by Dr. Isla Fishburn (reprinted with author's permission)
Canine wellness is about physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of your dog. In order to maintain balance in your dog as a WHOLE organism, we have to observe and analyse several aspects of your dog’s life from before birth to present day. Over the next 12 days of wellness I will introduce you to some of the concepts of wellness, what these include and what we need to consider on a daily basis to optimise the health and longevity in our dogs.
Today, we are going to look at a SENSE of PEACE.
On the first day of wellness I talked about how the cells in any animal seek safety. Yesterday I talked about the importance of Qi and how this should move freely throughout the body to achieve balance. Your dog’s body will thrive when things are in balance, also known as homeostasis. When physical, mental and emotional stressors exceed the body’s ability to cope, imbalances begin. Your dog’s body may have to constantly try to catch up and this will deplete your dog’s resources, energy and balance. Of course, if your dog is not having his/her nutritional needs met, then this can speed up any imbalances that may arise.
In order to optimise your dog’s wellness, your dog’s WHOLE body needs to feel a sense of peace, and it is a vital part of homeostatic regulation. Remember those cells in our body I keep going on about? Well, it is important to remember that all of us are made up of these cells and it is these cells that are affected by every experience your dog has as well as creating an effect within the body. These cells seek homeostatic regulation and are constantly striving to feel or return to a sense of peace. A sense of peace provides balance, healing and rest. As such, cells are seeking one sensation – peace, happiness and joy. These biochemical sensations tell these cells (and the whole body) that everything is safe and well.
If your dog has physical, mental or emotional issues and imbalances, then your dog is more likely to not be feeling a sense of peace at a cellular level. Or, certainly, their body has to work harder to achieve this homeostatic regulation. It may only be a matter of time where you will begin to see further imbalances in your dog unless we make sure your dog’s cells are exposed to peace…and lots of it.
Yesterday I talked about movement and how this is important for your dog’s wellness. Of course, having physical exercise is important and liberating for any animal. Physical exercise is vital to ground the body. Yet, how can we ground the mind and cellular energy of our dogs?
One way we can achieve this is by not moving at all, in the sense of becoming emotionally still. All thoughts, all worries, all movement stops and this allows for the cells to be surrounded in stillness, peace and tranquility. We can focus on breath (at a subconscious level), because breathing itself can control emotional states, release sensations of pain as well as both physical and emotional tension.
But, how do we get our dogs to focus on their breath and at a subconscious level? The answer is easy and fun too, because it is something both you and your dog can enjoy and do together. Do you meditate and have you ever tried meditating with your dogs? Meditation is brilliant for grounding the mind and providing an opportunity for your dog and his/her cells to feel peace – that very vital sensation for wellness.
I will regularly meditate with my dogs and I find the experience liberating and connecting to both nature as well as my dogs. Meditation allows for breathing to become deeper and slower, telling the body that it is and can be in a relaxed state. Remember, this is what our cells are seeking for homeostatic regulation, so providing this as part of your dog’s routine will certainly be supporting your dog’s wellness and ability to remain or achieve balance.
It is worth noting again that we are all made up of energy given that our bodies produce and generate energy as a result of chemical and electrical processes that occur at a cellular level. This energy can become unstable, erratic, stagnant or depleted due to physical, emotional, dietary or spiritual imbalances. By using techniques, such as meditation (but there are others), we work on bringing the dog’s body back in to alignment with its natural self and allow for the energy to flow correctly and naturally.