There are many benefits of massage. Massage increases relaxation by lowering anxiety levels, diminishing nervous tension, lowering blood pressure, slowing respiration and soothing the nervous system. Massage also speeds muscle recovery after exercise and reduces recovery time from injuries. It does this by increasing blood circulation, increasing metabolic wasted removal, decreasing inflammation, increasing oxygen and nutrient supply to tissues and by decreasing pain. Maintaining movement is another benefit of massage. This is accomplished by stretching the connective tissue, relieving cramps and muscle spasms, increasing flexibility and range of motion, decreasing muscle tension, improving muscle tone and increasing scar tissue mobility.
Even though massage has many benefits there are times when massage should not be used. Any animal that is feverish, is pregnant in the 1st or 3rd trimester, has a systemic infection, has any cancerous tumors, is in the acute stages of a viral disease or has in infectious disease should avoid having a massage until a Veterinarian declares them fit. Any open or healing wound, skin problems or calcification of soft tissues require a modified massage procedure in which the affected areas are avoided. If there is any doubt as to whether an animal should by massaged or not, a consultation with the attending veterinarian is required.