Relief for Aching Paws Canine Massage Therapist Finds Success with 4-Legged Clients

By Blaska, Jill | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 6, 2006 | Go to article overview

Relief for Aching Paws Canine Massage Therapist Finds Success with 4-Legged Clients


Blaska, Jill, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Jill Blaska Daily Herald Correspondent

Humans aren't the only ones who love a good back rub. Growing numbers of dogs are receiving holistic treatments including massage, essential oils treatments, Reiki and triggerpoint myotherapy to relieve a variety of ailments.

Sue Olmos has been practicing canine triggerpoint myotherapy for 11 years. Olmos, 61, of Naperville, has established a successful practice, written a text book and is currently teaching the fourth annual certificate program in canine myotherapy through the Continuing Education department of Harper College.

The Daily Herald caught up with Olmos between sessions with her four-legged clients.

Q. What is canine myotherapy?

A. "Myo" is Greek for "muscle." I use this term apart from "massage" because I am not a licensed human massage therapist, and don't want to mislead the students into thinking that I am. I teach way beyond basic massage strokes.

Q. What do students learn in your class?

A. The class covers skeletal anatomy, muscular system, neurology, myotherapy techniques, conformation, biomechanics and movement analysis, perpetuating factors that lead to muscle dysfunction, complementary modalities, common physical and medical disorders and establishing a practice.

Students will be adept at triggerpoint myotherapy. They'll have exposure to ways they can enhance their practice through nutritional counseling and in appreciating how other modalities fit into the wellness picture for their future clients. Being able to confidently refer people to conventional vets, animal chiropractors, acupuncturists or hydrotherapists will make them a more holistic practitioner.

Q. After earning the certificate, what types of careers will most students pursue?

A. Many want to set up private practices. Some will incorporate these skills into their current role as a dog groomer, pet sitter or trainer. A few will look for opportunities in canine wellness spas, which are a growing trend. Others will work in daycare centers or vet clinics.

Q. Why would a dog need a massage?

A. Lots of reasons - post-op rehab, injury, muscle dysfunction, hip dysplasia, arthritis, geriatric issues, newborn trauma, performance enhancement for athletic dogs - or just because it feels darn good.

Q. Do you practice myotherapy on other animals?

A. I was certified equine and canine myotherapy, but stopped doing horses this year.

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Relief for Aching Paws Canine Massage Therapist Finds Success with 4-Legged Clients
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