JudithCatherine Lam – Maui’s Only Massage Therapist for Dogs

June 22, 2012, 10:35 AM HST
* Updated July 5, 10:40 AM
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By Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez

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Certified Canine Massage Therapist JudithCatherine Lam with her two Labrador Mix dogs, Churchill Graham (left) and Francesca Le Bon Bon. Photo by Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez.

At first, most of those who hear of JudithCatherine Lam’s work seem amused. But Lam is used to an initially skeptical audience.

Lam is the only certified therapeutic canine massage therapist on Maui and one of just three in Hawaii.

While there are canine massage therapists in 12 countries, all certified by the International Association of Animal Massage and Body Work (IAAMB), Lam is the first to bring this unique vocation to Maui.

She finds that those who are unfamiliar with Therapeutic Canine Massage are also often unfamiliar with the fact that all of the top dog shows in the nation use this technique as a standard practice at each dog show to prepare the animals before competition and to relax them after the show is over.

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According to Lam, massage therapy enhances muscle tone and range of motion and reduces inflammation and swelling of the joints. Other benefits include increasing the flow of nutrients to the muscles, carrying away excessive fluids and toxins and the stimulation of the release of endomorphins, long recognized as natural painkillers.

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Dogs cannot voice their hurts, injuries and poor muscle movements. However, a trained therapist can locate injuries and sore spots and add healthy years to a dog’s life. Photo by Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez.

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“Dogs cannot voice their hurts, injuries and poor muscle movements,” Lam said. However, as a trained therapist Lam can locate injuries and sore spots and with a regular regime of therapeutic massage bringing healthy years to a dog’s life.

“You don’t have to have a show dog for Canine Therapeutic massage,” said Lam. “It’s beneficial for all types of dogs, young, old, active, inactive, healthy and those suffering from injuries.”

When is the best time to start your dog on a regime of therapeutic massage? Lam suggests starting as young as 6-months of age with a massage on an average of once a month. This can be modified for each individual dog as necessary. The massage is done in Lam’s studio and takes approximately two hours.

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A canine massage has several parts to it. First is the initial home visit. This is to see the dog in its normal habitat. Then the dog is walked and assessed. After the assessment the dog is massaged followed by brushing and combing. Then there is another walk and another assessment. All of this work is documented shared with the dog’s owners.

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Canine massage therapy enhances muscle tone, range of motion and reduces inflammation and swelling of the joints. Other benefits include increasing the flow of nutrients to the muscles, carrying away excessive fluids and toxins. Photo by Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez.

What if you have an active dog and a big yard for it to play in? “Even active dogs benefit for canine massage therapy,” said Lam. Dogs can injure themselves just running around and if an injury is not treated it can develop into a serous fibrosis making it difficult for the dog to move as the untreated injury progresses.

Lam is bringing the benefits of a scientific and respected treatment process to Maui that is still little known in Hawaii and yet it may just be the thing your dog has been barking for lately.

As for the cost? $80 for a two hour session, but there are various package deals, such as the one-month maintenance plan of four sessions for $210.

To find out if your dog could use a therapeutic massage call Lam at 808-495-0187 or connect with her on the Internet at [email protected].

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