Equine massage modalities
Your horse's massage employs a combination of any or all of the following modalities in order to best serve his needs:
Deep tissue massage
DTM targets the deep structures located below more superficial tissue layers and aims to relieve chronic and/or severe musculoskeletal tension. It should not be confused with deep pressure massage, which describes a session performed with sustained, intense pressure throughout. Using DTM, practitioners are able to break up adhesions ("knots"), scar tissue, and muscular contractions. The result is pain relief following injury or chronic misuse; improved range of motion and gait regularity; and reduction of discomfort associated with arthritis and tendonitis. DTM is generally integrated with other modalities throughout a session.
"Myo" means muscle; "fascia" is the the continuous elastic connective tissue that wraps around all muscles, organs, bones, and other structures in the body. Myofascial release is the application of firm, slow, gliding "holds" in order to eliminate restrictions of muscular fascia and facilitate ease of movement. By improving the consistency of the surrounding tissue, myofascial release helps the musculature both fit and move together more harmoniously. And because fascia is a continuous network connecting all part of the body, improvements in one part of the body often allow for improvements in other parts of the body, too.
Trigger point therapy
TPT applies deep fingertip pressure to specific points of pain or hypersensitivity in muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia to improve local blood flow. "Trigger points" are approximately consistent from horse to horse and can be mapped by their tendency to "refer" (spread) pain to distant locations in muscles, connective tissues and organs. "Positive" trigger points are bundles of tissue with reduced blood flow and occur due to dysfunctional movement and/or muscular contraction. Once located, positive trigger points are systematically compressed in a series of timed sets in order to achieve pain reduction and improved function to the affected tissues.
Manual lymph drainage
The strokes applied in MLD are intended to stimulate the movement of the lymphatic fluids in order to assist the body in cleansing. This is a gentle, rhythmic technique that enhances the activity of the immune system, flushes metabolic waste from connective tissues, reduces pain, and lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. While lymphatic drainage is a byproduct of virtually any massage, MLD should not be used on horses with acute infections, tumors, or undiagnosed lumps.
Equine Positional Release
EPR applies principles of self-correction to achieve joint stabilization and postural reeducation. By systematically moving the horse's limbs and joints into naturally comfortable positions, the the sensory receptors responsible for giving the horse information about its body in space—called proprioceptors—are recalibrated to promote comfort, balance, and relaxation. This modality acts primarily upon the nervous system, but should not be used on horses with known neurological issues.