In this article I want to share with you my lifelong passion, which is Shiatsu therapy, explaining what it is and what kind of support it can offer to our pets.

Written by Marily Roumie, a licensed Shiatsu therapist, member of the EQUINE SHIATSU ASSOCIATION (tESA) and Ippothesis (Panhellenic Equine Protection Association).

Practicing the profession of Shiatsu therapist for animals (horses, dogs, cats) in Greece and abroad, I have treated many different cases of animals with muscle injuries, arthritis, dyskinesia due to age, respiratory problems, depression, stress, phobias or hormonal disorders – and Shiatsu therapy has helped them to relieve pain, maintain flexibility and generally improve their lives.
Shiatsu has even positively contributed to pain relief from osteosarcoma.
The art of Shiatsu (Shiatsu) is a health treatment that emerged comprehensively in Japan. The word “Shiatsu” literally means “finger pressure”. It comes indirectly from acupuncture, where it was applied in the traditional form of Japanese massage. Because it is considered a holistic treatment, it successfully addresses both the physical and psychological problems experienced by animals, just like humans.

…Shiatsu can reduce stress and soothe pain.

It has been shown that Shiatsu can calm the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and then stimulate blood and lymph circulation, reduce stress and soothe pain.
The most widespread approach to Shiatsu in the Western world was created by Shizuto Masunaga (1970, Tokyo). Masunaga’s system combines the traditional use of Shiatsu with Western psychology and the ancient approaches of Zen Buddhism and Taoism.
Zen Shiatsu is based on the theory of the five elements (fire, water, wood, metal and earth) combined with Western anatomy, physiology and pathology. The purpose of this approach is to find the root of any problem and address the cause, taking into account the current symptoms.
The therapist uses his or her thumbs, fingers and/or elbows to apply pressure and stretching to the whole body of the client, with the aim of ensuring physical and mental well-being.
By applying pressure to acupressure points (tsubos) in the body, energy pathways called “meridians” are activated, thus promoting the flow of vital energy (also known as “chi”). According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), obstructions to the flow of chi can contribute to a wide range of diseases.

The duration of the Shiatsu treatment can be from 10 to 60 minutes, depending on how easily our pet cooperates and how receptive it is to the treatment. Once the treatment is complete, it will take 1-2 days for the body to assimilate the changes felt and begin to balance, so that the owner can also notice the effectiveness of the treatment and initial improvements such as less stress, more relaxation, better movement and flexibility, and a change in mood and energy. The frequency of treatment is discussed with the owner and adjusted according to the type and degree of the problem the animal is experiencing.

Our beloved four-legged friends love Shiatsu because it is a gentle and non-invasive treatment. It is particularly helpful in treating the following conditions: – Muscle aches and pains – Back pain, lower back pain, lower limbs – Stress injuries – Fatigue, weakness – Arthritis – Digestive system disorders – Hormonal disorders – Respiratory problems – Weak immune system – Skin problems – Stress and nervousness – Depression – Low mood – Fears
One case with a very good outcome is our beloved Sucre, a 12 year old labrador. Sucre was suffering from musculoskeletal issues and arthritis in her paws and spine. Her symptoms were dyskinesia, instability in her hind limbs, joint pain – which is why she was constantly licking them – and occasionally she had allergies. Her first session was exploratory for me, where I started working all over her body with gentle pressure and stretching so I could feel what areas were blocked energetically. As I worked on her body, I watched her reactions so I could tell how well she was receiving her treatment.

I then focused on the meridians associated with her conditions. Sucre had relaxed so much that she fell asleep during treatment! The next day, her owner informed me that during the night the lab had a very good sleep and in the morning she was full of energy and joy. Her movement had improved incredibly and she had stopped licking her body.
After consultation we set up a protocol of sessions with her owner. Sucre currently visits me once a month for her therapy, where I find that her mood and movement is getting better and better.

You can give your pet Shiatsu treatments to maintain its health and clarity, preventing the appearance of any symptoms
One secret I’d like to share with you is that Shiatsu focuses on and works wonders in preventing disease – not just treating the problem, as is the case with physical therapy – because it keeps the body healthy, flexible and balanced and monitors energy changes that may be precursors to disease.
So, you can give your beloved pet Shiatsu maintenance treatments to maintain its health and clarity, preventing any problems from occurring.
I want to emphasize that in cases of fever, infections, open wounds, fractures, cancer, heart disease and pregnancy, you and the practitioner should consult your veterinarian before proceeding with any alternative treatment.

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