Animals, like human beings, have six basic muscle chains

To feel or receive feelings and to express feelings

To move, horizontal or vertical

To give form as an extrovert or an introvert

Rob Erteman, DVM

For every individual there exists an optimal tension in the body.

dog muscle chains


Scroll the image from right to left to see the muscle chain for extroversion.

cat muscle chains


Scroll the image from right to left to see the muscle chain for emotional receptivity.

horse muscle chains


Scroll the image from right to left to see the muscle chain for horizontal movement.

Rob Erteman, DVM

Harmony in the muscle chains gives psychological and physical health and freedom

In the natural development of an animal, the structure and function of the muscle chains will develop to give optimal health and function (including performance) when allowed to develop without suppression, and when the natural requirements for development are met. 

Animals require safety for development, and this safety is often compromised by suboptimal conditions, abandonment or neglect. Young animals have rapidly developing cells that are very sensitive to external conditions and that have tremendous capacity for memory. The cell memory of a traumatic or unsafe experience can have a deep effect on the development of an animal and can (annd does) subconsciously influence an animal for the rest of its life.

Abnormal development of the muscle chains results in abnormal tension in the body.  Abnormal tension, tension that is not the healthy tension that belongs to that individual,  causes physical and psychological stress and distress that can result in chronic unhealthy posture resulting in restrictions in movement and unhealthy stresses on the joints and the spine (and other tissues).

Rob Erteman, DVM

Treatment is based on recognizing the nature of an animal and restoring normal tension in the muscle chains for the individual.  An experience that touches the healthy nature of an animal can create a new positive memory for the tissue and the psyche and the effect of the experience can grow stronger and stabilize in the animal.  During this process the animal requires safety, a safe nest experience.  The result of this gives physical and psychological freedom. Exercises and manual techniques have been developed for human beings by Niek Brouw.  These exercises have an application for animals and, along with unique physical techniques, the animals can experience the feeling of their healthy nature, the balance that belongs to them as an individual.  As animals integrate these new experiences, healthy psychological and physical function can be restored.

For more information on the method of Niek Brouw, please visit