(Our selection of Anxiety Wraps is here)
We’ve learned from our own experience and that of scores of customers how the Anxiety Wrap can bring blessed relief to even the most thunder-phobic dogs.
In our own experience, it has been nothing short of amazing in the way it calms dogs who were beside themselves with anxiety – drooling, whining, pacing, scratching – whenever a storm threatened.
The Anxiety Wrap creates light pressure on the skin to help calm an animal and reduce anxiety and stress. It has been used successfully in thunder storms and other stress and fear situations, including motion sickness, separation anxiety, aggression and to reduce resistance to nail trimming and ear cleaning.
The scientific basis of the effectiveness of the Anxiety Wrap is “maintained pressure.” Dr. Shereen Farber independently examined the Anxiety Wrap and observed its effects.
According to Dr. Farber, a neurobiologist, “maintained pressure” is a technique that has been used in humans for many years. To understand how it works in mammals, one needs to know that we all have various types of sensory receptors in our skin, muscles, and organs and throughout our bodies. The purpose of the various sensory receptors is to report the status of the world, both external and internal (from the muscles, joints, connective tissue, organs, etc) to the brain. The brain then sends down messages to activate the body’s systems with the idea of taking the body to make the appropriate response according to its feedback. There is a constant feedback system to the brain and correction system from the brain to the body. Touch input appears to enhance awareness or consciousness so every effort is made to normalize touch responses.
Many factors can influence how easily the sensory receptors fire sending their messages to the brain. Besides brain or Central Nervous System (CNS), there is also an Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) whose purpose is to maintain all the body’s vital functions. It has two divisions, the sympathetic nervous system (the energy production and expenditure system) and the parasympathetic nervous system (the energy restoration system).
If an animal is highly stressed, the autonomic nervous system’s (ANS), the sympathetic division sends neural messages to the receptors to lower the amount of sensation required to activate the receptors. This action allows the animal to flee or fight when needed. Unfortunately many animals have had trauma to the CNS or the nerves and associated structures that communicate with the brain and body (the peripheral nervous system).
Animals can also sustain stress, illnesses, pain, all of which lower the threshold of sensation needed to fire the sensory receptors. Consider trying to cut the nails of a dog who has been abused, is in chronic pain, or who is a product of sustained stress. Even holding that dog’s paw produces an aversive response in the dog. In theory, maintained pressure, as supplied by the hands of the handler or therapist, acts to calm the sensory receptors and raise the amount of sensation needed to fire those receptors to reporting to the brain. Remember that a chronically stressed dog also perceives potential injury when there may be none. Hence his “guard is up” so to speak.
As we apply the therapeutic band or our hands, both acting as therapeutic agents to calm the animal, we slowly sink into the tissue and quiet the active firing of those receptors resulting in a calmer dog. The advantage of using the therapeutic bands is that the dog may struggle at first; expending energy all the while, input is being provided to his nervous system that is even, rhythmic and repetitive, producing a calming of mind and body. The animal quickly settles into a more pliable state and his guard is lowered.
Dr. Farber is a neurobiologist, comparative anatomist and occupational therapist.
She has a practice with people (Ortho-Neuro-Rehabilitation Services) and works in consultation with a team of veterinarians treating horses and dogs; Canine Equine Rehabilitation Services in Indianapolis, Indiana.
References: Sinclair D: Cutaneous Sensation. London, Oxford University Press, 1967. Lassen NA et al: Brain function and blood flow. Scientific American 239:62-71, 1978. Geldard FA: The Human Senses, 2nd ed. New York, John Wiley and Sons,
Here’s where to measure in order to buy the correct size of Anxiety Wrap. Fit should be snug, but not tight: