Studies have shown that touching a pet lowers blood pressure, lowers stress levels and increases self-esteem; people who own pets live longer than people who do not. Massaging a pet will benefit you both, as massage will reduce the anxiety levels of both you and your pet, will increase the bond between the two of you, will make your bunny easier to handle in general, can speed up his and/or your recovery from surgery or illness, and will allow you to check your bunny all over for any changes in bunny’s physical condition.
Massage is becoming more mainstream as an effective complement to traditional veterinary care, promoting stress relief, flexibility, proper digestion, circulation and a healthy nervous system. Massage increases range of motion, can ease inflammation and pain, and can even help bunnies with behavioral issues by increasing the trust level between the two of you. Weekly or daily massage allows bunny to gain confidence when being handled, and can lessen the stress bunny feels when being picked up and handled. You can start with just a few minutes and work your way up to longer sessions.
‘The Relaxed Rabbit: Massage for Your Pet Bunny’ is authored by professional massage therapist Chandra Moira Beal. Assisted by her mini-lop rabbit Maia, Chandra shares massage strokes designed especially for the pet rabbit. Chandra teaches how to massage the bunny from nose to tail and explains basic bunny anatomy and physiology, as well as addressing specific health and behavior issues. Massage is extremely beneficial for the rabbit with head tilt, for example, as the tilted head puts strain on the muscles of the neck, shoulder and back. It is important to keep these muscles limber and to maintain the bunny’s full range of motion.
Please dispel any notion that this is a dry, tedious, or complicated book! This book is a fairly quick read, with well-illustrated, easily understandable explanations on massage techniques for the house rabbit (although some of the basic strokes are the same ones used on humans). Even just a few minutes a day of massage is extremely beneficial to both bunny and owner, and ‘The Relaxed Rabbit’ simplifies the learning process.
‘The Relaxed Rabbit’ is a great book for any bunny owner, and can be purchased from your local bookseller or from Amazon.com.
In the slideshow, Clint, Beau, Moss, Peach, Geo, Horatio, Cookie and Guillermo all demonstrate the art of relaxation. With the exception of Cookie and G (the last photo), all of these rabbits live in the same (very relaxed) household in the UK!
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