Benefits of Equine Massage
Equine massage therapy is not just about pampering your horse, but also elevates health and performance to new levels. Massage therapy helps trigger the body into getting itself back to optimal health. Massage improves circulation, thereby promoting a good supply of nutrients to the muscle groups. Massage also encourages the release of endorphins, promoting relaxation, reducing stress on the nervous system and allowing the toxins within the lymphatic system to drain. This in turn, causes the psychophysiologic self-regulation factors between body and mind to become more balanced, leading to a much more content and relaxed animal. This increase in circulation, stress reduction and balance between body and mind encourages injured muscles to heal, and healthy muscles to stay flexible and pain free.
The compression and release pattern of equine massage increases circulation, expediting the elimination of wastes and toxic build-up and allows oxygenated blood to reach sore or torn muscles, promoting healing and recovery. In turn, equine massage reduces the chances of injury by strengthening flexibility, increasing drainage of the lymphatic system and promotes a stronger immune system.
Stress and discomfort caused from injury or muscle compensation (when a horse becomes injured, they will compensate to adjust to that injury), causes changes in how a horse moves and uses its muscles. This change can cause additional soreness, tightness or even inhibit further injury. Massage can help relax these compensating muscles as well as improve the injured muscles. Scar tissue may develop as torn muscles and ligaments heal. These areas of scar tissue can also benefit from massage by loosening the scar tissue gradually, helping the horse move more freely and reducing the associated pain.
Mobility & Performance
Massage can be a valuable addition to equine rehabilitation and as an integral way to increase overall mobility and range of motion. By loosening tightened connective tissue, massage helps improve a horse’s overall locomotor function, improving maneuvers such as jumping and turning, thus helping the horse reach its maximum performance potential.
Digestion & Relaxation
Digestion - Equine massage can assist with improved digestion by increasing the blood flow and oxygen to the stomach muscles. This improves the efficiency of muscular reflex within the digestive system allowing these muscles to function with optimal abilities, effectively flushing unwanted toxins. It is common, during a massage, to hear a horse’s stomach gurgle, often followed by the passing of gas or even defecation.
Relaxation - Many horses visibly relax during a massage session by dropping their head, licking or chewing, yawning, snorting or sneezing, cocking a hind leg, swaying with the massage movements, and with slow, deliberate blinking and may even fall asleep.