Up to 50 percent of your horse’s body weight is made up of muscle alone. Muscles power all movement, and protect the skeleton by distributing force and absorbing shock.
Muscles dictate how the horse moves, how their joints function, how the horse contacts the ground, even how well lymph flows and their demeanor and outlook, all depend on how well your horse’s muscles are functioning.
Massage is the only therapy that physically manipulates the muscles, fascia and skin to ease tight, sore muscles lengthen and supple myofascia, free painful nerves, improve circulation, increase range of motion and bring balance and biotensegrity back to the body.
A chiropractor may help align the joints but only hands on massage can loosen and supple the muscles and fascia that are pulling those joints out of alignment.
Here’s a list of things you may not know about massage
An equine massage therapist uses their hands to manipulate the soft tissues to work out tension, knots, kinks and adhesions. Massage manually opens myofascial tissue, softening, stretching, balancing tension, improving range of motion and freedom of movement of muscle, fascia, joints and skin.
Many veterinarians have begun to incorporate massage therapy into their recovery protocols as an effective way to aid in recovery and pain regulation for both acute and chronic issues.
Pain and tension interfere with the body’s ability to recover and will extend recovery time. Reducing pain and improving comfort will help your patient recover more easily.
Equine Massage therapists are specially trained to work on soft tissues to improve circulation, lymph drainage, and release endorphins to reduce discomfort and pain.
Massage physically pumps and presses circulation into congested areas, opening them to better nourishment, oxygenation and hydration all of which optimize healing and healthy muscle development.
Massage increases the production of mitochondria, the organelles of cells responsible for powering the production of ATP in cellular metabolism. More mitochondria lead to more ATP, which means increased energy to heal. Massage also increases levels of white blood cells which attack viruses and bacteria.
Massage releases endorphins which act as a natural analgesic helping to relieve headaches, myofascial pain, muscle soreness, TMJ, and other discomforts and a lasting sense of well-being.
A full-body massage can improve digestion by increasing the release of enzymes essential for healthy digestion and stimulating the motion of the intestine, and its contents, to move along.
Pressure receptors stimulated by gentle touch signal the vagus nerve to calm the nervous system. Regular massage can retrain the body to move more readily into the parasympathetic state, the state in which the body is able to relax, digest and repair. This can be especially helpful for high strung, spooky or recovering horses.
Massage increases the production of cytokines, chemical messengers that work for the immune system to regulate things like fever, pain, and inflammation.
Massage physically stimulates weak and inactive muscles to bring them back into action and help your horse recover from exercise faster while building stronger, more supple muscles.
Muscles act on or around the joints to create movement and resist forces. Tendons are a fibrous extension of the muscle. Tight, tense or fatigued muscles will increase the risk of sore tendons, soft tissue injuries, joint mis-alignment, and joint degeneration. Massage can improve how the muscles function and reduce the risk of lower leg injury.
Massage techniques with different frequencies, amplitudes and intensities stimulate the mechanoreceptors reducing stumbling and improving athleticism by improving proprioception, the awareness of position and movement in the body.
Massage therapy is a unique way to improve your horse’s performance, health and well-being.
Benefits of massage with myofascial release include improved muscle function, improved joint alignment, improved self-awareness, mobilized fascia, an increase in stride length and range of motion, enhanced relaxation and improved overall performance and recovery.