Thursday, 30 July 2020

"Learning to walk again"

Hudson is an 8 and a half to 9 year old amazing soulful Bernese Mountain Dog rescued when he was a puppy as he grew too big. What his previous owners missed out on was that as he grew, so did his heart. 

This mountain of a boy was so so trusting during his first ever physical therapy session and oh so receptive. And when his eyes looked at me, they looked into me. 

He has 3 swollen vertebrae which cause him to be sore. The other week his tail was also down and he knuckled a little. Time for some massage help. 

He greeted me at the bottom of the back garden and guided me up to the patch of grass where we were to work in the shade. And there he sat for me. Magnificent back facing me waiting for the session to start. 

He generated a lot of heat on initial palpation which indicated tight fascia. Understandably so, as he had been holding himself scrunched up during this soreness flare-up. 

He was open to all massage techniques, enthusiastically with front end work. Imagine holding up that magnificent head all day – neck and shoulder muscles working overtime. Good place to start and build up the trust between us – not that he really needed that, he’d already decided I was welcome. 

He allowed gentle work on his tight back muscles, falling asleep when I placed the PEMF mat on him while also giving him Red Light therapy. Compound therapy. 

We ran though a series of stretching exercises for him – which woke him up for a short while before he flopped himself back on the ground to sleep while his Mum and I worked out a maintenance plan for him. 

On the second visit his Mum said that the day after, “it was as though he was learning to walk again” which is the best description I have ever heard of the untangling of fascial tension. His coat suddenly started to fit and months of holding himself tight due to the sticky fascia was suddenly freed. He found that he could start to walk with his head and back taller again. 

Hudson will be starting a regular therapy schedule with me to continue the work on his back soreness and help him further with his relearning how to walk, while I get more of his heart therapy Seems a good deal to me.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

"There...right there"

Vet Eili Dettmering has been visiting our Sarah for the past couple of years to give her Aculaser therapy for her arthritis and other issues. 

Recently, the arthritis in Mr Sam’s left shoulder has started to cause a few dips in the morning so she has been started therapy with him. Naturally, this put Sarah’s nose right out of joint as she believed that Auntie Eili was hers and not to be shared. Meanwhile Sam thinks these are the best Friday evening presents he’s ever had…Auntie Eili, therapy AND treats. 

But an even bigger way to put both noses out of joint, is for their Auntie Eili to then bring in her own two dogs for Dads to work with. Oh-so much whining noises for an hour. Sam and Sarah were not going to let us forget they were there first and were not to be ignored. 

We’ve been seeing Benny and Louie every now and again to help with their own issues. Their Mum first described Benny as ‘fast and bendy’ – he needs less work than his brother. Louie is the agility boy and is far more suspicious at first. He’d recently tightened up in his front muscles and mid back which needed some manual therapy to ease them. 

The best way to work with Louie is to not work on the issue straight away – that works with his anxiety. His mid back was quite reactive at first. But by concentrating on his shoulders and neck, the fascia started to relax and stretch, allowing me to start gentle work on his stiff back. Fascial work is quite amazing – you can work on one part of the body, but see another part visibly start to ease. Which is what Louie’s back did. 

You can clearly see the progression in these photos. The first was Louie going “Ok…..not sure but keep going”. The second was more “Ah…the neck is easing so I can relax”. The third was “THAT’S the spot…thank you”.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Best Feedback

Bobi and Pixie have a lovely sunny garden which is ideal for safe working. The dogs get their massage and heat therapy which is a double bonus. 

Both love their sessions enthusiastically – sometimes over keen. One minute Pixie can be purring contentedly in my arms and the next she is off racing round the garden showing her new flexibility. 

But she comes back. Equally Bobi can be lying on the ground smiling his oh-so handsome goofy smile and then he’s off in a wrigglefest. But the end result is always the same – two sparko dogs relaxed for the remainder of the day as in these pictures. 
We really can’t ask for better feedback.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Keeping up the good work

I hadn’t seen Rosie since last October but when her Mum saw that I had restarted work safely, she contacted me for a visit. 

She is nearly 14 and received lots of good wishes and new fans when I first visited her and posted her story.

Since then, her family have been working with her daily which has transformed her myofascial twitches (there are none now) and increased her Massage Diva-ness (she complains when Mum stops) 

Her Mum said she has started to stumble sometimes when her rear legs cross. Ah….we know all about that with our Sarah. We call it Twizzling where she seems to turn round too fast and her feet stay in the same place – crossed. Sometimes she can pick herself up, but sometimes a Twizzle results in a bump and a need to be helped back up. 

Also, like our Sarah, Rosie is starting to struggle a little getting up and down. Certainly, time for a massage check-up and see if we can add new techniques to help her further. 

We started our session in the back garden, in the sun. Warmth and massage – great combination. But the sun was rather too hot and Rosie decided to aim toward the back door to get back to the coolness of the indoors. Which is where we went. The dog directing the therapy session again. 

She is still a lot softer and looser than the first visit but her rear end needed some extra help with gentle pumping massage to help nourish the muscles. There was also a spot in her back which caused her to reach round to me with a huge grin and a “Ah…..there…just there Uncle Les” expression. 

The second half of the therapy session took place on Rosie’s sofa – which used to be Mum’s sofa until Rosie claimed it. There is now a Rosie indentation in her favourite spot. She uses her front end muscles a lot more which needed some classic deep tissue work. 

After the Bi-Location therapy session, she could barely keep her eyes open at the end. 

Hopefully, when the world settles down, we can get Rosie to hydrotherapy to help support and target the rear end muscles without having to use them to hold up her body. Until then, I know she is in good hands with her Mum. 

Monday, 6 July 2020

PaawHouse magazine were looking for stories where the owner had been inspired by their dog. 

Hmm...sounded just like our Sarah. Can’t get more inspiring than helping your Dad totally change career. 

I put the writing hat on again and her story has just been published.

Sarah's Story


Multimodal therapy in one session

Rescue girl Bambi had developed a limp from her right rear leg which has been slow to respond to rest or medications. 

Bambi was lying on the mat with the PEMF mat below and started her therapy session laying there while also receiving Red Light Phototherapy. That’s 2 therapies. 

Bambi then had the smaller PEMF mat directly on her rear leg while I gave her some massage. Therapies = 3 

Chris then took over with Bambi and gave her some Trigger Point therapy and stretching. Therapies up to 4. 

At the end she did not want to leave the treatment room. Relaxation = therapy 5. 

Multimodal in one session. 


Saturday, 4 July 2020

New Best Friend

Sometimes, you meet a dog for the first time and they immediately decide that you are to be their Best Friend Forever – and it is reciprocated. 

Meet 3 year old Golden Retriever Archie. A big goofy soppy cuddly fluff ball. We worked in the garden and he simply sat on me – for 45 minutes. My legs had totally gone to sleep by the end but Archie was not going to miss one millisecond of his therapy. 

He had been displaying stiffness in his back. He greeted me through the front gate with the biggest smile “Oh hi…you’re Dr Les. I love you already” before sitting on me as I made myself comfy on the lawn. 

As soon as I touched his lower back, he just threw his head up with a huge grin – that was the spot. Heat came from the area, his eyes rolled in bliss and his smile reached his ears. 
The tension had worked itself up his spine into his neck. He adored all the attention and help. 

After a while he turned over and gave an enormous stretch on his back – a stretch that went all the way from his neck to his tail. No tension there now. I said to his Mum to look at the stretch, when he huge looked up at me and stretched his front legs even further – just to show us both that he could. So many times, when talking about a dog with their Mum or Dad during a session, the dog seems to listen and display what we are talking about. In Archie’s case, it meant a l-o-n-g dog.

He even managed to have a darn good scratch at the end, which he hadn’t been able to do. 

When he walked off he had his Retriever mince back, his fur was positively flowing around his like a prize Afghan Hound and he was soooo happy. 

An amazing boy and my latest BFF.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Job done

I hadn’t seen handsome collie Bob for a couple of years. Recently he had an operation with some uncomfortable post-surgical complications requiring restriction of his mobility and wearing a collar so he couldn’t get to the wound site. 

All this made Bob an unhappy boy. His Mum rightly asked if I could go over to give him a check over before he resumes normal Bob Duties. 

When I last visited, Bob kept his toy ball in his mouth throughout. This time it was a deer antler. Things don’t change – just the comforter. At the first session, he was a textbook dog to work with. At that time, I imagined the conversation in his collie head going something like : 

“Ok…that was lovely but I’ll just go for a walk round the sofa” 

“And hello I’m back” 

“Ok…I’ll go for a walk again” 

“And bring back my toy to hold” 

“Ok…I’ll go and sit by Mum and rest against the sofa” 

“Oh this is nice, I’ll just close my eyes” 

“Hmm…I’m sliding down onto the floor” 

“Ok, I’ll just stay here and sleep” 

“I feel like a stretch….oooooo… l-o-n-g stretch” 

“And I’ll do another one – ‘coz I can now” 

Still nothing changes. The script was exactly the same except we were in a different room and he couldn’t get round the sofa. Otherwise it was lots of “oohs and ahhs” interspersed with “I have to walk away for a moment – but I’ll be back”. It was as if he had speech bubbles coming out of his mouth his reactions were so clear. 

And he slid down on the floor in front of the sofa – just as I told his Mum he would. Which is where he stayed. 

His lack of activity plus discomfort had scrunched him up – tight neck and back. Just touching them started to make him longer and release the heat from the restricted fascia. I could see how long he was getting by the space he was taking up in front of the sofa. 

At the end, he got up, did an enormous Dog Yoga stretch one way and then the other. Big shake. And dropped the antler as though it were a Mic Drop! Very dramatic Bob. 

I think that was a Job Done moment.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Canine Reiki

Recently, 7 year old Miniature Dachshund Rufus started dipping slightly from his back left leg. In his short life, he has already undergone 2 major spinal operations due to fenestrated vertebrae and his Mum was rightly conscious of the need to help him through any new mobility issues as soon as possible. 

He appreciates some calming Reiki work during his massage, so Chris went to give a double therapy session. 

He was very excited to see him. And responsive, settling in for some muscle tension release and compression, which is one of his favourite techniques. All the while, also getting some calming Reiki. 

His Mum was astounded by his response and the way he looked even longer at the end of the session. His whole body also felt warmer and softer. He’d clearly been taking all the therapies in.

"Oh....she needed that"

We hear that quite a lot. A dog who hasn’t been able to settle, gets straight into the massage zone and stays there for the full hour long session. 

11 year old Staffie Pickle had just recovered from an operation which has limited her free walks. Her Dad wanted me to go over and give her a therapy session now that everything has healed so she doesn’t harm anything when she finally becomes harness-less. 

I’ve visited her 4 times now and she has her own pattern during the session. At first, she simply won’t settle, meaning I sit on the floor by the mat and catch up with her Dad until she decides she is ready. That can be 10 or 20 minutes. And she can settle anywhere in the room. Also during the session, she has several ups and downs. 

This time though, she totally amazed us both. She was ready on the mat within seconds. And her left arm (where she had been operated) was up in the air waiting for some help. 

And there she stayed. A full 60 minutes of snuffling, grunting, sighing, Staffie noises. But as soon as the session was over, she woke up, looked around as though to say “Oh….there you both are” and made her way to her favourite chair to sit in the sun for the rest of the day. A longer, happier more comfy Pickle than an hour previously. 

Yes, she needed that.