Equine muscle falls into 2 categories: voluntary and involuntary.
Voluntary muscles are those muscles that are under conscious control by the horse, meaning the horse can decide to contract or relax them at will. These muscles are responsible for movement and locomotion, such as walking, trotting, and cantering and are often referred to as “movement muscles”. Examples of voluntary muscles include the muscles of the limbs, neck, and back.
Involuntary muscles are muscles that are not under conscious control by the horse, meaning the horse cannot decide to contract or relax them at will. These muscles are responsible for various bodily functions such as digestion, breathing, and heartbeat. Examples of involuntary muscles in horses include the muscles of the digestive tract, respiratory system, and heart.
Although voluntary and involuntary muscles have different functions, they they are directly connected through deep fascia and must work together to produce coordinated movement and bodily functions for your horse.
You may already know that massage provides a range of impressive effects on your horse’s voluntary/movement muscles. But did you know that massage also has a positive effect on the involuntary muscles?
Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digestion, to help reduce stress and anxiety that may contribute to digestive problems. Massage can increase blood flow and circulation to the digestive organs, which can help to improve their function and promote the movement of food through the digestive system.
Massage also has a positive effect on gut motility, which is the contraction and relaxation of the muscles in the digestive tract that move food through the digestive system. When the muscles of the digestive tract become tense or tight, it can lead to digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, and gas. Massage can help release tension and relax these muscles, which can improve gut motility and alleviate these digestive issues.
Massage helps the body relax, release, and re-align itself mentally and physically for a more supple and athletic performance.
Massage is an important part of keeping your horse fit, healthy, happy and performing at its best.
Massage with Myofascial Release is a whole body, hands-on approach to balancing tensions in the musculoskeletal system.
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.