Small Animal / Canine session protocol
The first stage of the assessment process is made up of Four Examinations / Clinical Signs:
- I would ask the owner for a history of what is concerning their dog / cat and ask other questions to gain general information on their pet.
- During the session I would be observing the dog / cat more closely looking for indications of an imbalance or any physiological signs which may need exploring further.
- I would also be listening for any vocalisations, noises, rumbling digestive system, as well as observing for any odours (ears, nose, mouth, and note any released gas).
- In a relaxed manor, I would assess the dog / cat by carrying out a hands on general physical examination, investigating the texture of their fur, frame, examine ears, eyes and nose more closely. Colour of gums, clarity of eyes, health of their teeth. I will also be observing for any areas of tension, changes in muscle tone, areas of the body the animal may be guarding? I would take the animals pulse as part of the assessment process.
The second part of the session is known in TCM as ‘The Opening’.
I gently run the palm of my hand along the animal’s bladder Meridian (see diagram) three times each side. This helps prepare the animal for the session, and if they were to have further sessions they often remember and relax straight into the session.
Whilst opening the Bladder meridian, I would also be feeling for any temperature changes, swellings, reactions / responses from the dog / cat, If any of these occur I would note the Association Points to identifying the Meridian involved which is imbalanced.
From having checked the Association points, I then move on to check the Alarm points (located elsewhere on the body). If I found a reactive Association point, I need as part of the assessment to check it’s related Alarm. This helps to determine if the imbalance is occurring just at the surface Meridian level (only with Association points) or if the imbalance is occurring on a deeper level within it’s related organ, for example lung? Kidney? Spleen? etc.
From this part of the assessment through applying Traditional Chinese Medicine Principles, I would determine if the issues the dog / cat is experiencing are more Acute than Chronic? Excess or deficient? A Hot or Cold condition? From the information obtained from the assessment, I would devise a session principle with a session plan containing the relevant point work to address the imbalances found.
Acupressure session / point work
If an animal is not tolerant of much hands on work and is nervous, Acupressure can be carried out hands off with intention. Much like when Reiki healers perform hands off work in rescue centres the balancing effects will still take place. Often over time a dog or cat that is not accustomed to hands on work, realises and learns the relaxing effects of what is taking place and may go to the Acupressurist.
While carrying out point work, my assessment would be ongoing. I would be looking for any further changes, sounds and also importantly how the dog / cat may position themselves to me. Animals are very in tune to acupressure and will often present the area of their body they feel they need balancing. The way I work is very intuitive and dynamic, working with the dog / cat and how their energies are flowing within their meridians.
Post session evaluation
In this part of the session I would be asking the owner to make notes on how their pet responded after the session, together with changes in their symptoms which brought the owner to request acupressure.
The movement of Chi which takes place during an acupressure session circulates the entire body over 24 hours. Changes taking place can be seen over this 24 hours and days after. Each animal responds differently, as does their responses post session work.
The time period after a session aids with the assessment process if the dog / cat was to require a further session. Some dogs / cats sleep soundly while others have a burst of energy. Some may show increased stiffness if they presented with an arthritic condition, but once the Chi is flowing freely and blockages cleared these increased symptoms settle.
Following a session I would advise on any recommendations I feel will be of support to the dog / cat. Acupressure can stir many questions with the dog or cat owner, so I welcome any questions they may have about any aspect of the session or about acupressure and traditional Chinese medicine.