Benefits of Soft Tissue Therapy
- Loosens tight muscles and relieves muscle spasms
- Improves muscle function and enhances muscle tone
- Increases muscle effeciency for stamina and performance
- Relieves pain and fatigue in muscles
- Decreases inflammatory responses, thus reducing pain and loss of function
- Helps to correct muscle asymmetries
- Improves circulation and increases oxygen to the muscles
- Stimulates the lymphatic system and helps with the elimination of waste products and toxins from the system
- Increases the elasticity of muscle and connective tissue
- Reduces muscular skeletal pain and stiffness
- Increases range of motion, flexibility, and stride length
- Reduces joint swelling
- Helps prevent injury and decreases the healing period from existing injury
- Relaxes the stressed animal
Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds all cells, muscles and organs in the body. When this tissue becomes injured or restricted it can affect the horses movement and well being.
Myofascial release is a technique where the hands of the worker sink slowly into the tissue and then follow it to help release the adhesions that are present.
This technique is very slow and soothing for the animal, as minimal pressure is needed to be used to obtain results. There are a number of ways that fascia can become damaged. These include:
- Over exertion
- Poorly fitting saddles
- Incorrect training techniques
- Unbalanced riders
- Improper stretching
- Improper warm up and cool down
Many pelvic and joint asymmetries can be resolved using this technique. As the fascia becomes realigned and unrestricted so do the muscles and tissue. This in turn allows the bones to return to their proper alignment. It is a calming and gentle technique that animals respond to well. They will usually doze off during a session and become very realaxed.
Photonic Red Light Therapy
Photonic red light therapy involves directing ultra red light to produce increased excitement in cells which in turn accelerates healing and repair of tissue. It is also used to stimulate Acupressure points.
This therapy is non invasive and there is no heat involved as there is with laser. Red light is used by NASA, Dentists, Physicians, Physiotherapists, Rheumatologists, Sports trainers and US military personal to treat a variety of conditions.
Some of the uses for Red Light Therapy include:
- Wound healing and repair
- Increased blood circulation
- Relief from acute and chronic pain
- Immune system stimulation
- Accelerated soft tissue injury
- Reduction in inflammation and swelling
When introduced to Red Light Therapy the animal will usually react by showing signs of relief. These include licking and chewing, yawning, sighing and relaxation.
It is very effective for stimulating Acupressure points on areas that are sore and acupressure cannot be tolerated .
It can be used on wounds, burns, lacerations, fractures, bruises and other painful areas by simply holding the light above the area. The light stimulates the cells and circulation to the area to promote faster healing and cell regeneration.
Acupressure is a non invasive version of acupuncture that is used to stimulate specific points on the horses body. Acupuncture requires the insertion of needles to acupoints and can only be performed by a qualified Veterinarian or licenced TCM [ Traditional Chinese Medicine] doctor.
According to TCM there are channels of energy that flow throughout the body and affect the energy and life force of all living beings. This energy is known as Qi [pronounced Chee]. Each channel has specific points along it’s pathway that can be stimulated with the fingers or Photonic red light. There are many types of points on each channel and each point affects different areas and functions of the body and mind.
Many horses exhibit behavior or physical symptoms that indicate there is an incorrect flow of Qi in the body. The movement of Qi influences both the physical and emotional well being of the horse.
Some examples of incorrect Qi movement can include:
- Tightness in muscles, tendons and ligaments
- Frequent respiratory illness such as cough and shortness of breath
- Dry mucous membranes and eyes
- Dry coat and dandruff
- Explosive behaviour, irritability and anger
- Back pain and weakness in hind end
- Training issues
- Reluctance to be touched or brushed
- Diarrhea or constipated stools
- Excessive fear and spookiness
- Lack of endurance
- Fluid build up and swelling in lower legs
- Excessive fatigue
Acupressure can help alleviate these problems. I regularly use acupressure in conjunction with massage to help address the issues that are present as the therapies compliment.