History of Equine and Animal Massage
Massage has been used for therapeutic purposes on both humans
and animals since the very dawn of time. Its beneficial use has
been documented in our earliest cultures from the Egyptians...
to the Phoenicians... to the Greeks... to the Romans and on to
the present time. It is noteworthy, that in the very first books
on human and veterinary medicine, entire chapters would be
devoted to the use, benefits and implementation of massage
Later on, as so-called miracle drugs were
developed, the medical establishment in concert with the
fledgling pharmaceutical industry decided that "old fashion"
therapies and treatments like massage were no longer needed, nor
did they have any meaningful place in a health regimen.
It was only
when prescription drugs (some with side effects worse than the
condition's symptoms) became too prolific and too expensive did
people begin to reconsider some of those therapies discarded in
the past. Slowly but surely, in the last quarter of the 20th
Century these modalities along with some "newer" Eastern
Cultured Therapies began to compete in a very real way for the
acceptance and dollars of an increasingly discerning society.
That is, society began to realize that they were often getting
as much relief and treatment from "alternatives" as from the
Pharmacist's drugs and the surgeon's scalpel.
At the same time, people were beginning to
understand that if these alternative therapies could help them,
they would probably work as well on their pets and the other
animals in their care. Thus, in the late 1980's there began to
be a significant move toward the use of these alternative
therapies on both companion animals and horses involved in
racing and show events.
among these therapies in actual therapeutic value and cost
effectiveness has been massage.
many documented benefits of massage are:
Improves circulation and as a result, promotes more rapid
healing of injuries.
Enhances muscle tone and increases range of
Eases muscle spasms.
Reduces inflammation and swelling in the joints so that pain
Stimulates circulation in the lymphatic system and hastens
the elimination of waste products and other toxins.
Lengthens connective tissue and so breaks down/prevents the
formation of adhesions and reduces the danger of fibrosis.
Generally improves the disposition of the animal.
Increases the production of synovial fluid in the joints.
achieved with the powerful power of touch!
Here are a few
of the common conditions that could greatly be improved by
“Off” for no apparent reason
Shoulder or hip lameness
Stiffness and resistance
Short, choppy strides
Loss of performance ability
Why it works…
Sometimes tight spots develop that cause
discomfort and hinder a horse’s performance. Muscle tightening
does not remain in an isolated area or state. Since Tendons are
only about 10% elastic, thus, 90% of elasticity comes from the
associated muscles. If 1 group tightens, the next group of
muscles compensate for the lack of elasticity. The tension can
travel from one area to another compounding the problem. For
instance, tightening in the shoulders can travel to the forearm,
down to the tendons of the lower leg.
Through massage, tension and adhesions (knots),
are broken up by using a series of different strokes. Then by
increased circulation and oxygen to the area, the body naturally
removes the toxins and tension form the affected areas leaving
the horse feeling more relaxed, in less pain, and able to
perform better than before.
Disobedience in a horse can often be due to pain
and discomfort. When the pain is relieved, the horse’s
disposition will improve.
Massage therapy is not a substitute for veterinary care. It is
a wonderful addition to your current health care regimen.