What is Massage?

The Oxford Dictionary provides the meaning of massage to be:

The rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain:

The Oxford Dictionary also provides the meaning of remedial to be:

Giving or intended as a remedy or cure:

So interpreted: An Equine Remedial Massage Therapist - otherwise known as an Equine Myofunctional Therapist (translated from Latin to English as Horse Muscle Function Therapist) is a professional who rubs, kneads and uses other specific techniques to relieve tension or pain to effect a remedy or cure.

No... the horses do not lay down on a massage bed for this to be done!!! (you might be surprised how often the non-horsey population ask this!) But of course I knew that you horse people already knew this 🙂

A horse's body is made up of roughly 60% muscle, tendon and ligament, which are all directly effected or stimulated by massage.  The specialist techniques are applied ONLY by hand as a professional therapist has had extensive training in anatomy and physiology so as to be able to fully and competently assess what is happening under the horse's skin.

Massage directly stimulates the skin and increases circulation in the body.  When this is done the muscles are manually manipulated to release knotting and muscles spasms.  A massage therapist can also assess any dysfunction that is occurring and work the muscles in such a way as to right any dysfunction.  This may not happen all in one go and will be dependent on how long it has taken to develop the dysfunction.

Dysfunction may occur for many reasons, it could be because of a postural imbalance or due to an injury.  Postural or confirmation imbalances are more difficult to correct however ongoing massage can help relieve the discomfort and also assist to correct these issues.  If there has been an injury, even slight, it may cause the horse to work in a different fashion... for example, showing favour to particular muscle groups, which, when prolonged can cause deeper problems.

The other thing that needs to be factored in with horses is that we ride them!  I know this might be like... yeah duh Kim... but how much does your riding affect them?  We need to take into account our riding abilities, our own personal dysfunction that the horse may have to compensate for, the saddle they have on and how it fits and a host of other things.

The Olympic riders know the importance of massage for their equine athlete partners and these guys and gals are the best riders in the world!  When we are learning to ride... and it is a continuing process... we need to consider how much work the horses muscles,tendons, ligaments are doing to keep us up there.  Of course, we do the best we can as rider's for our horses and would hate the thought that we are causing them pain or discomfort by riding them!

Here's the thing... keep riding... keep learning... keep loving it...

AND

Keep the muscles maintained with the help of your professional massage therapist!