Fuchino, S., 2010. Head to Tail Wellness. Wiley Publishing inc.

What a great book! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how the Chinese 5 Element Theory relates to animals. Vet Stacy Fuchino gives a really thorough breakdown of each element which includes the temperament, attributions and personality quirks!

There is a questionnaire included which helps you identify your animal’s primary and secondary element type. There are lots of illustrative pictures (which sadly are not in colour) and small table for each element. It’s written in a really, easy to read manner and doesn’t contain too much ‘vet speak’. 

Stacy is really clear from the start about his beliefs and approach to helping animals. He believes (as do I) that you need to use a holistic approach when supporting the wellness of your animal. He frequently shares how the western and eastern approach can be combined to look at all elements that affect an animal. He frequently uses examples of experience which demonstrate how small changes can make a positive difference to the wellbeing of the animal.

Stacy talks about Chi and how it can affect our animals. When you understand the basics, it can really open your eyes about your pet’s resources and their placement. What works for us humans may not be what’s best for our animals!

The book is really balanced with cat and dog examples, the two main species that feature throughout the book. I wad a little concerned it would be more dog focused but that isn’t the case – YEY!

The downside:

  • Stacy is in America so the practitioner references at the back of the book are for the US.
  • Cat food recommendations. As a holistic feline behaviourist, I believe that a good, balanced diet is key for our animals. Cats are obligate carnivores and therefore need high levels of protein in their food and very limited carbohydrate. Stacy suggests a cat food diet to include brown rice, sweet potato and pumpkin.  I would not advise this. I’m not going to get into the cat food debate here, but I would advise anyone who makes changes to their cats diet to (a) speak to their vet before making any changes and (b) do your research into what cats need to thrive. 

Despite the points I’ve mentioned above I would recommend this book to read. The 5 Element information is really interesting and helps to give another perspective on the wellness of your animal. Knowing now that our cat Leo is a water/metal sign – I have moved his cat bed to somewhere where the chi can flow around him, and he has started to use the bed again!

Overall a brilliant book and I read it in less than a week. Easy language, great structure, and practical suggestions to try in the home. A must for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the 5 Element Theory and begin to approach animal wellness using a holistic approach. 

Julie-Anne Thorne is a holistic feline behaviourist. She created Naturally Cats to provide holistic help for cats and their guardians. She uses a combination of environment enrichment, behaviour modification and botanical remedies to help support cats emotionally to remove problem behaviours. She adapts her approach for each situation to give the cat a voice when working with a family. She helps to educate feline guardians so they can provide for their cat and watch them thrive not just survive.

Visit Julie-Anne’s website. Visit her Naturally Cats Facebook Page and Facebook Discussion Group.

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