Myofascial Therapy & Massage

The following types of bodywork are available at The Holistic Pet.

MassageConditions skin and coat.
Stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin. Especially from a person they know.
Relaxes muscles, increases circulation and elimination of waste.
Stimulates ‘Rest & Digest ‘ branch of the nervous system
MyotherapyEquivalent to human clinical or medical massage, it includes the above benefits of massage plus specialist techniques to focus on muscle function and condition, explores the individual’s muscle usage, issues and compensatory patterns.
Fascial Release MFRFascial manipulation and therapy is highly effective therapy in its’s own right or in combination with massage and Myotherapy. Fascia has an energetic component and is highly sensitive to touch and pressure, a different approach from muscle work and specialist techniques are used.
AcupressureAcupressure is link between the physical and energetic body.
Acupoints can be selected for a specific problem or issue.
Enables the practitioner to send Qi (energy) to all the major organs.
Regulates the smooth flow of Qi in the body, needed for harmonious functioning and balance.

Therapies are carried out by Alison Mckinnon a practicing massage and aromatherapist for over 30 yrs, she decided to transfer her skills and change the focus of her practice from human to canine clients. After much research on the specialised canine training available, she chose to train with Galen Myotherapy, especially impressed by their ethos of always working with the dog and respecting their choices in guiding the treatment, it fits with her approach to the other therapies that she offers.

Dogs are just like us, when we have a pain or muscle strain it affects everything, when our physical body is under stress our mood (behaviour) , relationships, our digestion – everything suffers – and if it becomes a chronic issue there is a knock on effect on posture, other muscles start to change throughout the body and can ultimately affect the neurological system. Compensatory patterns settle in resulting in muscle dysfunction which can become hard to identify.

advise all regular walking clients to have a muscle balance asessment and allow me to assess their dogs muscle condition so that we can tailor their activities to suit them. It’s a myth that muscles should be iron hard like Popeye’s biceps and often means that problems are overlooked – tense, contracted, fibrous tissue points to a muscle that is not able to do it’s job without causing discomfort.


Advice form a professional therapist will allow pet parents to make changes or adaptations to daily routines and the home environment to maintain their condition or support rehabilitation and recovery. See also CAM Canine Arthritis Management Resources.

Obvious lameness OR discomfort should always be diagnosed by a vet, and for any hands on therapy, written veterinary consent is required.

Massage, and Bodywork in general, is a holistic therapy meaning it has a positive effect on the whole being, mind and body, the physical benefits have been researched extensively, notably on the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems, but there is no doubt that the psychological benefits add to the overall healing effect rather than simply being a form of physiotherapy. The Mechanical effects of hands on therapies are the direct physical effects of the technique on the tissues being treated. Reflexive effects are the indirect effects on body functions and tissues through the response of the nervous system of the body.

Massage is a useful therapy to counteract the negative impact of stress, helping return the body to a state of equilibrium by engaging the parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system that relaxes the body. The stress response is essential for survival but can have negative effects on the system when it is engaged too frequently and then if the chemical by-products linger in the body and tissues without being utilised that can cause problems. Massage also has notable effects on mood, when an individual is in pain particularly a low grade chronic pain, the body adapts and the discomfort becomes a part of the individual’s normal everyday life, but impacting on their general wellbeing and often resulting in depression.

Chronic unmanaged pain in people can have negative life changing effects resulting in depression and this is also true for animals. Massage stimulates the release of endorphins and encephalins (neurotransmitters that suppress pain) via the parasympathetic nervous system, thus managing pain perception while the mechanical action of specific techniques will breakdown fibrous and calcified tissue while stimulating repair of damaged tissue.

Pain and discomfort in animals will drive their behaviour, chronic pain and discomfort often goes undiagnosed, as animals are experts at hiding the signs, it’s a survival mechanism in nature, they will adapt and hide the problem, BUT that means living in a constant state of anxiety and guarding painful areas. Massage and Myotherapy used as an both a rehabilatative therapy and for ongoing maintenance will help you ensure their wellbeing. A Regular massage session built into your dogs’s healthcare routine will have a positive effect on their mood and behaviour and act as an early warning signal of potential problems, early detection by learning what your dogs ‘normal’ is and even better if they see their practitioner on a regular basis you have the perfect early warning system of potential health issues.



A typical human massage would be delivered in the following sequence; effleurage to introduce touch, relax and prepare the tissues followed by petrissage to break down tension, improve flexibility of both muscle and fascia and relax the muscle further when this has been achieved frictions, tapotement, and passive movements will have a further therapeutic effect targeted to the individual’s main concern and therapeutic goal of the treatment. Throughout the session all techniques and movements are linked together by effleurage also used to conclude the session, a return to a normal state and induce a ‘rest and digest’ response from the parasympathetic system to take ensuring optimum conditions for the body’s repair mechanisms to have effect.

The same sequence of application would be followed in canine massage, as each technique produces a specific response in the tissues. Knowing the effects of each technique will allow the practitioner to put together the most effective sequence for each individual.

*currently case studies only

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