Elemental Acupressure for Animals - Basic Guidelines

Techniques: Finger pressure, Finger circles, Thumb Pressure, Knuckle Pressure, Elbow Pressure, Pulsing, Sliding, Pressure with hand tools

Basic Instructions: Place one to four fingers on the point and press gently and slowly into the animal’s skin. Press as deeply as the animal accepts comfortably. You can also plant your fingers and move them in small, slow circles in either direction. Just be sure to move the skin as you circle instead of sliding over the top of the skin. Go very slowly; it should take you four full seconds (“one Mississippi, two Mississippi…) to make one revolution or to apply your pressure. Breathe deeply while you perform the acupressure. This encourages full relaxation in your animal and helps you to stay as relaxed and focused as you can. If you want, imagine energy flowing through your hands into the point in a gentle healing manner. In most cases, repeat the acupressure on both sides of the animal. If one side is especially sensitive, spend more time on the opposite side. For more detailed instructions, please visit our web site to learn more about our acupressure educational products and books.


Pressure: Average situation- Deep but gentle, press only to level of animal’s comfort. Crisis - Use only light if the animal is acutely sensitive to pressure.


Duration: Average situation- 10 to 60 seconds. Deeply deficient condition- up to 2 minutes (rarely longer).


Hold the pressure at the point from 10 to 60 seconds depending on the reaction of the animal. 30 to 45 seconds are usually enough but longer is nice if the animal is enjoying it. Always allow your animal to guide the duration of the work. Watch for signs of relaxation like deep breathing, closed eyes, sighs, lowered head posture or licking and chewing. If the animal is uncomfortable with the acupressure, reduce your pressure, slow down your movement, and breathe more deeply. If the acupressure makes the animal unusually agitated, discontinue the work and consult a veterinarian and/or an animal acupressure practitioner.


Frequency: Average situation- 1-4 times a week. Crisis- 1-3 times a day.
Note: Some points like Ting points, are ok to use daily.

Accuracy:  Most acupressure points are about the size of a quarter (i.e.: about 3 cm) on the animal so don’t be too worried about persnickety accuracy. Remember the “Fudge Factor. Still, learning the standard point location, getting as close as you can and then focusing your work on the most energetically “charged area in the region will optimize your results. Remember that your intention is the most important factor. Basically, as Serge King says, “Energy flows where attention goes.


Safety Tips for working with Horses: When you work with horses, remember to position yourself safely, especially with horses who have poor body awareness or aggressive tendencies. Remember that horses may react in uncharacteristic ways when receiving acupressure. Never stand directly in front of or behind a horse. When working on the legs, protect yourself by using a check movement. When working on a horse’s upper leg, hold a soft fist in the triceps or thigh area. When working on a horse’s lower leg, place a hand over the front of the cannon bone. Also, never, ever kneel on the ground when you work with horses.


Safety Tips for working with Dogs: With dogs who tend to bite, be sure to pay attention to warning signs like growling or body tension. You can also keep one hand gently over the neck of a lying dog to keep him from rising to bite. Of course these situations are all rare, most animals love acupressure. But pay attention and stay present to avoid surprises and ALWAYS let your animal guide your work.


VERY IMPORTANT! Acupressure is never intended to replace proper veterinary care. If you think your animal is in trouble, call the vet NOW and ask if you can do acupressure for relaxation while you are waiting for the vet to come to your horse or while you are transporting the dog or cat to the clinic. Please remember that as a massage practitioner you never diagnose or treat animals with acupressure; you only supplement their care with safe and simple methods of touch. Proper diagnosis should always come from a trusted veterinarian.




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