The benefits of stretching

Dog doing morning stretches

Vera does her morning yoga (photo by Jenny Hamilton)

I remember watching a yoga video years ago where the instructor described the act of stretching as ‘making space in the joints.’

As a canine massage therapist, I think stretching is essential.  It lengthens muscles in a controlled and safe way to ensure good range of motion in the limbs and it helps to maintain blood flow to essential soft tissues.

As our dogs age, or when they are injured, then often need help with stretching (the same is true of people).  That’s where professional massage comes in – someone to help warm and stretch the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Owners can also learn to stretch their dogs; it’s something I include in special massage workshops for greyhound owners.  I’ve found that greyhounds, with their sleek builds and racing instinct, often tighten up when in a pet home or when they don’t get regular off-lead exercise.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand


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