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  • Supporting Senior Animals with Acupressure/Shiatsu, Based on

    the Physiology and Energy of Aging

    Presented by Megan Ayrault, LMP, L/SAMP Founder of

  • What is aging?

  • Decline/decay/degeneration


    Change over time!

  • Aging is not all negative.

    Still, some parts of aging we’d like to slow down!

    AND in addition to delaying it, we want to have optimal quality of life for whatever quantity of time there is.

  • To delay physical degeneration, and optimize quality of ease and vitality, the health and function of individual cells in the body is key.

    And for cells to remain healthy, they need to be in an environment that is in “homeostasis.”

  • Two things (among others) happen with aging. Maybe two sides of the same coin??

    1. The mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis lose their ability to function.

    2. Cells are damaged and eventually die when their environment (the fuids all around them) are not in homeostasis.

  • So what is homeostasis, and how is it maintained?

  • (from Wikipedia) Homeostasis or homoeostasis (homeo- + -stasis) is the property of a system in which variables are regulated so that internal conditions remain stable and relatively constant. Examples of homeostasis include the regulation of temperature and the balance between acidity and alkalinity (pH). It is a process that maintains the stability of the [human] body's internal environment in response to changes in external conditions.

  • Blood and body fuids =

    ‘the sea within us'

  • What is this “sea” made of? blood plasma-the liquid part of blood, not the blood cells themselves. Primarily exists within the circulatory system (veins, arteries, capillaries, etc.), and some also in intercellular spaces because it can pass in and out through capillary walls.

    interstitial fuid- fuid in the spaces between the cells (“extracellular fuid” has both interstitial fuid and some plasma)

  • Blood plasma and interstitial fuid are very similar to each other.

    Wikipedia: “This similarity exists because water, ions, and small solutes are continuously exchanged between plasma and interstitial fuids across the walls of capillaries.”

    For example, in addition to water, both have electrolytes (bicarbonate, calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride ions,....).

  • The electrolyte balance affects pH (and also osmotic pressures across capillary membranes)

  • The pH of the fuids that bathe every cell (the “inner sea”) is a key aspect of homeostasis, and it's so vital that it be maintained within a very narrow range (7.35-7.45),

    that the body has equally vital mechanisms to maintain it constantly...

  • Questions so far?

  • A look at connections between Eastern and Western ways of looking at and explaining some physiology... !

  • The two primary ways our bodies regulate the homeostasis

    of the body's fuids are with the functions of

    the kidneys and the lungs.

    Or, in the Eastern view, the Kidneys and the Lungs. :-)

  • The kidneys contribute to this by the fact that they flter the blood, and the lungs contribute by being able to adjust how much CO2 they retain or release.

    The lung responses can be faster for 'quick fxes'. The kidney adjustments are slower, but longer-lasting. (The intestinal tract also contributes some to maintaining homeostasis of the blood, but the role of the kidneys and lungs are more primary.)

  • In “Eastern” traditions there is a common theme of seeing life and the world in term of Chi energy (or Qi, or Ki, ….)

    Various forms of chi include chi that comes from nutrition, chi from the air we breathe, chi that fows in the meridians, .... And one form of chi, “Jing,” we inherit from our parents.

  • And where is Jing chi “housed” in the body?

    In the Kidney Meridian!

  • From “Shiatsu: The Complete Guide” by Chris Jarmey and Gabriel Mojay “To the Chinese, ... the water element symbolized the source of life.” “In the body, this originating aspect of the Water Element is refected in the Original Ki and its substantial basis, the Essence, or Jing, both of which are controlled by the Kidneys. The Kidneys are the Yin Organ of the Water Element; the Bladder its Yang Organ. The Essence forms the 'core' of the bodymind, and could be said, in scientifc terms, to contain the genetic material needed for conception and new life.”

  • Questions?

  • Western view: 1st function of the kidneys is to flter the blood

    Eastern view: 1st function of the Kidneys is to store the Essence

  • Another function of Kidneys is to govern Water in the body

    Kidney and Lungs have very close relationship “Note that the Kidneys and Lungs have a reciprocal relationship: the Kidneys vaporize the Body Fluids and send them up to the Lungs for dispersal; the Lungs send down Body Fluids to the Kidneys for their excretion.”

    “Body Fluids are the product of food and drink which have been transformed and separated by the Spleen and Stomach. The 'clean' fuids are transported to the Lungs. The Lungs then disperse them around the body and under the skin, as well as down to the Kidneys.”

  • Associations with the Kidney Meridian (and Bladder): -Water element -relate to aging -energy of purifcation -bone tissue, marrow and teeth -hair/coat -ears and hearing -emotion of fear and anxiety -season is winter- the same season we associate with old age!

    Remember though, the seasons are cyclical. Is winter the end, or middle, or beginning??? :-)

  • Location of the Kidney Meridian

  • Location of the Kidney Meridian

  • Some tonifying techniques for Kidney Chi/Ki...

    Hold lower abdomen (hara) and low back

    (not acupressure, but Shiatsu).

  • Ki 3: Source Point, good to balance whole meridian

    Bl 23: Association Point for Kidney meridian, also good for arthritis

  • from “Shiatsu: The Complete Guide” by Chris Jarmey and Gabriel Mojay

    -Doing Lu 7 and Ki 6 together-- this opens Conception Vessel, which “helps the Lungs and Kidneys to communicate.” (Lu 7 is medial and distal radius, on condyle; Ki 6 is caudal/medial/mid tarsals)

  • Additional notes:

    Ki 1- don't over stimulate on 'defcient' conditions. Best used for clearing “excess”, especially in upper body, including headache, insomnia, mental agitation, stroke, diffculty urinating, low back pain.

    The Well-Connected Dog, by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis, also lists Ki 1 to use for shock.

    Ki 27, also the “calm down” points from the Rescue Dog Massage class, are also nice connection to Lungs due to effect for respiration, ribs, and chest.

  • E-course with much more on this topic: Senior Dogs: Meridian Massage,

    Acupressure and More

    Available at: 20 CE credits available with the certifcate

    option (additional admin fee)

  • NBCAAM members get 10 % discount on any

    classes available at


  • I will be making a similar course for horses, so watch for that! Other courses available so far include Helping My Dog’s Hips and Hind End, Equine Back Pain, classes I call “Rescue Dog Massage” and “Rescue Horse Massage”, and Intro packages, ....

  • from “Shiatsu: The Complete Guide” by Chris Jarmey and Gabriel Mojay

    “A natural and harmonious decline is as much an expression of a healthy Essence as is normal growth and development in children. If one expresses one's willpower wisely, the Essence is well preserved and diminishes slowly. The wise person adapts to its decline and makes perfect use of the Essence they have, thus maintaining vitality.”

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