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Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years on humans, dogs and many other animal species. Like acupuncture for dogs, it involves the stimulation of specific points which are centers of vital energy in the body, but unlike acupuncture which uses needles, acupressure only requires touch. Fingers, palm or edge of the hand, elbow or even foot, it is a question of massaging, palpating and manipulating the animal so that it benefits from the benefits of this practice.
What is acupressure? What are the points to stimulate? What are the massage techniques to use? What are the benefits of this traditional medicine on animals? Our responses in this dossier.
What is dog acupressure?
Acupressure, or digitopuncture, is a method of care resulting from the Chinese tradition. This form of traditional medicine has been practiced for thousands of years on humans as well as on other animal species, including dogs. Acupressure uses touch, which makes it akin to acupuncture, but in which the fingers replace needles to stimulate particular points.
This medicine aims to restore the body’s balance and vital energy, on the basis that imbalances weaken the body’s vital functions and promote the onset of diseases. To do this, touch is focused on the meridians, energy channels which run through the body and which convey the body’s vital energy, or Chi, through six Yin organs and six Yang viscera. Their stimulation contributes to improving the well-being and health of the animal.
What are acupressure points?
For acupressure to work, it is important to identify and know how to locate the different pressure points to be stimulated. These are the same points used in acupuncture. Here are the main ones:
- the tip of the truffle, to relieve respiratory problems;
- the top of the head, between the dog’s eyes, to soothe it;
- in the lower back, in the lumbosacral space, to reduce stress and anxiety;
- at the level of the solar plexus, to reduce digestive disorders;
- two-thirds of the spine (starting at the back of the neck), to relieve back pain and kidney problems;
What are the techniques of acupressure?
To be effective, acupressure uses several digital techniques, such as massage with the fingers, hands, elbows and feet. Depending on the objective, it is recommended to choose the most suitable method. Here are the easiest to make at home.
The concentric circles around an acupressure point performed with the fingertips or with the palm of the hand act on the superficial tissues.
- Circular massages with the fingertips, the back of the hand or the elbow soften the tissues.
- The pushing of the tissues by the thumb, the edge of the hand or the palm of the hand acts in depth.
- Pinching between the thumb and forefinger before gradual release helps reduce pain in the muscles or tendons.
- The palpate and roll between the two hands helps tone muscles and tissues.
- The gradual pulling and relaxation of acupressure points helps stimulate the flow of vital energy.
What are the benefits of acupressure for dogs?
Acupressure is a practice resulting from traditional Chinese medicine which is recognized for its benefits both on the animal and on its owner. It can be practiced at home for its virtues, the main ones of which are as follows.
- Stimulate the circulation of energies within the body: the session allows the owner and the dog to share a moment of calm, relaxation and concentration which facilitates the perception of the inner vital force.
- Stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation: touching and handling stimulate these two types of circulation within the dog’s body, which helps in particular to strengthen its muscles and tissues, but also to tone and beautify its skin.
- Relieve pain: touching and stimulating specific points helps reduce pain. It thus helps to improve the mobility of an elderly dog.
- Strengthen the immune system: Stimulation of the vital force by touching acupressure points helps strengthen the immune system.
- Reduce stress: Stimulation of positive energies in the body promotes their development at the expense of negative energies, which helps relieve stress and anxiety. In particular, it helps the animal to better endure certain stressful or upsetting events such as a move, the arrival of a baby in the home, the loss of a loved one, etc.
- Promote inner peace and well-being: the preparation and the course of an acupressure session helps to develop the well-being of the dog and his owner.
- Develop and strengthen the relationship between the dog and his owner: acupressure uses touch, manipulation, caresses and palpation, actions and a good moment of sharing between the dog and his owner who tends to develop their bond and their confidence.
Acupressure has the advantage of not presenting a risk for the animal. Even if his master is a beginner, he cannot hurt him. Also, it doesn’t just apply to sick or ailing animals, but it can help every pooch feel better, more peaceful, less anxious, and more toned.