The Tellington Touch is a method used to enhancing the mental, emotional and physical well being of your companion animal. It is used to support the care, training and behaviour modification of your animal with the advantage being a deeper rapport between the humans and animals.
TTouch differs from massage because it manipulates only the skin not the deeper tissue and is designed to stimulate the nervous system and bring awareness to parts of the body that may have been holding tension.
Unlike massage, which should cover most of the body TTouch can be effective when used on even a small area of the body.
Underlying Principles of TTouch
Mindful – Awareness:
Paying attention to what we are doing at any given moment and how our actions contribute to what is going on around us.
Non Habitual Movement:
Awakens new brain cells and activates unused neural pathways. The benefits are:
- the ability to learn is enhanced;
- confidence increases; and
- new choices are possible.
Holding our breath creates stiffness and tension, blocks awareness and connection. Maintain regular easy breathing.
Visualise what you want, but leave the possibilities open.
Calming the use of the voice, drawing out and quieting your words.
Note: Each massage technique has a unique animal name.
TTOUCH Massage Techniques
Basic Touch (Clouded Leopard TTouch)
The basic TTouch is a circle and a quarter made by holding a relaxed hand and arm position and touching the body with the thumb, allowing the first three fingers to rest gently on the skin (the fourth follows).
The skin should be gently pushed around starting form the ‘six’ position (the part closest to the ground- imagine a clock) in a clockwise direction and completing a circle and a quarter between the eight and the nine.
The amount of pressure used is dependent on the sensitivity of the animal but start with a light pressure. The lightest possible pressure you can use to move the skin of your eyelid around.
This TTouch is done with the tips of the fingers used on the head, around the mouth, on the feet and the whole body (helps with shy and fearful animals).
Ear Work is a staple for TTouch. Start at the base of the ear with small possum TTouches, stroking gently. Sliding the fingers along the ear stimulates the acupuncture points in the ear. The tip of the ear is particularly effective in helping with stress or shock.
From behind or to the side of the dog gently support the muzzle with one hand. Use the other hand to do possum TTouches along the lips. If the dog is comfortable, do the possum TTouches along the gums (Helps with barking, chewing and licking, hyperactivity and relaxation).
Uses the pads on the heel of your hand and most of the finger. Lying leopard is a variation of the clouded leopard. It is often done slightly faster at first and then slower as the animal relaxes. [Helpful with sensitive dogs]
The whole hand is placed on the leg or body with just enough pressure to slightly lift the skin and the muscle. Hold for a few seconds and breathe out and return the skin to the starting point slowly (helps with balance and gait).
Lift the tail and stroke down the tail several times to introduce your hand to the tail. Using one hand near the base, circle the tail around in both directions; sliding your end down the tail in a series of gentle pull and hold movements each lasting a few seconds (helps with fear of noises and balance problems).
Curving your fingers separately (like a tiger paw) use each finger to simultaneously make clockwise circles with the nails and the fingertips. Use this touch with slightly more pressure (helps with stressed and hyperactive animals).
Support the leg and gently circle the leg around in a clockwise direction. This is not a stretch but helps with the mobility of the joint.
Working on the same principle as the python lift except done with a towel or your linked hands. Start just behind the forelegs, passing the towel under the animal, lifting with both hands evenly and hold for two to four seconds. Breathe out as you release slowly to your starting point (helps with timid animals, stress).
Lick of the Cows Tongue
Using diagonal strokes against the grain, start from under the ribs and move up towards the shoulder. This can also be done on the rear quarters (helps with balance and continuity).
Starting near the shoulder with your fingers pinched loosely together, move your hand down and back towards the stomach, opening your fingers as you go. Then Zag back towards the spine closing your fingers as you move, continue towards the tail (helps with balance and continuity, helps to slow anxious dogs).
Tarantulas /Pulling the Plough (Incey Wincey)
Starting with your thumbs together and your fingers spread like big spiders, place your thumbs against the grain of the fur and push a small roll of skin while walking your fingers forward (good for connecting the front and back of an animal.
This touch is often used for finishing a session and can be used for introducing a session as well. Long, smooth stroke starting from the head working down to the tips of the tail and paws, should be done all over the animals body.