Our canine friends benefit from massage therapy, just as human clients do.
Massage therapist Jackie Limosani has made a career out of her passion for bringing massage therapy to dogs at her private practice and as a volunteer for animal rescue organizations.
Massage Techniques for Dogs
Limosani owns Pawsitively Peaceful Canine Massage in Park Ridge, Illinois. She offers canine massage sessions in the client’s home, so that the dog receives massage in a familiar environment. Her furry clients receive the same techniques people do—effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and compression.
She began studying canine massage and became certified in 2012 as a canine massage therapist. Limosani has completed several courses and seminars as part of her professional education and is a member of the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM), which administers exams on equine massage and acupressure, and canine massage and acupressure, which are based on the scope of practice for each discipline, according to the board’s website.
She says her passion for dogs began during her childhood, when she thought she would become a veterinarian, and eventually led her to canine massage, when she was looking for a way to help two of her own dogs, Bailey and Molly.
“I am absolutely drawn to dogs,” Limosani said. In order for a therapist to succeed as a canine massage therapist, he or she must be passionate about animals, she added, because “it is all about them.”
Canine massage’s many benefits are something Limosani loves teaching about at “pet parent” classes and special events.
Shelter Dogs Need Touch, Too
Limosani teaches and demonstrates massage therapy techniques on canine clients. Much of this is volunteer work or raises funds that Limosani then donates to nonprofit animal rescue organizations.
Limosani’s volunteer work helps dogs at a variety of nonprofit shelters and events in the Chicagoland area, including organizations such as Ceasers Heaven Animal Rescue, the Almost Home Foundation 5K Walk and Best Friends FURRever Animal Rescue.
“Jackie has a very special connection with the dogs through touch, through sense,” said Angela Johnson, founder and president of Ceasers Heaven Rescue. “Just her overall being there, her calmness, calms the dogs.”
Ceasers Heaven Animal Rescue is a nonprofit that rescues abandoned and homeless animals, mostly dogs, and saves them from high-kill shelters. The group also provides education “on responsible pet ownership, including the importance of spay/neuter, positive behavior training, and good nutrition,” a statement on the group’s Facebook page noted.
Limosani can take on the rowdiest puppies, Johnson said, “and after working on them for just five minutes, they are so relaxed.”
Benefits of Massage for Dogs
For Limosani, the real reason behind her work with dogs is a deep desire to bring healing and comfort to animals. She says that, while her business is very successful, she does not measure her success as a massage therapist in financial terms.
“When I work on a dog, for me it is exhilarating. I feel a great sense of accomplishment if I can get the dog to trust me, relax, let me work my magic and benefit from the physical and emotional outcomes of a gentle, loving massage,” said Limosani. “It is total bliss for me.”
Editor’s note: To learn more about canine massage, read “Canine Massage: Specialized Career Path Keeps Dogs Happy, Healthy,” by Ann Tarvin, C.M.T., H.T.P., in the December print issue of MASSAGE Magazine.
About the Author
Kaitlin Morrison is a freelance health and wellness writer living in Moses Lake, Washington. A former chiropractic assistant and health care publicity person, she now follows her passion of informing and educating her readers about health care, business and marketing.