Equiflex Equine Sports Massage Therapy  - Certification Program
The Benefits of Equine Massage
By MaryAnn Myers, Yahoo! Contributor

   There is no magic to equine massage, no hocus pocus, no snake oil. Equine massage takes a scientific approach to healing. Sore muscles most often respond to touch. Watch anyone describing a sore muscle and almost always, they place a hand on the affected area. I had an opportunity to talk with Equiflex trained Equine Massage Therapist Alan Zabiegala who explained precisely why equine massage works and its many uses.

   "A lot has been said regarding equine massage, but I think humans forget to use this therapy in different situations for their equine athletes. Many trainers underestimate the power of a 'pre-event and post-event massage.' Like most athletes, the warm-up is critical. Horses are warmed up by their riders before the event, but a pre-event massage loosens, warms, and readies the muscle for an event."

   I follow Alan from one horse to the next and look over my shoulder. 
"Was that horse smiling?"

   Alan chuckles.

   "The post-event massage relieves muscle pain and stiffness by returning the muscles to a normal state much faster than if they'd been allowed to go without a massage. After vigorous exercise, dehydration takes place in the horse and with loss of fluids it is harder for them to cool down. Massage will restore damaged muscles but more importantly, it will help prevent damage before it happens."

   I'm a believer. I'm also a good listener.

   "Another forgotten use of massage," Alan says, "is for the injured equine. Massage improves circulation and as a result, promotes more rapid healing of injures. One recent case comes to mind. A young hunter/jumper rider was getting her horse ready for a big show. She had put a lot of time in training for the event and they were moving up in the point standings." 

   Alan pauses to concentrate fully on what he is doing.
   "A couple days before the event, she turned her horse out in the pasture as usual, but he was feeling his oats that day. He was bucking and kicking and accidentally wrapped his hind leg thru the steel paddock gate. Luckily, no bones were broken but he did have some cuts and some pulled ligaments. Working with the local veterinarian, we started a massage plan that drastically cut down the healing time. The horse and rider were back in the show ring in weeks instead of maybe months."

   "Equine sports massage helps to keep the entire body in better physical condition, but it needs to be use in conjunction with regular veterinarian care."

   Good advice. 

Medina Equine Massage is based in Medina, Ohio.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor.
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