Acupressure for your – and your pet’s – health

October 27, 2010 by  
Filed under At Home, Health

When most people think about acupressure they tend to think only about the benefits it can have for people. However, acupressure can also provide great benefits for dogs and other pets, particularly as they become elderly. Dogs, for example, love to be touched, petted and massaged, and they respond very well to this type of therapy. Used alone or in conjunction with alternative remedies, acupressure may result in significant improvement in your pet’s health.

Acupressure is acupuncture without the needles and many people find it very beneficial. Based on the same principles of acupuncture, it is the application of pressure on certain energy points of the body. In a gentle and non-invasive way, this pressure balances and releases the flow of blocked energy, enhancing health and mental stability.

Acupressure helps to improve the quality of life in elderly dogs suffering from hip dysplasia, arthritis, as well as every day aches and pains. At the same time, it can calm a new puppy and help ease the transition period when the puppy is brought into a new home.

Although acupressure is most commonly used to relieve pain and discomfort, it has many more benefits including strengthening the immune system, strengthening, muscles, tendons, joints, and bones, alleviates inflammation and swelling and releasing endorphins which calm and relieve pain as well as helping with behavioural issues.

Once you hve learned the necessary points, which you can do by first having a session with an therapist so they can show you where they are. Applying acupressure to your pet is actually a very simple technique. The most important thing to remember is that there must be a loving, calming, and trusting atmosphere. Acupressure is not a difficult process. It can be applied in the position that your pet likes best: standing, sitting, or lying down.

You can of course do this yourself, but you need to know where those points are so I would suggest an initial consultation with an accupressure therapist and say why you want the session to make sure they do work with animals or there is a website that will give you an idea of what you need to be looking for which I think is equally applicable to other household pets. You will see a tab at the top of the page to click on at at

Always begin a session by slowly petting and massaging your pet and then when they are in a relaxed state, you can move to the pressure points that you need to focus on. Once you have located the point, apply steady gentle pressure with your thumb or index finger. As you do this, visualize an even flow of energy going through that point into the body. The purpose of this visualization technique is to help you focus and not make any sudden movements that may distract the pet.

With a steady and gentle hand, increase the pressure and release it after five to fifteen seconds, always paying close attention to your pet’s body language. If they feel uncomfortable, release the pressure. However, please note that the maximum amount of time to hold the pressure is fifteen seconds. If you come across a tender spot, simply massage the tender area and as the pet relaxes, then slowly apply pressure to that point.

I have personal experience of using it when one of my cats had what seemed to be a stroke in the middle of the night. I did what we most naturally do for an animal in distress, I held and stroked and soothed and used my hands to relieve her discomfort by using the pressure points I knew. The following day she was lethargic but alert and has continued to improve, of course I checked with the vet as well but it seemed that simple contact and pressure did have a beneficial effect. The key is to make these sessions an enjoyable activity and many pets look forward to this activity while experiencing improvement in health

Pets and pregnancy – A warning

A new study shows that pregnant women who use flea and tick shampoos on pets may double the risk of autism in their children. This preliminary finding comes from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment study (CHARGE) – a case-control study from the University of California Davis, in the US.

The results are part of an ongoing research project which is following 2,000 children – some with autism, some with developmental delay, and some with typical development – and compares individual genetic patterns with exposure to medications, chemicals, food products, and other environmental factors.

It is believed that it is pyrethrins, commonly used chemicals in insecticides, that may play a role in triggering autism in certain children. Pyrethrins are extracted from Chrysanthemum flowers and are regarded as low in toxicity and there are commercial pyrethrum formulas that are considered safe to use in food preparation areas where flies and other insects can be found. One other product where Pyrethrins are widely used is in lice-control shampoos for humans and pets.

As I mentioned earlier, this is only a preliminary study but it would be a sensible precaution for pregnant women to avoid contact with lice-control shampoos. Let someone else shampoo the dog, or look for shampoos that treat lice naturally with ingredients such as tea tree oil, and not pyrethrins.