As seen in the Press . . .

TTouch & TLC, by Katie Baer


A manic white terrier greets Christine Nilsson at the door, leaping and barking furiously. Some visitors would shy away from this bundle of canine energy, fearing an attack or simply preferring not to be leapt upon.

Not Christine. Within minutes, she has the dog on her lap in a sunny sitting room. She murmurs to him, and massages his body in firm, rhythmic circles. Soon, the dog is fully relaxed, and after awhile, jumps off the couch and retrieves a squeaky toy to offer her.

The woman effecting this transformation is the only licensed practitioner of TTouch® -or the Tellington Touch- in western North Caroline. Christine explains to the dog’s owner that the change in the pooch’s demeanor is not magic, but the result of a scientifically validated method of touching that calms the animal’s nervous system and allows him to receive new information. “This way of touching can help an animal become calm and ‘present,’ releasing fear that it might be holding in its body,” she said. “Touch is a way of communicating with your animal and learning to ‘listen’ to what it likes, where there’s discomfort, indicting a place where it’s holding tension.”

The technique she practices is, at one level, very simple –and yet profound. It involves applying circular movements of the hands and fingers all over an animal’s body to activate a cellular response. Developed more than 30 years ago by Linda Tellington-Jones as a way to manage horses with fear-based behavioral problems, the approach is widely accepted in veterinary and animal-behavior circles. More than 1,000 practitioners in 25 countries throughout the world use the Tellington approach to improve the health and behavior of horses, dogs, cats, and other animals. This type of touch therapy is also being extended to use in humans, and research suggests its value in improving health and reducing anxiety.

Christine discovered the transformative power of touch when she live in Montana and acquired a horse that was labeled “difficult.”

Christine discovered the transformative power of touch when she live in Montana and acquired a horse that was labeled “difficult.” By happy accident, Linda Tellington-Jones was offering a clinic for horse owners. Christine attended, and the experience changed her life.

“I’d always loved animals and had ridden since I was a child,” she said. “When I saw the results of TTouch® on my horse’s behavior –she became much more calm and confident –I realized that this was the life work I was meant to do.”

She took intensive training with the Tellington organization and received her certification as a Tellington TTouch® practitioner for companion animals about ten years ago. In 2005, she became certified as a TTeam Equine practitioner.

When Christine moved to the Asheville area several years ago she began to integrate TTouch® into her pet-sitting business and also offered classes on the technique. To expand her business, she realized that she needed a specific business plan, so she took the Mountain Microenterprise Fund (MMF) Foundations class. The result was a better understanding of how to market and price her services.

Through her business, TTouch® and TLC, Christine offers classes, seminars, and private consultation. An informative website describes the range of her services and expands on the background and impact of the touch technique and other, related tools.

Classes are usually held at A Good Dog’s Life, a training facility near the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. “I teach people how to use TTouch® with their own animals so that they can experience the impact for themselves,” she said. “It’s a wonderful way to deepen your communication and bond with your companion animal.”

Christine recommends TTouch® as a way to alleviate a range of physical problems (it’s especially helpful for geriatric animals afflicted with arthritis) and improve behavioral problems like aggressiveness and nervous behavior triggered by fear or trauma.

Contact Christine Nilsson at 828-628-5898 or visit her website:


Reprinted with permission of Smoky Mountain Living