By Dr. Pamela Fisher, DVM
People utilize holistic therapies to keep themselves healthy and happy. We use these techniques to relax, de-stress, and heal on many levels. However, many are unaware that these alternative therapies are available for their pets too. Animals find massage and various sorts of energy work helpful for staying on a healthy path. I know this to be a fact because my world revolves around healing pets.
After many years in traditional small animal practice, I felt that alternative healing choices could greatly benefit our pets. I began pursuing training in these holistic techniques. Currently, I have been practicing holistic veterinary medicine for over 18 years. I work with animals to improve their health and quality of life by utilizing alternative, holistic health care methods. Every day is a new opportunity for me to learn from both the miracles and the challenges I encounter. My teachers are the four-legged creatures that surround me. I strive to stay focused with careful attention, so I may learn the lessons that these pets can teach us.
My clients come to me seeking help because their pet can’t explain the issue or research the condition. Both the clients and their animals look to me for healing. The pets need only to look into my eyes to see my willingness and ability to help.
Here are some alternative therapies that should be considered for pets:
Color Therapy uses color and light to balance energy of the physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental body. Specific colors may be applied by lights, essences, fabrics, gemstones, or colored glasses. Color can be targeted at energy centers and acupuncture points to bring homeostasis (balance) to the body.
Reiki (Universal Life Force Energy) is an ancient Japanese art of natural healing. With this Touch Healing technique, the healer uses his or her hands to transmit healing energy to balance the physical and emotional body. Reiki brings about deep relaxation, destroys energy blockages, detoxifies the system, provides new vitality in the form of healing universal life energy, and increases the vibrational frequency of the body.
Healing Touch for Animals® (HTA) is a compilation of bio-field techniques by Carol Komitor, LMT, CHTP to facilitate the healing process. Healing Touch for Animals works with the energy body to provide the correct physiology (balance of systems) so the body can heal. HTA provides the techniques to support this process. HTA helps with emotional, physical and behavioral issues. It works by releasing endorphins to establish a deeper relaxation and state of being, allowing the body to function at a greater energy level. By allowing muscles to relax, circulation is increased, sending more oxygen, nutrients, and hormones into the body to support healing. Both HTA and Reiki are bio-field, energy-based healing modalities.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a light touch technique, which enhances the body’s natural healing processes. Osteopath John E. Upledger developed this intuitive guided therapy. Generally using pressure equal to the weight of a nickel, the body is evaluated and gently manipulated to help the body release any restrictions and promote the normal rhythm and flow of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The length of time and the number of sessions needed is extremely variable and depends on, among other factors, the complex layers of the injury or trauma. Certain injuries may mask the original cause of the problem as a defense mechanism for the body. This gentle approach follows the body’s lead to uncover the source of pain or dysfunction and can open the path to wellness.
Massage and Acupressure help your pets physically and psychologically, aiding to relieve distress, anxiety and discomfort. Research shows that animals that are handled when young learn faster and have more advanced neural development compared to animals that are not. In humans, massage has been known to raise the pain threshold and reduce treatment soreness. It can calm or energize. These same results are seen in working with pets. Massage can be used as a prevention measure for canine athletes. Other benefits include toxin release, increase in flexibility, confidence building, and energy restoration.
These holistic treatments work with the body to achieve optimum health and balance. All pets can benefit from these methods. These techniques help our pets heal themselves through relaxation, increased circulation, toxin release, and immune regulation. The Chi (or life force) restored through energy work and nutrition helps our beloved pets feel more energetic. The relaxation/balance response is profound. Hands-on therapy can be beneficial with the following conditions:
- Pre and post surgery – calms the animal pre-surgery and reduces healing time post-surgery
- Any illness, including cancer
- Competitive canines or dogs in service – helps focus and reduces stress
- Emotional/Behavioral issues and everyday stresses
- Physical injuries – works with the body to reduce pain and increase mobility
- Rewards for your loving companion
Holistic pet therapy is a way of giving back to our companions for all the unconditional love pets give us everyday. Most pets are healers in their own way and often reflect our illnesses. We can learn to help both them and ourselves by addressing physical, spiritual, and emotional unbalances. As we attempt to achieve balance for our pets and for ourselves, we will see the healthy vibrations resonate through our lives and the world.
These techniques are very similar to what we strive to create with Calm My Pet products. Our products are made with similar techniques in mind as those stated above, and they can be used to promote balance both physically and emotionally. They can either be an augment to the therapies you currently use or as standalone products to help your pets feel their best.
**While holistic pet therapy is a wonderful complement for your pet's health care, always seek veterinary advice before starting any therapy for your pet.