Equiflexion Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my horse needs a treatment?

All horses can benefit from a massage and manipulation treatment, see the Benefits of Equine Massage page for some signs that your horse could do with an assessment and treatment.  Also see below My horse doesn’t seem to have a problem, but I’d like him to have a massage treatment anyway, is this ok?         

What makes Equine Sports Massage and Musculo-Skeletal Manipulation Therapy different from other therapies?       

ESMT & EMSMT treats the horse as a whole recognising that the root cause of a problem can be in a different place to where initial signs of discomfort are being displayed.  This can have a knock on effect throughout the body.  Massage will address muscle issues and the manipulation will address any joint problems, as the two are often intertwined this results in an overall treatment of your horse’s locomotor system.  All equine therapists should work alongside each other respecting that the priority is the horse’s health and wellbeing, see the What is Equine Massage & Manipulation page for more details. 

What is the therapist looking for when they treat a horse? 

When seeing the horse for the first time the therapist is first looking for irregularities in the way the horse moves and any conformational issues which could be putting strain on the horse’s locomotor system (like people, very few horses are perfectly put together so slight conformational defaults are the norm).  This, along with background information from the owner gives the therapist a good starting point.  See the Prices & What to Expect page.        

Does the therapist just treat the one problem area?      

ESMT and EMSMT are holistic treatments meaning the therapist treats the whole horse. The body is a kinetic chain so a change in one area can affect a seemingly totally different muscle.  This is often because the body protects the site of the problem by compensating elsewhere which puts a great strain on that muscle group.  If certain problem areas have been identified after the first session, the therapist may concentrate on these alone in future sessions.         

How many sessions will my horse need?        

Each horse is different and it also depends on what you are trying to achieve which the therapist will discuss with you during the initial assessment.  The equine body has two layers of muscles; superficial and deep.  The superficial muscles are palpable straight away and need to be relaxed before some of the deep muscles can be reached.  Effectively massaging the deep muscles, which can often be at the root of the cause, is not always possible during the first session so it is generally recommended that a horse has more than one session, depending on the findings.  If a horse has undergone a lot of joint manipulation during the treatment session the therapist may want to see the horse in the next week or two weeks to concentrate on massaging the muscles to encourage them to adapt to a new balanced joint position. See the What is Equine Massage & Manipulation page and the Prices & What to Expect page.       

My horse doesn’t seem to have a problem, but I’d like him to have a massage treatment anyway, is this ok?       

Of course!  Massage can be enjoyed by every horse and can improve general well being.  It is also useful to have your horse checked for any joint misalignments.  You can treat your horse to a relaxing massage without the full assessment which is also great for older horses to keep them more mobile or those on box rest to help keep their muscles supple.  If your horse has a few niggles that haven’t come to the surface yet the therapist can address these.  It can take around 90 days (3 months!!!) for minor muscle injuries to become apparent so prevention is better than cure!  By the time the injuries have worked their way to the top they have often become more serious which results in a longer recovery time.      

Will my horse enjoy the treatment?        

Most horses find massage very relaxing.  Signs of this are yawning, rolling or closing their eyes, licking and chewing, relaxing their lower lip or resting a leg.  There may be times when the horse becomes agitated when the therapist is working deeply in an area of tension but the therapist is always gauging the horse’s reactions and adapting their methods to suit.  The horse often relaxes and shows signs of relief after muscle release work.  Some horses however, especially those that don’t like being touched anyway, can take a little longer to relax but this generally improves the more sessions he has.  Any joints that need to be realigned using EMSMT are manipulated as gently as possible.        

Are there any side effects?   

ESMT and EMSMT are non-invasive therapies, but changes may happen during and after the massage.  During the treatment it is likely that the horse’s temperature will drop slightly so it is good to have a blanket to hand.  Massage increases circulation and blood flow so your horse may urinate more frequently and pass more droppings than usual as a result of lymphatic drainage and the removal of toxins, so make sure he has plenty of water available and a thick bed if stabled.  If manipulation or deep friction work has taken place, particularly in the saddle area, your horse could have some localised soreness so your therapist will advise you if you need to give your horse the day off or lunge instead.  It is advised that the horse isn’t turned out with other horses immediately afterwards or given hard feed straight away to allow his body to adjust.        

Is there anything I could do in between treatments to help my horse?     

The therapist will advise you of any ridden exercises that could help your horse, or gentle massage techniques or passive stretches.          

When will I notice a difference?          

This is completely dependent on the horse and what you are trying to achieve.  Changes will be occurring after one session but these may be subtle as the body readjusts itself.  Further sessions and continued maintenance treatment is highly likely to result in a more flexible horse and improved performance.                   

If you have any more questions please get in touch.