In the wild, social grooming (by licking) provides the touch stimulation needed to thrive, and hunting and free-play keeps the animal’s body toned and fit. Many of our domesticated friends, confined to the home or small yard, miss out on these activities.
*Domesticated dogs and cats tend to be more infantile and dependent in their behavior than their feral counterparts. While petting does provide loving attention and touch, massage goes a step further.
The benefits of massage for animals parallels those for humans. In fact, when you think about it, many findings in massage and touch research were initially proven with lab animals. Animal experiments evaluating the physiological effects of massage began as early as the 1800’s. In the 1980’s, Touch Research Institute began their investigation of the importance of tactile stimulation using rat pups as their subjects. At present, studies are being conducted with animal models to track ions involved in the biological process of touch. In addition, the Chinese have produced numerous studies documenting the effects of Eastern modalities on animals. By extrapolating to humans and continuing with studies on bipeds, researchers have provided evidence of the many benefits of touch and massage.