TTouch Bodywork for Your Animal                        

The benefits of touching our animals have been studied and well documented.  Benefits to us humans, that is.  There are many studies showing that petting our animal lowers our blood pressure, improves our health, increases longevity and includes other benefits.  The benefits of body work for humans has also been well documented.  The research on bodywork for other mammals is scanty. (TTouch is currently being studied and taught at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Veterinary College.)

Most of us would like to be able to touch our animals in a way that is as good for them as it is for us.  Tellington TTouch gives us tools to do just that.  TTouch can influence behavior and performance, as well as well-being and relationship. 

TTouch bodywork includes circles, lifts and slides of the skin, covering the whole body of the animal.  It is done gently and mindfully, making the connection between human and animal.  As we work with the skin, we influence blood flow.

People know ahead of time that a massage will be relaxing and soothing.  Our animals don’t have any foreknowledge of TTouch.  The first few times we touch them with intention, rather than the casual strokes of petting, our animals are often surprised.  Sometimes they are even concerned.   We can alleviate such concern if we are mindful of their subtle responses. We can change what we are doing in response to the animal’s cues.  This builds trust and helps to relax the animal.

As you touch different areas of the body, be aware of and pay attention to your animal’s response.  Often a ttouch that feels good in one area causes concern in another area.  Ultimately, we want a animal to be comfortable being touched all over, but this can take time.  Your patience and consideration will go a long way in making TTouch a good experience for both of you. TTouch is done cooperatively, WITH our animal, rather than TO our animal.

If your animal does not seem to like TTouch, first check to see that you are breathing.  That is usually the biggest interefering factor.  So exhale and try again.  Second, make sure that you are in a balanced posture, with no tight areas.  If you need to check further, think of things that you might change in the way you do the ttouches.  Is your thumb anchored?  Change the pressure.  Change the speed—usually think slow, and try to be a bit slower, though sometimes you will find you need to speed up.    

Think of TTouch as dancing with your animal, with you doing the leading.  Remember that dancing is supposed to be enjoyable for both parties., so remember to have fun.  When you TTouch gently and with awareness, it can’t hurt and might help.

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© Frances Smith 2012