Swedish Massage (Equine Sports Massage): is the therapeutic application of hands-on massage techniques for the purpose of increasing circulation, relaxing muscle spasms, relieving tension, enhancing muscle tone, and increasing range of motion. scientific evidence shows that it can help relieve symptoms of pain and discomfort, enhance performance and range of movement, and produce relaxation.
Myofascial Release is a comprehensive, whole body, hands-on approach that restores the necessary slack in the connective tissue web to enhance a horse's performance. Myofascial release uses sustained hands-on pressure into a fascial restriction for several minutes in one area. The fascia “suit” is the connective tissue that extends throughout our body, not only lying just beneath the skin but also surrounding and connecting every organ, muscle, bone, nerve and blood vessel and more. Fascia is a continuous web that surrounds and separates, supports and protects down to the cellular level, allowing the body to move freely. Fascial restrictions have the capability of pulling 2,000 pounds per square inch of tension in one area. That is an enormous amount of tension to overcome and is the cause of many problems that limit the performance of the equine athlete, including poor collection, balance problems, lack of flexibility, lead change problems, behavioural issues, sore muscles, back pain, and tendon and ligament injuries. Myofascial restrictions cannot be found on any standard tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or EMGs; consequently, they often go undiagnosed. Prior to treatment, an evaluation will be necessary to assess posture and movement which will give visual cues as to where fascial restrictions may be located. Then a thorough head-to-tail hands-on assessment is performed, looking for any areas of soft tissue that feel compromised. These areas of fascial restriction may be tender to touch. The information gathered in the evaluation helps to determine where specific myofascial release techniques will be performed on the horse's body.
Craniosacral therapy (CST) The equine cranial-sacral system is an uninterrupted structure that connects the horse’s head to the horse’s tail. Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, sensitive, non-intrusive and amazingly powerful form of deep tissue correction. Malfunctions of the cranial-sacral system create many physiological and emotional consequences, often presented in a seemingly disguised form. When applied correctly, this gentle and subtle technique can be highly effective in addressing several conditions in the horse. Some common conditions treated with craniosacral therapy are: Head shaking, head injuries, stored emotions, temporal mandibular joint dysfunction, behavioural problems, respiratory problems and skeletal restrictions. Craniosacral therapy is a very safe and gentle manual therapy that works on the central nervous system and the connective tissue called “fascia.” The light touch technique is used to help stimulate the body’s own healing properties along with lessening the restrictions found in the nervous system. It works primarily on the central and autonomic nervous systems and has been proven to help calm and rebalance these systems. The most important nerves are the cranial nerves that originate from the brain and either enter or exit the skull through small openings called foramen. There are 12 nerves in total which help control everything from sensory organs to facial muscles to the digestive tract. Craniosacral therapy is non-invasive, and most horses really enjoy it. The aim is to increase the activity in the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” part of the nervous system and decrease activity in the sympathetic or “fight or flight” part. It is through this process that the body can allow healing to occur and relieve internal stressors. The CST itself opens restrictions in the fascial planes and restores motion to the cranial bones allowing the body to rebalance and restore normal function to the nervous system. The uses for CST are limitless. Owners can see great benefits in using it on healthy, working horses to keep them feeling their best and it is also greatly beneficial to horses who have performance issues, behaviour problems, chronic pain, chronic medical conditions, and many other conditions.
Equi-laser Cold Laser Therapy: When applied to damaged tissue, it triggers a biological response causing stimulation of the immune, lymphatic, vascular and neural systems. The result of this stimulation can reduce inflammation and pain, promoting faster healing and a more rapid return to work. The Equi-laser is designed to improve healing for various conditions including: soft tissue injuries, acute ligament and tendon injuries, chronic injuries such as bowed tendons, arthritic conditions, joint injuries, pulled/strained muscles, mud fever, splints, scar tissue and wound healing.
Trigger Point Therapy: A trigger point is a combination of lactic acid build-up and motor nerve ending irritation, mostly in the fleshy part (belly) of the muscle. After warming and loosening up the area to be treated with massage techniques, light pressure is applied at the location of maximum tenderness, or directly over the trigger point nodule. The pressure is held until the muscle relaxes. Pressure may be applied with fingertips, the thumb, the elbow or Equi-laser, depending on which is most appropriate for your horse. Some chronic trigger points may need up to 3 minutes of carefully applied pressure before completely releasing. After the appropriate technique has been applied and the trigger point released the area will be drained thoroughly with further massage techniques. Trigger Point Therapy can improve flexibility and range of motion, increase circulation, enable oxygen and nutrients to flow and enable the muscle to become fully functioning again.
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