An introduction to Massage Therapy for horses
Animal physiotherapy including Massage and Magnetic therapies has become popular for the treatment and maintenance of the musculoskeletal system in recent years.
Massage Therapy, essentially the manipulation of soft tissues, has been noted to aid the prevention of injury, recovery from fatigue, relaxation and increasing mobility. (Hemmings, 2001). Performance depends on freedom of movement, full flexibility and an absence of musculoskeletal pain, all of which can improve with massage (Gellman, 1998). Traditionally massage methods have been manual but with recent advances in technology, electrical modalities have been introduced.
The Benefits Massage Therapy
Massage therapy has been shown to improve flexibility and promote relaxation by lowering horse’s heart rates. Tension is often one of the most common reasons for poor performance in horses and by increasing relaxation and improving back flexibility; the negative effects of tension can be reduced. Like us, most horses can benefit from a massage session but maintaining a healthy back through massage can help prevent performance inhibitors such as stiffness, hollowness, shortened stride length, or in more serious cases napping, bucking and rearing.
Massage therapy stimulates blood flow to the area treated and has a similar effect to the tissue as heat does ie. promoting vasodilatation. Vasodilatation increases blood flow; bringing with it increased oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscle and after exercise this can help with the removal of toxins such as lactic acid.
When to use Massage Therapy
- For horses on box rest to promote blood flow
- After exercise to help with toxin removal
- Before exercise as part of warm up
- At a show to help recover from travelling
- On your horses day off as part of a maintenance programme
- To help alleviate back problems
- Anytime as a rewarding treatment
The Equilibrium Therapy Massage Pad is designed to offer effective, affordable and easy to use massage therapy. . It covers the horse’s back from withers to quarters, and being soft and pliable it sits comfortably on the back of a wide range of horses.
The Massage Pad works by stimulating the muscles on the horse’s back, helping to increase back flexibility and promote relaxation. See the results of our clinical trials
How does the Massage Pad work?
The Massage Pad is battery operated and charges easily with its own international charger.
Each massage session lasts for approximately 30 minutes and runs through a cycle of three different massage modes. It will pulse, stroke and vibrate. This ensures that the muscles are worked in different ways within every session for maximum benefit and the back is not numbed by having the same continuous vibration. There are three intensity settings:
Low – Recommended for cooling the back down after exercise.
Medium – This setting is ideal to warm muscles prior to exercise.
High – A more intense programme designed to help alleviate back problems.
Although the programme will last for 30 minutes you can stop it at anytime . We have found that it has a beneficial effect after only 10 minutes.
For a more hands-on approach, the Equilibrium Therapy Massage Mitt is an easy to use portable hand-held Massage Mitt for use on large muscle groups in the back, neck, quarters and hamstrings, helping to promote relaxation, improve flexibility and improve muscle condition.