Since I started AchyPaw I’ve been an exponent of complementary therapy. When Marion and Dan kindly came up with the suggestion of AchyPaw as the name of the new business, that seemed all encompassing. It didn’t suggest we only worked on one issue or one technique but all sorts of aches and pains. I could have called the business AchyPaw Remedial Massage, Myotherapy, Acupressure, Education, Exercise, Advice, Maintenance, Rehabilitation, service but that would that never have fitted on my tee shirt. What we do is not a single technique based therapy but a multimodal approach. So what is the story?
A few months ago, our Sarah developed very sudden onset of idiopathic rear leg muscle wastage. Of course she was getting daily massage but that didn’t seem to help. We started to add more complementary therapies to the mix. These all started with a visit to the vet of course.
Our shopping list now reads :
1. Laser therapy. Our vets, Coastway, had just started laser therapy. We were one of the first to try it out. Sarah now loves her Uncle Jay who zips and zaps her on all sorts of settings for 30 minutes. We just think it is cool wearing the green laser-proof goggles.
2. Hydrotherapy. This is a new addition to the mix. Sarah doesn’t really enjoy the stretching parts but loves the swimming with Auntie Kimberley at Coastway. Three sessions in and the difference is beginning to show. She will never make the Doggy Olympics but she is a darn good paddler.
3. Massage. Of course this has to be added. Throughout the day I sit with her and work on this bit or that bit – the bit of leg and shoulder that she is not lying on. When I design a tailored massage routine for my clients, I try to make it short and do-able while being beneficial. I know that if I give them a 60 minute routine, it won’t get done. But make it 10 or 15 minutes and it will. The same with Sarah – a little often seems to keep her happier.
4. Acupressure. After my acupressure course there are a couple of really good acupoints that are guaranteed to make her sigh and relax. She adores her gentle massage along the Bladder Meridian and then working on her BL40, BL60 and KI3 points.
5. Adjustments to daily living. The house is already ‘foamed out’ with foam mattresses at places where they might just want to jump and crash land. New memory foam beds. Our lovely bamboo floor is now covered with IKEA carpet pieces – not chic but oh-so-much-more-comfy for slippy legs. Food bowls are already raised off the floor so no back aching stooping down to eat or drink. We’ve upped her glucosamine and chondroitin tablets which complement the turmeric and omega 3 she already gets. In the garden there are hand-built steps to ease any jumping. I think this is the true definition of a ‘dog friendly house’.
6. Energy healing. Sarah loves her visits from her Auntie Lou (of Touch of Reiki). She just lies down and sleeps through the entire session with a big fat soppy grin.
7. Rehabilitation. This is the latest addition. She is now moving well enough to try a few exercises. She can be a bit lazy (editors note : a bit!!! That’s an understatement) so exercise has to be fun and stimulatory. When I visit a dog client I always leave behind a personalised and tailored exercise plan. I now had to devise one for myself. Lou suggested that Sarah liked to walk over poles. Instead of splashing out on expensive cavaletti poles, I searched around our shed and garage and found brooms….lots of brooms. Who knew we had so many brooms? It was almost as if we had bought them in advance for this purpose. As shown in the pictures, our garden looks like a scene from a Harry Potter Quidditch game with all sorts of brooms on the grass. We started with simple lines then added in large and small circles. Add into that an ‘exercise slope’ (made out of an old car ramp) and we have our very own AchyPaw Sports Field. And she loves it. As soon as she hears me open the dried meat treat jar she is ready at the bottom of the exercise slope and prancing round the poles.
The moral of this story – adding several complementary therapies to the multimodal mix can be more powerful than a single therapy.