Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lutz massage therapist has the right touch with horses, cats, dogs, people

LUTZ

He's no Dr. Dolittle, but Charles Garvey talks to horses, and they let him know how they're feeling. They tell him they wish more people would take the time to listen to them.

"I'm not an animal psychic, but we communicate through mental pictures they create to tell me where they hurt," Garvey said. "I also visualize the horse covered in white light. Wherever I see a dark spiral entering the body is where I go to work."

Four-legged clients are less talkative than humans, but the Lutz massage therapist has made dogs stop limping and cats more loving.

House calls to treat horses, dogs and cats in acute or chronic pain make up 25 percent of Garvey's practice. "And one time I did a turkey vulture on the side of U.S. 41," he said.

People fill the rest of Garvey's appointment book. Common ailments are migraines, back pain, whiplash and carpal tunnel. "The first goal is always to get them off pain meds," he said.

Garvey practices Quantum Touch, a light touch form of energy healing, and Structural Energetic Therapy, which works in three dimensions — physical, emotional and energetic.

As a structural energetic therapist, "I manipulate soft tissues to unwind cord distortion and re- sculpt the skeletal structure," Garvey said. "It's not chiropractic. We work on muscles, not bones."

Garvey donates his massage services weekly at Quantum Leap Farm in Odessa, where Edie Dopking offers recreational and therapeutic riding for people with mental and physical disabilities.

"Therapy horses need to be calm, content and happy, certainly not tense and fiery," Dopking said. "Charles is very good at detecting their sore spots. He will put his hands on a tweaked or arthritic leg and voila, 24 hours later, the swelling is gone."

A young horse named Doc was being socialized with the herd "when he got kicked in the wing of the scapula, the shoulder blade, by an alpha horse," Dopking recalled. "Charles did his energy thing and Doc was almost immediately better."

Animal massage has been around for centuries, especially for military steeds and racehorses.

"Anybody can rub down a horse, but you need to know what to look for," said Garvey, 62. "Knotted-up muscles prevent freedom of motion. If they are not released, restrictions will spread to other muscle groups, making the horse lame."

Bites, kicks and scratches would be expected, but Garvey says that almost never happens. Along with anatomy and physiology, the graduate of Chamberlain High and the University of South Florida has studied animal behavior and stress point therapy. Before enrolling in the Suncoast School of Massage, he spent the first 25 years of his career teaching special-education classes in private facilities, including Charter psychiatric hospitals and two local prisons.

His own experience living with debilitating pain in his left arm led him to Don McCann, who developed Structural Energetic Therapy in 1977. Immediate relief made him a believer, and eventually, a student of McCann's. Garvey's wife, Laurie, and their three cats were willing recipients of the learning process.

McCann later trained Garvey in two other specific therapies: Emotional Energy Release, which is deep breathing to "clear out emotional garbage" blocking the energy to function normally, and Frontal Occipital Decompression, which he says he has seen reverse dementia, depression and double vision and help autistic children.

Garvey now works out of McCann's office and is one his few students specializing in animals.

"He wouldn't be here if he wasn't one of the best," McCann said.

On average, one to five sessions get results for pets, at 45 minutes to an hour, starting at $30 for small dogs, $40 for cats and $70 for horses. Humans pay $120 per 90-minute session.

Success stories — canine, feline and human — abound.

Last Thanksgiving, a 17-year-old pedestrian, thrown 30 feet when hit by a car, came to see Garvey, Her rib cage was severely tilted to the right and doctors wanted to put rods in her back to straighten it out.

One session, said Garvey, "and she stood up crying, 'Oh, my God, I look normal.' "

An 11-year-old black Lab could barely stand after competing in fly ball. Two sessions of gentle cranial manipulation, followed by musculoskeletal spine and rear leg massaging, enabled him to stand without pain. "He even shaved a second off his race," Garvey said.

About this series

Our community revolves around a diversity of jobs, some more unusual than others. Throughout the summer, we'll introduce readers to a variety of creative, hardworking people who have made interesting, some might say quirky, career choices. Suggestions are welcome; email ascherzer@tampabay.com or call (813) 226-3332.

Lutz massage therapist has the right touch with horses, cats, dogs, people 08/16/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts

    Editorials

    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  2. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington

    Editorials

    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.
  3. Former Marine from Florida dies fighting for Kurdish militia

    ORLANDO — A former Marine who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.

  4. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube

    Retail

    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]
  5. FWC investigates viral video of shark getting dragged behind speeding boat (w/video)

    Wildlife

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water.

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water. [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]