Equine Sports Massage Therapy Services
When I work on a horse, I’m looking at the entire horse:
- How the horse moves - are there any visible restrictions to movement
- How balanced are the muscles
- What does the muscular development look like
- How is the horse’s overall appearance such as condition of the coat and hoof care
My goal is to help the horse feel better, improve performance, help prevent injuries and help facilitate the healing of injuries. The horse’s wellbeing is my utmost priority
In my scope of practice, I use the following modalities to help the equine athlete achieve physiological balance and peak performance.
Neuromuscular re-education works to restore balance and functionality to muscles, tendons, connective tissue, fascia. When there is an injury or an “incident” (think of silly ponies playing in the pasture), the body has inflammatory response by laying down adhesions. These injuries can be virtually imperceptible and so minor that we dismiss it almost immediately. These areas can be quite small, but these adhesions pull the body out of balance. We don’t always feel the adaptions their bodies make to allow them to continue to perform the “job”.
The muscles/tendons begin to stretch and hit a wall (the adhesion) and then the muscle then contracts to prevent further stretching and to protect the area. This is what restricts the mobility and causes imbalance. Using different massage techniques, along with other modalities like myofascial release, I work with the body to release the restrictions caused by the adhesions and restore balance, strength and range of motion.
Myofascial release works to release the fascia and connective tissue. In simple terms, fascia is the tissue that holds our shape. It shapes muscles, tendons and organs, etc. When the body is stressed, hormones are released causing fascia and connective tissue to thicken and become restricted. This is the body’s way of attempting to protect itself from injury, but if the body overreacts, somewhat of a “false alarm”, thickening and restrictions of fascia and connective tissue can actually cause more tension, potentially leading to injuries.
When it is restricted, there is a loss of elasticity, and the muscles can’t glide, therefore they can’t perform to their fullest ability. Fascial restrictions can prevent the horse from moving fluidly, feel “heavy” & feel like you’ve lost your “engine”. Now there is more to it than that, but in general, that’s the gist.
Therapeutic massage has both physical and mental / emotional benefits to the horse. Massage helps to improve circulation by promoting blood flow, increasing oxygen and helping to deliver nutrition to the tissues. The “circulation” of the lymphatic system assists the system in ridding the body of toxins and waste build up. In addition, massage can be beneficial in helping to accelerate healing of injuries by breaking up compensation patterns and preventing further problems from arising. Equine massage relieves tension by reducing pressure on nerve endings, which in turn stimulates the proprioceptors, allowing the body to return to its healthy state.
Kinesiology is an energetic treatment used to balance the whole horse: physically, emotionally, mentally. This is a where Chinese medicine comes into play and we look at Chakra’s and meridians, acupressure points and other energy sources within the body. As everything is energy and either absorbs or releases energy, certain areas of the body hold certain information “energetically”. This is where a lot of behavioral issues and past history, including both good and bad experiences such as traumas, injuries, previous owners/homes, previous jobs, etc. are stored. This energy can affect the body physically and manifest itself into physical ailments to include any number of things. The purpose of kinesiology is to balance the energy in the body and therefore release unwanted energy and open Chakra’s for balanced energy flow and ultimately a healthier horse.
Kinesiotaping is a product used to assist with bio-feedback with the muscles, ultimately contributing to reducing pain and swelling, increasing range of motion and muscle function and maintaining comfort during exercise or rehabilitation. It works best on horses that are body clipped for a more lasting effect (5-7 days).
Essential Oils - Equine Raindrop is an essential oil treatment used to compliment other modalities by assisting with emotional releases, muscle soreness and boosting the immune system. Essential oils are used in a specific application or individually depending on the horse and the context of the other therapies performed.
Now Offering - PEMF – Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy.
Each of the modalities described above work in conjunction with one-another to achieve the highest possible results from the session. It is important to note that one session is not necessarily going to make a noticeable difference, but rest assured, there is a difference. At times, depending on the horse and what we are working through, it may take a few sessions to get to a point where you notice a major “breakthrough”. However, most clients notice a marked difference in their horse’s level of tension immediately.