Touch Therapies / Visualization
"TTouch" (sometimes known as "Tellington Touch") is a therapy that was developed by Linda Tellington-Jones. It originally came out of her work with horses, in training them and handling what their owners considered to be behavioral problems. (That approach came to be called "TTEAM", or the Tellington-Jones Equine Awareness Method. The "Awareness" part came from Linda's involvement with the Feldenkrais method, "Awareness Through Movement".)
First of all, I urge you, whoever you are, to get hold of a copy of Linda's book The Tellington TTouch : A Revolutionary... Natural Method to Train and Care for Your Favorite Animal (written with Sybil Taylor - and formerly subtitled "A Breakthrough Technique to..."). «- Clicking on this link will take you to book info at Amazon.com (Or click HERE to try Powell's used books] I've just re-read it, and it's one of the most captivating, exciting, and inspiring books I know of. She has devoted herself to awakening her fellow humans to the possibilities of communicating with, developing partnerships with, animals of all species. If that's a concept that resonates with you, you'll love this book just for the reading of it!
Needless to say, the book is excitingly practical as well, and I'll be referring to it in many places throughout this site. There are chapters on cats, dogs, horses, birds, reptiles, farm animals... and anecdotes (and photos) about many another critter as well, from elephants to snails.
Here, though, I'll give you an introduction to what the "TTouch" is...
Moshe Feldenkrais determined to "teach" his legs to walk again after they were both crushed in an accident. What he did, Linda says, was to re-educate his body by activation of unused muscular movements and neural pathways (and brain cells!). He bypassed his body's learned but now ineffective habitual programming and re-programmed his brain to tell his muscles to function in different ways.
What he discovered in the laborious process of "reprogramming" himself (and then others) was that many patterned neural habits are formed in response to tension, pain, and fear... And that when such habitual patterns are broken— by way of gentle, non-threatening movements and manipulations of the body - the "cramped" emotional attitudes that attend them are also released. ...One can truly start over, both physically and emotionally or behaviorally!
This is what led Linda to consider how touch could be used as a therapy with animals. Based on famous neurologist Sir Charles Sherrington's amazing revelation that severed nerves grow back together because each cell of the body has its own intelligence, she hypothesized that non-habitual touch could stimulate this intelligence and quickly "turn on" and repattern the corresponding brain cells.
The touch she instinctively chose to work with was circles - pushing the skin of the body around in circles... little ones and big ones, with a fingertip or the whole hand. Over the years of working with hundreds of horses, and then many other types of animals, the Tellington TTouch method was codified so as to be able to train others how to apply the techniques that were found to work. (It includes calming techniques, breath awareness, and different levels of hand pressure as well.)
Not only do the techniques work to eliminate fear and quickly change unrewarding habits, they've also been shown to change animals' personalities on very basic levels - and to have an impact on physical healing. The intimacy of this physical communication has an effect on the toucher as well...
"The circles of the TTouch seem to provide a way for this 'cellular intelligence' common to all life to become communication, for the cells of one being to make a direct connection with the cells of another. It's as if the TTouch communicates across species barriers like a person-to-person call in which the same language is spoken although the callers are from different countries.
"Your circular 'call' wakes up the cells of that other being, activating them to release stored memories of pain, 'dis-ease', or the expectation of pain, and allowing them to 'remember' their encoded potential for perfection.
"Of course, the beauty of communication is that it is a mutual event, a two-way exchange, so when you touch an animal at such a direct level, both of you are affected. You feel a nonverbal connection that is new and different, a deepening current in relationship."
The most notable changes effected with the TTouch are behavioral. Intensely fearful, aggressive, or unresponsive animals can be turned into human-loving "connecters" in astoundingly short periods of time... sometimes within the hour! (Gosh, it makes me wonder whether "doing circles" on humans in psychiatric therapy might not be as miraculous... Any therapists reading this, I hope?)
My dogs are both afraid of thunderstorms, big time (and we live in the highly-electric mountains) - I do Tellington Touch circles on them then without fail. It helps to calm them down. And if I do circles on them when they're not freaking out... they absolutely adore it!
But I find the possibility of stimulating the body's healing mechanisms via the TTouch circles pretty thrilling... Nothing could be easier to do; and, of course, there's the rewarding intimacy with your animal that goes along with it.