What is Equine Massage/Bodywork?
Therapeutic bodywork/massage is touching in a deliberate fashion to evoke specific results.
With horses, large as they are, effective bodywork is usually deceptively gentle and subtle.
The musculature and connective tissues that hold all vertebrates together inevitably becomes thickened, shortened, stiff and distorted. This happens with age, trauma, overuse, disuse, or emotional and physical strain. Massage softens tissue by promoting the internal movement of bodily fluids to flow back into areas that need lubrication and circulation.
Bodywork helps our “mechanical” skeletal structure revert back to a natural range of motion by softening these surrounding tissues. Bones, muscles, tendons, everything within the “skin” of an organism are holistically connected. Not only is everything connected, but pundits are suggesting every cell has a “brain” that connects to every other cell within the organism. A web of sentience is threaded throughout the body.
The body is akin to a woven, living, breathing textile. As with any fabric, a pull on one corner will affect the entire garment. In the same way, pressure on the skin will affect organs, tissues, bones, muscles and cells deep within the body.
For example, a horse spine is structurally much like a suspension bridge. Think of a string of pearls (vertebrae) strung in a horizontal curve, each pearl swaying in flexible unison. In a human, our vertical spine easily compacts due to gravity and the string of pearls can become jammed one upon the other. In contrast, the horse’s spine is brilliantly designed, and a well-placed, intentional and gentle touch can work wonders.
Horses are sensitive creatures, and are particularly adept at “picking up” on intention, pressure and gentle persuasion.
You may have noticed how your horse will sometimes mimic a physical condition that you, the rider, have embodied. You may have also noticed how your emotional state directly influences your equine partner. These empathetic qualities horses possess predisposes them to being particularly good at receiving the benefits of massage and bodywork.
Horses exist in the “present-now”. They receive the gifts of therapeutic touch immediately.
We have held the refinement of the equine in awe for thousands of years. We have marveled at their power and intelligence, and used their magnetic presence to enhance our human lives.
Being in the presence of these marvelous creatures enlivens us. When we listen to them, they teach us the reciprocity of healing. This circle of vitality becomes our shared reality.