Therapeutic Touch for Cats
Therapeutic touch (TTouch) therapy, a method devised by Linda Tellington-Jones, is a type of nonverbal
communication through cellular memory. The practitioner speaks to the cellular intelligence in her hands, which in turn speaks to the cells in the body. When working on animals, simply by placing your hands on the body and moving them in a circular manner, you create a kind of kinesthetic (sensory) interspecies communication.
Tellington-Jones initially studied the Feldenkrais Method, which opens new neurological pathways to the brain through the use of nonhabitual movements. She then developed her own techniques based on Feldenkrais’s work, beginning with the concept that every cell in the body knows its function. The use of the circular movement, when done with respect, increases the speed of healing at the cellular level.
Animals may actually be born with “habitual holding patterns,” but even the most resistant animals respond to this technique and learn to release stuck energy.
A Simple Technique to Get You Started Exploring Touch Therapy
Here’s a very simple technique that many touch therapists recommend. Hold your hands, if your cat will allow it, over a painful spot. See if you can let positive healing energy flow from you via your right hand into your cat, and let any negative or painful energy flow from the cat into your left hand. (If you are more comfortable using the opposite hand, this is fine, too.) Afterward— and this is very important for your self-care as a healer—shake your hands to release any negative energy from your body. Let the cat rest comfortably and use this healing energy in her own way. You may wish to consult with a TTOUCH expert at this point but you can also do some basics on your own.
HOW TO PRACTICE TTOUCH
TTouch involves making little circles all over the cat’s body (or just where needed). Imagine the face of a small clock, 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) in diameter, where you touch your cat. Begin at six o’clock and gently push the skin clockwise all the way around, past six and finish at nine. At nine o’clock, pause, lift your fingers, and begin again in another spot. It’s important to maintain a constant pressure and close the circles. Use your middle three fingers and make 1 and 1⁄4 circles at each spot, then move on and repeat. Rest your thumb and fourth finger (pinkie) against the cat’s body to steady your hand. This circular touch is called the clouded leopard touch.
Do not repeat the same spot twice and don’t connect three circles in a row (which we all tend to do initially).
Remember to lift your fingers as you close each circle and begin again. You may also use your left hand. (Generally, you would use your dominant hand, but for a larger animal, such as a big dog or horse, you may use both hands.)
Allow your hands to find their own way as they communicate with the cells of your animal companion. Try to tune into her breathing and her response to your touch. You may find your own breathing falls into sync with your cat’s. Concentrate on making the circles and on sensing the animal’s response. And, as always, approach your cat with respect.
THE BENEFITS OF TTOUCH
The circular motion (and other techniques) of TTouch seems to imprint on the animal’s cells more than simple petting or stroking, which although loving and beneficial, doesn’t seem to activate the cellular awareness in the same way. In addition to improving lymphatic and blood flow, TTouch is an excellent way to reduce stress in cats, which may even provide life-extension and anti-aging benefits.
TTouch can also be used with people and even newborn babies!
My Special Non-TTouch Relaxation Tip
My cats love this relaxing massage anytime of day! Try this, if your cat does not mind lying on her back on your lap, place her between your thighs, with your knees together, with the cat’s head resting
on your knees and the hind feet toward your tummy. Hold your cat with your thumbs under her armpits, and all of your fingers (both hands) on the cat’s neck. Commence a deep kneading action with your fingers and nails (if short enough) into her neck. Work from behind the ears, down into the shoulders. When done correctly, your cat will relax into utter bliss. Don’t worry if she tolerates this only briefly and then scoots away at first; she’ll most likely come to love it. This and all gentle forms of touch are an excellent way to create a blissful connection with your cats!
For more on holistic alternatives see: The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care, by Celeste Yarnall, Ph.D and Jean Hofve, DVM at CelestialPets.com