About Massage & Muscle Therapy
What can massage/muscle therapy do for your horse?
I chose the name Equinox for my equine massage business because the two equinoxes mark the points in the year when the periods of daylight and darkness are in perfect balance. As riders and horse-lovers, we strive for perfect balance in our partnerships with these magnificent animals. Balance is also a key goal in both massage and the traditional Eastern energy techniques that I incorporate into my work.The term massage refers to bodywork techniques that manipulate the soft tissues of the body, not only the muscles themselves but also the surrounding fascia, along with tendons and ligaments. Massage can help to release spasm in these tissues, promote relaxation, stimulate circulation and achieve proper drainage of fluids and toxins. In other words, massage can be part of an overall plan to help your horse give his optimum performance comfortably. Some of the specific benefits that massage may offer include:
• Relief of muscle soreness and/or spasm;
• Endorphin release;
• Improved circulation and increased oxygenation of tissues;
• Assistance in draining of toxins, such as lactic acid;
• Improved range of motion and proprioception, leading to enhanced athletic performance; and
• Prevention of injury by detecting potential problem areas early.
So, how do you know if your horse may benefit from massage/muscle therapy? Usually, the horse’s owner/rider/ trainer will notice signs — some subtle, some less so — that indicate a massage session could be of help to improve the animal’s comfort and performance. Some common signs that a horse could benefit from a massage and/or energy work might include:
• A change for the worse in attitude or disposition, such as barn- or ring-sourness;
• Resistances, ranging from head-tossing and tail-wringing to more serious behaviors, like bucking or rearing;
• Crookedness on the flat or over jumps;
• Difficulty in bending to one side or the other;
• Reluctance to pick up a particular canter lead; or
• Any unwillingness to perform a heretofore easy and routine job.
Please remember, however, that neither massage nor traditional energy techniques are substitutes for competent veterinary care! The first course of action for any responsible owner in seeing a lameness, incoordination or signs of pain or illness in his/her horse should be a call to the vet!