Tag Archives: soreness

The Benefits of Massage

Massages feels amazing, especially after a grueling workout—and their benefits aren’t just skin deep. Soft tissue massage is exceptionally good for bone-weary athletes and people with inflammation-related chronic conditions like arthritis and muscular dystrophy, according to research from McMaster University. Vigorous exercise causes small tears in your muscle fibers, and your body’s natural repair process naturally leads to inflammation and soreness.

To see if massage truly aids recovery, the researchers biopsied volunteers’ legs over the course of three sessions—once while at rest, a second time after they’d vigorously exercised on a stationary bike and received a 10-minute massage on one thigh, and a third biopsy two and a half hours after the second to track the repair processes between the massaged and un-massaged legs.

Unsurprisingly, massage reduced the production of cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation, and stimulated mitochondria—the tiny powerhouses inside your cells that convert glucose into energy for cell function and repair. So make sure to schedule regular massages; your muscles will adapt better to the demands of increased exercise.

How to Create a Happy Horse

With or without exercise, different areas of the body tend to get tight. Just as you ensure your truck and trailer are well maintained in order to run smoothly and lower the probability of a possible breakdown, the same philosophy must be applied to your horse.

The amount of stress and fatigue that a horse experiences at a horse show (both in travel to and from, and competing) is astronomical. Without proper maintenance, these points of stress and soreness can turn into chronic injuries.


Myofascial release and sports massage can give you a horse that will be able to perform for the long haul, but can also help create a more well-balanced horse mentally and emotionally. When the body is balanced and pain free, the horse has more confidence going into the ring or start box.  Horses are sensitive creatures, and often when they seem to react violently for no reason, are doing so because of some pain in their tissues.

Through observing a horse’s gait, how they stand, how they move, etc., a massage therapist can determine what needs to be treated.  If a horse reacts when a saddle is being put on, or favors one lead more than the other, it is a sign that something is out of alignment. When total balance is achieved, the horse’s health and well-being becomes the norm and you will once again have a happy animal that is eager to do its job.


Does My Horse Really Need the Luxury of a Massage?

We ask a lot of our competition (and pleasure) horses. A little body work will go a long way to make them happier, healthier, and more willing to put out extra effort.

Massage lengthens their stride. The horse can run farther and faster. Massage can relieve many of the nagging ailments that can get in the way of a successful show: muscle aches and soreness, as well as speeding up the healing process from injuries that sideline them from the show season.

I am well aware of the doubters, but I can spot a horse that needs a massage in a heartbeat.

I can see right away that the saddle is not fitting properly. The horse is probably thinking, ‘Don’t you know why I’m so grumpy?’”

If there is an injury or overuse, the body will create connective tissue, which begins to glue the muscles together — sometimes even to the bone. Once that happens, the rest of the body starts to get stuck.

If there is any change in your horse’s attitude ,or in the way it is moving or performing, give me a call, send me a message,  and I can help you evaluate and remedy the problem.


Identifying the Causes of Motion Problems

Barring an actual injury, many problems riders encounter can be the result of a muscle spasm in the horse. By releasing these spasms, the body can be restored to a correct balance (structural integration), tension will be relieved, soreness will resolve, and muscles will be restored to a healthy state. In this series of posts I will cover the most likely culprits that tend to spasm and affect the horses’ performance. Often, by releasing stress points and trigger points, a difficult horse will become sweet and compliant!

A stress point that I often see (especially in thoroughbreds) is on the neck, right behind the atlas (one of the cervical vertebrae). When your horse resists bending to the left, for instance, I will check to see if there is a spasm on the right side of his neck. At times there will be tenderness all the way to the poll. Even at rest, the head can appear to be pulled to one side. If you see your horse in turnout or in his stall stretching his head very low repeatedly, he could be trying to relieve the discomfort of tight muscles (the main culprit has a long name: rectus capitis ventralis).  It makes me so happy to watch the horse shake his head and stretch once this knot is released. There is often quite a desire to move forward as well, so watch out!

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