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Myomanipulative massage (MM) incorporates the foundation principles of Swedish massage, Sports Massage, and modern techniques of massage. The goal of MM is to make changes to the muscles (ie decreasing tension, loosening knots, easing muscle soreness) to prevent dysfunction of the body that keeps it from moving and working optimally.
Because MM has roots in Swedish massage, it has a wonderful relaxing effect!
What is Swedish massage?
Swedish massage is a relaxing and therapeutic massage that was invented by a Swedish fencing instructor named Per Henrik Ling in the 1830s. The application to horses began in the 1980s. There are three foundations strokes: effluerage (long, gently strokes along the length of the body), petrissage (kneading, wringing, squeezing, etc.) and tapotment (drumming, tapping, shaking, etc.).
What is Sports massage?
Sports massage is a rehabilitative type of massage for athletic horses that experience muscle pain from training, exercise, and/or showing. It incorporates more deep tissue massage techniques to alleviate chronic and acute pain in the soft tissue to allow horses to recover faster and perform better.
What "modern techniques" do you use?
I use the Flyby F1Pro Massage Gun for deep tissue work. The Flyby uses percussive vibration to reach deeper muscles my hands cannot influence. Most horses love the Flyby because it is quiet and relaxing!
Additionally, I incorporate Cupping in Myomanipulative massage. Although cupping is a century old practice, it's use on horses is a new practice. Cupping is an ancient form of therapy that utilizes cups to create suction on the skin. It is used to decrease pain and inflammation, increase blood flow, move stagnant Qi, decompress muscles, and promote relaxation. Cupping lifts the skin and decompresses the muscle beneath, allowing blood flow to move to that area. It is a popular form of pain management for human athletes, but has the same excellent benefits for horses!
During cupping therapy, soft silicone cups are placed on an the horse and left on for no more than 5 minutes. The most common side affects are tenderness, bruising, and skin irritation, but these are mild. You may notice a raised circle where a cup was placed; this will usually go away within 24 hours.
If I perform cupping therapy, I will always strongly encourage you to allow your horse to rest for 1-2 days before returning to work. Cupping creates mild superficial bruises that can be agitated by a saddle or rider.
What are the benefits of Myomanipulative Massage?
For an extensive list of benefits, please visit the "Massage" page under "Services" or go here.
How long does this session last?
A full Myomanipulative Massage lasts 45-60 minutes. A half session targets specific body parts and is only recommended if you are combining an additional form of therapy.
How often does my horse need a massage?
The frequency of this massage will vary for each horse. I can make a better judgment after your horse's initial massage. For a horse in heavy or moderate work, or a horse with chronic issues, I recommend a massage every 1-2 weeks. Typically, I recommend a massage every 2-4 weeks.