Fascia are the very fluid connective tissue that are found through out the horses body. This very thin sheet of semi-transparent tissue holds everything together. It surrounds every muscle, bone and organ. Myo-fascial release is probably the most import thing we can do when massaging our horse. When fascia is damaged it loses it fluidity and tightens, therefore affecting the muscles by causing pain and restrictions in areas far away from the original injury. We can improve fascial damage through stretching and massage and fascial release. This can be done only by hand or using hand tools such as Gua Sha or fascial release guns. It is really the most import step before any massaging on the body take place.
Swedish Relaxing Massage
Swedish massage is a therapeutic massage using long gentle strokes (effleurage) that relax tense muscles in the neck and back. This technique promotes overall circulation of the lymphatic system and increases flexibility. Swedish massage prepares the horse for other massage techniques. This is a great technique for all horses, especially the athletic ones.
Shiatsu is a form of therapy based on the same philosophy of acupuncture. Except instead of using needles it uses finger and thumb pressure along the meridian lines of the body. These techniques are used for specific problematic areas covering soft tissue areas that have been injured and have created dysfunction in movement. Shiatsu is great for tight muscles and stiff joints by freeing up restrictions in the body and along with stretching exercises allows the body to release tension and pain.
The temporomandibular joint or TMJ is critical for the horse's overall health. Located directly in front of the ear, it connects the lower jaw to the skull and if not flexible or properly aligned can cause dysfunction in the body itself. It can affect not only the jaw and chewing but also the back, neck, digestive tract and balance. We need to check for not only tension but mobilization by massaging around the joint and gently moving the jaw side to side. Trigger point therapy also helps with dysfunctional TMJ as well.
CST frees motion that is restricted in the bones of the skull, the column of the vertebrae and the pelvis. This is done by manipulating the central nervous system so that we can restore the optimal pulse and restore balance. CST realigns the skeletal system and helps in relaxing the horse.
Stretching incorporated into massage is great for a variety of reasons. It helps horses not only warm up but, cool down. It helps increase flexibility in the muscles, which can improve overall performance and release tension, tightness and pain. Stretching can also help gain mobility in areas you may be having dysfunction in. Short stride, hips not flexible, neck immobility and more.
Equine kinesiology, or the study of horses' muscular movement, reveals surprising similarities between horse and human muscle action as well as similar problems with muscular tension. Kinesiology taping is a taping technique designed for use in both therapeutic (injury rehabilitation) and working athletic situations. K-Taping can help with a variety of issues such as, pressure relief, pain, circulation, supporting joint mobility, supporting muscle activity and improves proprioception. Results can be seen minutes after application. Applications vary in location and amount of tape. This is only applied after EMFT.
There is an additonal charge for this therapy. $10plus $2.00per foot **COMING SOON Infared Taping.
Gua Sha - A traditional Chinese healing method is use by scraping skin of the horse or human, with a hand tool made in different shapes and materials, such as jade, rose quartz and stainless steel. It is used for myofascial release by applying at different angles of the stone and applying different pressure. It can be used alone or with aromatherapy.
Myo-Fascial release gun - The gun is a wonderful tool that not only allows the hands to rest during massage but, allows for more deeper trigger point and fascia release. By using multiple heads, it is designed for specific areas of the horses.