Seeing is Believing in Equine Sports Massage

Alternative therapies have a multitude of health benefits, especially sports massage which we use in our practice with horses and dogs. But sometimes prospective clients remain unconvinced. How do you convince someone that equine sports massage really can increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility? Seeing is believing.

 

Seeing is Believing in Equine Sports Massage

 

We love our clients and build amazing relationships with them over time. Often I am asked how often I’m kicked or bitten. The answer is never. Now that doesn’t mean an animal doesn’t react when we hit a sore spot but a good massage therapist, and someone who knows animals, will be able to block easily. Often the animal doesn’t want to react or hurt you, it’s just an instinctual reaction.

 

My trainer told me Delight was feeling a “little light in the rear end”, meaning he’d been kicking out a lot lately and needed a massage session. Delight is my love. The tall OTTB is bigger than he realizes and despite the opinion of some is rather stoic. He tries his heart out no matter what. I’ve been massaging him for almost two years and I love working on him.

 

Knowing Delight as I do, I expected to find tension in his neck and hindquarters. And boy did I.

 

Healthy OTTB

 

I did an initial evaluation but Delight was pretty stoic and non-reactive. I did note areas of tension through the neck, top line, and hind end. I then took thermal imaging photos of his entire body. The heat scale is to the left, and as you see the white and red show areas of inflammation and pain.

 

Thermal Imaging_horse massage
White and red show areas of inflammation, especially behind the head, in the neck, and shoulder.

 

Thermal imaging_Massage_Horse
Areas of concern here are front of hip and bicep femoris.

 

So what now? Well, I do my job and give him a whole body equine sports massage to reduce inflammation and thus providing pain relief. Delight is quite used to me and stands beautifully for his session. So it didn’t take very long- perhaps just under an hour. But the benefits are clear.

 

You will note the white has broken up and there are more areas of orange, yellow, and green. The massage will continue to work as he stretches and releases tension.

 

What a difference! The white is limited to a small area in the stifle. Where before the entire hindquarters was inflamed, now the area is predominantly green and yellow. So much improvement in just one session.

 

Want a side by side comparison?

 

The difference in only a single massage session was fantastic! Are you a believer in equine sports massage yet?

What are your thoughts?