The Role of Massage Therapy in Equine Health

Why Massage Therapy for Your Horse?

Massage has been used for therapeutic purposes on both humans and animals since the beginning of time. The benefits have been documented in our earliest cultures from the Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans. As medicine progressed and developed “miracle drugs,” the art of the manual therapy has decreased, with people often opting for the “quick fix” of popping a pill instead of the manual work of massage or manual therapy. 

The great news is that using manual therapy and massage therapy, along with the wonder drugs, can bring phenomenal results. 

The documented benefits of massage are as follows: 

  • Enhance muscle tone and range of motion.
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling in joints, muscles, and tendons, thereby alleviating pain.
  • Promotes healing by increasing the flow of nutrients to the muscles and aiding of the flushing of toxins out of the affected tissues.
  • Creates a positive effect on the muscle function aiding in the release and contraction of the muscle spindle fibers. This releases tension and relaxes muscles.
  • Stimulates circulation and release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.
  • Aids in stopping the pain and spasms cycle that starts when an injury occurs.
  • Helps maintain the whole body in better physical condition.
  • Massage helps you gain a deeper connection with your horse, where you can notice subtle differences that can make a horse perform better or worse.

Why Would Your Horse Need a Massage or Physical Therapy? 

If your horse is showing some of these issues, he is trying to tell you he needs help. It is our job to listen.

  • Bucking 
  • Refusal to pick up the correct lead
  • Head tossing
  • Difficulty with lateral movements
  • Cinchy or girthing issues, “cold backed”
  • Changes in attitude
  • “Off” for no apparent reason

Massage therapy and physical therapy techniques can work hand in hand to heal your horse and help him perform his best. 

We periodically hold classes on massage therapy for your horse; check our Classes page to find an upcoming session.