Hyperemia: an extra supply of oxygen and blood, where it is most needed. A relaxation of the arterioles.
Massage, correctly done, can create a hyperemia that will last for hours, allowing the muscle to relax. Imagine how your athletic event could be with a horse whose muscles are loose and whose blood flow is free. Healthy muscles allow the athlete to reach peak action with less risk of injury.
A hypermia can be created in about 60 seconds when direct pressure is applied to a stress point.
A client being treated (successfully) for knee pain asked how the laser alleviated pain immediately. While there has been extensive research to show that the laser works to relieve pain, there are no definitive answers as to how. What is known is that cold laser therapy increases the release of endorphins, blocks firing of pain fibers, increases nitric oxide production, increases the levels of acetylcholine (which regenerates damaged nerves), and decreases levels of inflammatory chemicals.
Horses and dogs can’t tell me that their pain is gone, but when I see them licking their lips and closing their eyes so peacefully, I get the message!
Yesterday I saw a pony who struggled to walk up a steep hill. He over flexed one of his hind legs at every step. Once he got to level ground, he walked more evenly, but he still did not look completely comfortable. When I checked his leg, I found some very tight fascia right behind the stifle. I massaged it, but didn’t feel that I had done everything possible, so I got out the cold laser. The laser emits no heat, but his leg became very warm to the touch. What that told me was that circulation was being stimulated to the area. If a muscle is so tight that blood can’t squeeze through to the capillaries, massage to loosen tight fibers and then the cold laser to stimulate blood flow is an ideal combination. The pony has a big show next week and I will be watching to see how he is feeling now.