|Therapeutic Equine Massage and Traditional Chinese Bodyworking Principles at Western Montana School of Equine Massage|
|What is Therapeutic Equine Massage?
Therapeutic equine massage is a hands-on massage technique applied to a horse. The reasons are as varied as they are for people, i.e., increasing circulation, releasing muscle adhesion buildup, relaxation, relief of spasmed muscles, enhancing muscle tone and range of motion as well as an aid to training and performance enhancement.
What type of Massage Techniques are Used on a Horse?
The massage techniques may vary from horse to horse depending on sensitivity and receptivity, however, the basis of the sequencing is traditional Chinese massage - Tuina, which is the manipulation of muscle groups and stimulation and warming of acupoints along acupoint meridians. Other techniques that may be utilized are Rhythmic Muscle Pulsing , a deep two- beat pulsing upon a muscle which imprints the heart beat rhythm upon the muscle tissue and nervous system and creates a nurturing rocking motion on the animal; nerve stroking or hands- on-healing may also be utilized, depending on the animal's receptivity and sensitivity; Swedish massage which utilizes long connected sedative stokes, as well as sports massage which is a faster and deep stimuli of targeted muscles.
What is Traditional Chinese Massage - Tuina?
Tuina massage is the Chinese expression of our human instinct to touch. It's origins lie in the ancient part of China. The Shang Dynasty (2300 BC) describe, via archeological findings massage methods for treating infants. By the Tang Dynasty, Tuina massage therapy had been included as one of the major subjects at the Imperial Medical College.
Tui means to 'push' in a diagonal direction to the surface of the body, to relieve stagnation, clear obstructions and to sedate and relieve excess conditions. Na means to 'grasp' using the hand to squeeze or compress a specific area. Tuina massage utilizes hand techniques to restore correct anatomical musculoskeletal relationships, neuromuscular patterns and to increase the circulation of blood and Chi. Acupoints are selected to re-balance and harmonize the flow of Chi through the meridians and colleterals in order to facilitate healing and prevent further injury.
What is Chi?
Chi is the life-force energy of all life on earth. In Traditional Chinese Medical theory, all disease is held to be a result of an imbalance between the Yin and Yang Chi energies that circulate continuously through the body. These energies circulate through twelve main channels (meridians) and many smaller collateral channels. Each channel is associated with a specific organ. The organs are paired together in yin-yang relationships and affect each other's specific energy level. Along each of these channels there are specific focal points of Chi energy, called acupoints. They have an effect on the Chi energy moving through the channel and associated organ and they also affect the immediate physical structures in their proximity.
When the free flow of circulation is disturbed, this affects the yin-yang balance and produces certain characteristic symptoms. Under most circumstances, this interruption of flow will produce a condition of stagnation. In a stagnation condition, the blood and Chi energies become obstructed, causing pain, inflammation and an inability to carry out the physiological functions of the specific area properly. The result is symtomology and disease. The immediate therapeutic goal is to restore the free flow of the Chi energies and the blood. This allows the symptoms to change and the immune system to carry out its functions.
Coreen Kelly, President
PO Box 989
Corvallis, MT 59828