From Beverly Miller, (ALIMILLE@idbsu.idbsu.edu)

T-Touch used to be called "Tellington Touch." It was developed by Linda Tellington-Jones, who was a student of Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), a Russian-born Israeli engineer and scientist who was also a judo master. He first developed the Feldenkrais Method, which aims to integrate mind and body through movement and manipulation, back in the 1940's. Linda T-J was an avid horsewoman and was inspired to use some of the same ideas in dealing with problem horses. She wrote several books about what she called equine awareness and horse training, later applying the techniques to llamas. The dog and cat applications seem to be her latest.

There are currently at least two videos available on TTouch for dogs. One is widely available from pet supply sources (such as R.C. Steele) for about $23. QVC is marketing a different T-Touch video with book and charts for around $34. It appears to be a more polished production than the other video, which looks almost like a home movie.

The basic T-touch consists of a series of clockwise manipulations of the soft body tissue. There are five variations of the manipulations, illustrated on the video by Linda T-J's sister, who is imaginatively named Robyn Hood. They are very gentle, and seem to be very soothing to animals. They can be used all over the dog's body, although they are apparently especially effective on certain points. There are also special strokes for the tail and ears. According to Linda, this therapy can affect a dog's behavior in just one session, although most dogs require repeated sessions for improvement.

On QVC, Linda referred to research she has done which she says proves T-touch works, even if western science cannot explain why. While the infomercials for her videos (which may be off the air now) seemed to tout her techniques as miracle cures for everything from rabies to housebreaking, on other TV appearances and videos, Linda avoids making these kinds of extravagant claims. She admits T-Touch doesn't work on all dogs. She also recognizes the importance of training and other influences. On the QVC program, a caller described an out-of-control dog, and Linda wanted to know if he was neutered. When told he wasn't, she responded "And why not?"

I found that my two older dogs loved T-Touch. Dougal, who has inflammatory bowel disease, and went through several homes before ending up in the local shelter, is understandably anxious at times, and he just adores the Touch. He would let me do it for hours. My Sissy, who had orthopedic problems (as well as another I didn't suspect) was sometimes reluctant to be touched, but she liked T-Touch and was relaxed and gratified when I did it to her. I don't know if it helped either one, but they sure enjoyed it, and that's good enough for me.

The last time I saw my Sissy conscious, I spent some time doing T-touch on her. On the video I have, which was made at a workshop, Linda talks about a dog that belongs to one of her T-touch trainers. He is old and wasting away, and Linda explains that the Touch can facilitate a dog's transition from this life to the next. Sis was heavily drugged and had been on IV's for 24 hours, but I still believed she could recover. My hope was that T-Touch could help her do that, but I also hoped that, if she was destined to die, it would ease her passage. After just a few minutes, she seemed to relax, and slipped into a semi-conscious state from which, alas, she would not emerge. If nothing else, it gave me a feeling of being able to do something for her, which I desperately wanted.

I don't know of any dog that has been cured of either serious illness or a severe behavior problem by T- Touch, but I do think it helps promote a sense of well-being and relaxation, and builds a better bond between person and pet.


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