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April 6, 2005  TTouch Methods To Help Sick Cria


Llama Training

My parents have alpacas, and just recently lost 6 in the storms in Melbourne to hyperthermia.  One of the mothers that died had a 1 week old baby male who is now being bottle fed.

The problem is that he wants to drink and does, but during and after feeding he seems to become paralyzed and falls to the ground.  He takes a few minutes to recover and then he hops up and walks off on his merry way.  We have asked the vet and because not much is know about Alpacas in Australia in terms of vet care - they are at a dead end.  Their advice was to give him a vitamin B injection.

My parents are hesitant to do so, as the vet says he is unsure and that he would be only experimenting.  The baby literally just falls to the ground and lies there, even if you try to help him to his feet he is all limp like he is dead.  It is really strange to watch.  Could you please help and offer any suggestions in what we could do to help our little darling?

Llama Training

I am sorry to hear of your parents trouble and hope this advice will help with the baby.  In 1987 I began studying with Linda Tellington-Jones the founder and inventor of the Tellington Training Method and the TTouch.   The TTouch is a remarkable system of body work that is a wonderful tool for problems just like the one you describe. 

The circular movements help to activate neural pathways.  There are many different touches to choose from the TTouches have animal names to make them easier to remember.  The TTouches are very effective but very simple.  Based on my experience with camelids and with the TTouch, I would suggest a combination of the Clouded Leopard TTouch and the Abalone TTouch (specifically described later).  You could do the TTouches on the baby before and after he nurses when he is standing before he falls to the ground or after.  The TTouches may help to prevent the paralysis or may help to shorten the period of paralysis and ultimately help support a recovery.  They certainly will do no harm and in my experience will really help him cope and recover.  Remember, that when this baby is out of the woods, that raising a bottle baby involves special challenges and requires learning to set boundaries for appropriate behavior with humans.

Many of the TTouches are circular. Biofeedback studies on animals indicated that circular touches help an animal to focus rather than just "bliss out." The following elements are common to all of the circular touches. Imagine the circle as the face of an analog clock (digital thinking won’t help you here). Use your fingers to begin pushing the skin in a circle. Begin the circle at 6 o'clock and continue around the face of the clock in a clockwise direction. On a vertical area of the body (e.g. the side of an alpaca neck), 6 o’clock is toward the ground.

You want to release the stress that gravity exerts as you begin the circle. If you are doing a circle on a horizontal area of the body (e.g. the back of a standing alpaca) the orientation of your clock doesn’t matter. Push the skin and underlying muscle with your fingers from six to nine to twelve to three to six. Proceed past six and continue to eight o'clock, in other words you make a circle and then some.

At the close of the circle pause and release slowly. Imagine that you are pressing in on a sponge and allowing the sponge to expand under your fingers as you release the pressure. The pressure as your fingers move around the clock should remain steady. This will help you move skin rather than rubbing across the fiber. Each circle is done in a new location.

Slide your fingers on the body to the new location.  The new spot may only be an inch or so from the last. It is important not to repeatedly stimulate the same spot. Stimulating the same spot causes the nervous system to zone out. In some cases it will irritate the animal. 

The amount of pressure used to move the skin is described based on a 1—10 scale. The lightest touch a 1 pressure is equivalent to the lightest touch that you can feel on your eyelid but still move the skin in a circle. If you press your eyelid to the point just before discomfort and then imagine using that amount of pressure on a muscle mass, that would be a 3 pressure. A 9 or 10 is about three times that hard or as hard as you could push on a muscle mass without discomfort. 

Generally I use a 1—5 pressure on camelids. The amount of pressure you use depends on the part of the body you are working with and the animal. Watch for the animal’s reaction. If he seems unhappy or uncomfortable, change the pressure or the type of TTouch.

The circles are random. You may be stimulating acupressure points, or you may not be. Don’t worry about it. The speed with which you complete the circle is determined by the reaction of the animal. Llamas or alpacas that are nervous may respond more favorably to faster circles. Most often slower movement is better but in this particular case you might try faster circles and see what works.  Your aim is to move in sync with the animal. As your llama calms down your circles become slower. Four to six seconds for each circle is not too slow.

Clouded leopard: The most basic TTouch

The hand rests lightly on the body slightly curved. The movement is done with the pads (fingerprint) of the fingers. Wherever possible the thumb rests against the animal. With the middle three fingers lightly touching each other and the little finger slightly apart and resting on the body, move the skin in a circle. Be sure to allow your knuckle joints to follow the fingers to maintain softness in the hand, arm and shoulder.

Remember to breathe. You need not breathe in a particular way but breathe easily, audibly and regularly. 

A common tendency is to stiffen the fingers. This inhibits your breathing and doesn't feel as good to the recipient. The Clouded Leopard circles can be used anywhere on the body.  In the case of this baby I would work where he feels comfortable with the aim of covering his whole body.

The Abalone would be another excellent TTouch to try with this baby. 

Place the entire surface of your hand on the body. Allow your hand to conform to the shape of the body. Move your entire hand in a complete circle and then some, using a 2-3 pressure as described previously.

Because this TTouch is generalized, it doesn’t feel invasive or threatening and is a good way to work on the whole body quickly.

Good luck with this baby.  I would love to hear how it all turns out and if you think that the TTouch work is having an effect.

For more information about Linda Tellington-Jones and the TTouch and Tellington Training Method visit http://www.lindatellingtonjones.com/

or my website.  The TTouch work is an integral part of Camelidynamics and is also covered in my book The Camelid Companion.

Good luck.




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