Massage is one of the oldest forms of therapy. Massage therapy is the manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments) to enhance a horse's health and well-being. Massage is complementary to, but never a substitute to veterinary medicine.
What are the benefits of massage?
Benefits of massage include, but are not limited to:
-Increased Blood Circulation: Blood supplies the body with nutrients, oxygen, proteins, and hormones. By getting blood moving, massage can help flush waste, aid respiration and digestion, speed metabolism and healing, and decrease atrophy of tissue.
-Increased Lymph Movement: Lymph, a clear fluid containing white blood cells, is a critical part of the immune system and unlike blood, is not pumped throughout the body.
-Muscle Health: Massage relaxes tight muscles and is an excellent remedy for joint afflictions and decreased range of motion. It also helps to relieve pain caused by inflammation from constricted muscle fibers and helps reduce the buildup of scar tissue from forming.
-Emotional Health & Relaxation
-Reduced Inflammation & Swelling
How will I know if my horse likes the massage?
Horses communicate extremely well through their body language. During the massage you may notice many signs that your horse is enjoying the massage. These can include, but are not limited to, dropping their head, sighing, playing with the mouth-licking or chewing, or deep regular breathing. Your horse will also communicate any areas of discomfort or times of apprehension with body language, such as by pinning their ears, giving a look, or moving away. Throughout the massage I will continually be watching your horse's body language and adjusting the massage to meet their needs/wants.
When can I expect results?
Massage is integrated over time and the amount of time it takes to see results can vary greatly depending on the horse, the health history, and the goals. I expect you'll see your horse respond to it's very first massage, but lasting results take time.
How often should my horse get a massage?
Frequency of massages varies greatly depending on the horse, their personal wellness plan and goals. If you're maintaining a healthy horse, you may just want a massage every other week or once a month to help promote and maintain overall well-being. During the initial assessment and massage, we will discuss goals and create a schedule that is optimal for you and your horse.
When should my horse NOT receive a massage?
Massage should not be utilized when:
-Cancer, infection, or fever is present
-There are open wounds, blisters, or lesions
-The horse has experienced a fracture or undergone surgery recently
-If the horse is colicing, on antibiotics, or in shock
How long does a massage take?
A massage session will last 40 to 60 minutes depending on the specific needs and goals of the horse and guardian.
Do I need to do anything special before or after the massage?
Nothing special needs to be done prior to the massage. It is preferred that your horse is clean and dry.
After the massage, a short 5-10 minute hand walk can be beneficial.
Where does a massage take place?
Massage is best done where the horse is comfortable and ideally away from distractions. I prefer to massage the horse in their stall when possible. Horses are generally most comfortable in their own stall and therefore more receptive to the massage. When not possible, for whatever reason, a small paddock, crossties, etc can be utilized.
Do I need to be present for the massage?
You must be present for the initial assessment and massage so that we can discuss your horse's history, any current issues, and goals. You do not need to be present at future massages. I can email, text, or call you post massage with feedback if you are not there.
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