Bodywork Can Provide a Multitude of Benefits to Horses

Bodywork can provide a multitude of benefits to horses. Most often the goal is to prevent injury, increase flexibility, or to reduce healing time post-injury. After all, if we’re asking a horse to perform athletic feats, the least we can do is ensure his body is in peak physical condition.

Back pain, muscle tension and spinal dysfunction are very common conditions, suffered by many horses. Fortunately, Chiropractic work can help to treat misaligned spinal joints and nerves to allow for optimal function, while massage therapy can have a profound effect on the muscles and soft tissues of the spine. These conditions often work in tandem and those that suffer from spinal misalignments very often have sore muscles that can be helped by Massage. Research has shown that combining these two therapies together will achieve the most beneficial results.

Since they are so complementary, which should you get first – a Massage or a Chiropractic treatment?

Generally, Chiropractors recommend a Massage a day or so before any Chiropractic adjustments in order to relieve tight muscles and allow for a more effective, less painful joint adjustment.

Chiropractic adjustments alone can sometimes leave the horse with inflammation and soreness. A nice, soothing, muscle relaxing Massage before Chiropractic work can make the adjustments easier on the horse, reducing the pain and stress of the treatment and aiding healthy tissue repair. Massage also allows the horse to better incorporate the changes made by Chiropractic work, as relaxed muscles won’t strain against the changes the Chiropractor has made and those changes will be able to hold position longer.

If you aren’t able to make a Massage appointment before your Chiropractor comes out, a Massage after your Chiropractic appointment will still help you get the most out of your investment, soothing sore facia, relaxing muscles and helping the adjustments hold.

What if you can only afford choose to one therapy?

Remember that it’s the muscles and fascia that create tensile strength and hold the bones in, or out, of place. Massage helps to relieve nerve pressure and, like Chiropractic work, increases mobility and range of motion. The proven benefits of Massage include improved muscle function, mobilized fascia, stronger muscles, increased stride length and joint function, enhanced circulation, relaxation and improved overall performance. Your Massage Therapist may also be able to provide suggestions for rehabilitative or strengthening exercises that you can do at home between visits.

*It should be noted that training levels for somebody to be able to call themselves an Equine Massage Therapist can differ enormously, from weekend courses(!) through in-depth accredited qualifications from reputable training providers. Please choose yours carefully.

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