Why consider massage therapy for your horse?
As horse owners, we may sometimes encounter various unfavourable training or behavioural issues with a horse, such as leaning on one rein, giving incorrect canter lead or going disunited, stiffness turning one way, bucking, refusing to jump or general reluctance to work.
Where disease and lameness have been ruled out as the cause, there is often muscle spasm and tension causing discomfort, restricted movement, lack of performance or some of the aforementioned symptoms. Massage can help to release this tension, enabling the horse to move freely again and the issues should resolve.
Horses, being flight animals, are very good at developing compensatory action to cope with discomfort in order to feel that they are able to run from predators. This compensatory action can often distract attention from the primary source of discomfort or injury, and muscle tension can develop in other areas trying to support the original problem area. Therefore it is important to look at the horse as a whole, not just the symptoms.
Of course, veterinary advice should first be sought where definite lameness is evident, and approval is needed from your vet prior to treatment. Massage therapy can then help in the recovery from injury in the rehabilitation phase, to help improve muscle function and flexibility.
Massage may also be considered as an aid general well being and relaxation, as it can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. We ask a lot of our horses and so we should look after their physical and emotional health.
Merishia Massage may produce the following benefits for your horse:-
- Facilitate release of tension & therefore aid relaxation
- Stimulate circulation and the lymphatic system
- Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system
- Aid recovery and rehabilitation
- Ease compensations due to injury
- Help recovery from work and competition
- Aid proprioception, bringing increased awareness to areas of the body
- Aid flexibility & ROM (Range Of Movement)
- Ease joint stiffness
- Enhance & maintain general well being
- Help to prevent injury by increasing strength and flexibilty
- Improve gait and general performance
A massage can be beneficial before or after competition or hard work, as it can help to reduce the chances of injury beforehand and can help to speed up the removal of toxins from the muscles afterwards. Massage can promote increased muscle tone, strength and improved circulation.
About Equine Merishia Massage
Merishia Massage was developed by experienced animal musculoskeletal therapists/ lecturers, originally with focus on Swedish and sports massage elements. It incorporates a number of gentle, yet very effective combinations of techniques, influenced through biomechanics and other soft tissue approaches.
Merishia therapists only use long recognised and non-invasive massage techniques designed to work naturally with the horse’s own body to encourage healing and to promote good health and enhance performance.
The Merishia massage training courses are accredited with NCFE, which is the fourth largest national awarding body in further education (Ofqual regulated).
The Association of Merishia Therapists supports its members, gives information on its website for horse owners and includes a directory of therapists by county.