients and skeptics of massage practice will often ask a massage practitioner what really happens during a massage that gives it any genuine benefit for an animal. They may do this is casual conversation, or they may call on you to test your knowledge. It is important to understand why you are giving a massage as much as it ever would be to know how to give a massage. After all, why a massage works is exactly part of the reason for giving one.
The principle causal action behind massage, and the scientific effect of massage, is that stroking and light touch stimulate areas causing a muscle mass to relax or contract according to the type of stroke given.
Deeper strokes penetrate the upper skin and tissue layers and either kneading or application of pressure upon the muscles beneath aids in circulation and breaks up pockets of toxins within the skin, muscle and fascia.
Aside from the obvious effects of massage between a human and an animal, medically and scientifically there are many positive benefits to receiving a massage- for both the giver and the receiver.
Benefits for the Human Giver:
· Relaxation and Calming
· Release of Stress
· Increased blood oxygen level from attention to physical actions and purposeful breathing, which could in theory, help to lower blood pressure
· Increased physical ability through stretching and use of the body to attain positions and hand placements in any variety of modalities
· Sense of accomplishment in your ability when helping another
· Advancement of your career while doing something incredibly gratifying
Benefits for the Animal Receiver:
· Increased emotional bond with another, possibly overcoming emotional barriers
· Lessening of pain and pain response (limited movement, limited emotional/physical release, anxiety, fear or aggression)
· Healing of physical injury by breakdown of scar tissue and lessening of contracture
· Relaxation and calming
· Release of Adaptation (the mental and physical changes an otherwise healthy body and mind must create to make up for and function with a physical injury and/or emotional stress)
· Increased blood flow to vital organs
· Stimulation of central nervous system
· Stimulation of endocrine system
· Increased metabolism
· Increased paristaltic activity (intestinal activity)
· Release of histamine (an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter)