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Shiatsu Massage Therapy

Shiatsu Massage Therapy is a Japanese practical therapy involving gentle rotations, stretches, and pressure on acupuncture points that lie on meridians (energy pathways) that people and animals have throughout their bodies. It is similar therapy to Acupuncture-but without the use of needles-that stimulates “self-healing” abilities and facilitates the natural healing of the body. The art of Equine Shiatsu was introduced by Pamela Hannay, who n=began applying into horse work in the 1970s.

Shiatsu Massage Therapy

Taking care of our horses in the best possible way is every horse owner’s top priority. Horses are athletes, and they should be treated as such: therefore, taking good care of their muscles and recovery is extremely important. A horse that doesn’t recover properly won’t be a happy athlete.

Shiatsu therapy stimulates the circulation of your blood, helps to release toxins and tension from your muscles, and stimulates your hormonal system. This will help the body heal itself. Therapeutic equine massage is being used more frequently, with the objective of achieving physical benefits to muscle such as relief of muscle tension and stiffness, reduced pain and spasm, improved joint flexibility and range of motion, and potentially enhanced athletic performance.

Shiatsu can be used to treat a wide variety of issues. Most of the work covers soft tissue injuries and movement dysfunction, such as tight muscles and stiff joints. It is safe and suitable for most horses to deal with specific physical concerns and manage stress and mental and emotional health problems.

Equine Shiatsu is purely a manual therapy and uses finger and thumb pressure on acupuncture points along the meridians to free restrictions in the body, which allow and maintain good health – the same points as used in Veterinary Acupuncture. With assisted stretching, joint mobilization, and massage, this pressure along the meridians allows the body to release pain and tension, gently adjusting both posture and attitude.

Based on the principles of Oriental Medicine, a particular strength of Shiatsu is that it looks to find and treat the underlying causes of dysfunction and not just the symptoms. Oriental theory, in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, together with a well-developed sensitivity of touch, makes Equine Shiatsu an effective therapeutic aid to good horse health.

About Meridians

The meridians are called after the organs of the body, and centuries of experience in China and Japan have shown that stimulation on specific points can affect a specific organ or body system. Thus the Heart meridian and its acupoints can be used to simulate the heart or circulation, and the Stomach meridian can be used to help digestive upset or sluggish metabolism. If “Ki” flow in a particular meridian is disturbed or interrupted, then symptoms of illness or discomfort will begin to manifest.

Five Element Theory and Horses Types

In Equine Shiatsu, we use the aspects of Oriental Medicine theory that are relevant to horses and apply them accordingly. So, for example, we would define a muscular, well-proportioned horse who enjoys his work but gets impatient without plenty to do as a “Wood” type horse. He may encounter tendon and ligament problems: whereas a “Metallic” horse is quieter, has less presence, but likes routine. Skin, intestinal, or lung imbalances are more prevalent in this type of horse. Check out the Five Elements for more information.


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