Do you wonder, "Is my dog struggling to cope with change?" and "How can I support my pup's well-being?" during these uncertain times? How about letting your dog feel calm, relaxed, and present with a soothing full body massage that will strengthen your bond and help you both feel more connected to one another?
If you're a dog mom or dog dad whose fur baby is your closest companion, then massage is a wonderful technique that will leave you both feeling soothed and restored. Dog reflexology is a great way to keep your dog’s mind relaxed as you spend meaningful, quality time together.
Let's review the origins of reflexology and how these powerful, soothing techniques have been applied in order to calm our canine friends.
Where did dog reflexology originate?
Dog reflexology, sometimes interchangeably referred to as acupressure, is an ancient healing technique with some of its origins in Japan. While traditional acupuncture uses needles to activate the pressure points, acupressure uses the thumbs and index fingers. This makes acupressure a safe and non-invasive way to provide holistic healing to a pet (or their humans).
Which pups are good candidates for canine acupressure or reflexology?
If you live with a high-energy dog, it can get frustrating trying to calm the ever-excited bouncy pup. When high energy pups are not able to get outside or need to be restrained for long periods of time, for instance while traveling in a vehicle, it becomes especially challenging to keep them calm. Even a dog with a naturally calm disposition can feel heightened anxiety at times, and for these pups as well, acupressure can be a great tool.
Massaging the various pressure points of such a dog provides a transformative, soothing and calming effect. There are additional benefits as well. Canine reflexology is ideal for rehabilitating a dog with injuries. It can help relieve muscle and joint pain to provide gradual relief to an ailing dog. Dog massage techniques combined with the right pet care products can improve a dog’s health immensely.
Finally, dog massage or reflexology is perfect for rewarding a pup for good behavior. Applying acupressure to the various canine pressure points stokes relaxation and pleasure. Your pup will always look forward to your one-on-one spa sessions because they anticipate the thrills of it.
Pup tip: dog massage is a great way to bond with your pup. Your physical touch promotes bonding and makes your pup feel loved and cared for by his favorite human.
What do you need for canine reflexology?
You can perform dog massage in the comfort of your home using these simple tools. You will need:
- A quiet environment
- A clean rug for your dog to lie on
- (optional) Pup WaxTM paw balm, a great all-over balm even for noses!
How to apply canine acupressure in the five main pressure points
To successfully perform acupressure on your dog, you have to be aware of their various pressure points. All canines have roughly 5 main pressure points. They include:
- Yin Tang (between the eyes)
- Yang Tang (the tempos)
- Stomach 36
- Shen Men
Yin Tang dog reflexology
This is the area between the eyes and eyebrows. In a pup, massaging this area brings instant relaxation and improves the canine's focus. Yin Tang is perfect for a dog that has a short attention span.
Yin Tang acupressure is performed with your thumbs. Your other fingers go under the dog's muzzle to hold him steady. If desired, rub some Pup WaxTM on your hands and gently massage between the eyes in slow circular motions. The smooth movements of your thumbs can relax your dog's mind. You can alternate this with up and down thumb movements to relax your dog even further.
Pup tip: Some dogs may not respond to Yin Tang right away. You may have to massage other pressure points first before coming back to the head.
Yang Tang dog reflexology
Yang Tang refers to pressure points located on the dog’s tempos. You will need your first two fingers (index and middle) to gently massage this area. Your last two fingers should hold your dog’s head steady while you massage.
Rub a bit of Pup WaxTM in your hands before you start massaging the yang tang pressure points. This is also a great way to bond with your dog as you both stare into each other’s eyes.
Baihui dog reflexology
Massaging the Baihui pressure points (lower back at the base of the tail) invokes relaxation and a feeling of well-being. This acupressure technique is ideal for dogs that have lots of pent up energy.
Ensure your pup is lying on their side. Apply Pup WaxTM balm to your fingertips and gently make circular soothing motions around the sacrum. Alternate between light and medium pressure to reach the nerves and muscles.
Baihui acupressure helps dogs get in tune with themselves. If you have a pup that seems restless and frantic, this technique can help to ground them and bring them into the present.
Pup tip: Some dogs are sensitive about their tails being touched. Avoid the tail if your dog indicates any discomfort.
Stomach 36 (or St 36)
Most humans are invited by pups to discover this on their own, but massage this area and your pup will be loyal to you for life. This is the belly area close to the hind legs. It is an area of skin that feels tender to touch. Massaging with your whole palm instantly activates relaxation in your dog. This is a particularly great area for applying Pup Wax OriginalTM or Pup Wax LuxeTM . The beeswax in Pup WaxTM can help improve inflammation and fight bacteria in the Stomach 36 area. This massaging wax also contains organic shea butter that is absorbed into the skin. Shea butter improves capillary circulation in the stomach area, promoting a healthy gut.
Shen Men (Ht 7 and Pe 6)
In dogs, these points are targeted with paw massage. There are various benefits to massaging your pup’s paws:
- It helps dispel heat and anxiety
- It clears your dog’s mind
- It can calm your dog’s spirit
Apply Pup WaxTM to your own hands, rubbing it between your palms to warm and soften it. Hold your dog’s paws and massage them making up and down motions with your fingers. Alternatively, lay your pup down to work on one paw at a time if they are more comfortable that way. Of course, if you notice any dryness or cracking of the paw pads, be sure not to miss those areas with the Pup WaxTM. Don't forget to gently check for dry spots between the toes as well!
Pup tip: Touching your dog's paws may activate their instinct for play. Ensure your dog has properly exercised earlier in the day before performing this acupressure technique in order to achieve the greatest benefit.
Dog reflexology not only relaxes your dog, but it addresses some canine behavioral issues as well. Ensure your dog is in a quiet non-distracting place for the massage. You will need one or both hands to massage the various pressure points. Pup WaxTM makes a great all-over massage balm!
Acupressure is a great way to connect with your pup. Try it and let us know how it worked with #pupwaxpawsitivity