In this article we ask the question, do horses benefit from massage?
While we don’t know the exact origins of massage, it is believed to have existed as early as 3,000 years BC and began in India where it was used for healing purposes.
Over the years, many different forms of massage have evolved for healing, injury, relaxation and injury prevention.
The benefits to humans are well documented and quite possibly experienced by most of us, but does this relate to horses or in fact any other animal.
The simple answer is yes, horses do benefit from massage along with almost any animal that uses muscles, tendons and nerves to move.
As with human massage, the benefits to horses can include:
- Increase blood flow and reduced muscle tension
- Reduce pain and swelling from injury
- Injury prevention
- Improve movement and comfort
- Improve posture
- Beneficial to the immune system
- Beneficial to general well-being
When combined, the benefits from equine massage will ensure a horse is healthy, happy, contented and able to be as active as they can.
This is of course, particularly beneficial for race horses or any horse participating in sport as it enables optimum performance.
Do horses enjoy massage? Well, that would be harder to answer, but we assume they get the same easing and relaxing sensations that humans do and they certainly do seem to enjoy being massaged.
Does my horse need a massage?
There are a couple of scenarios where a horse owner may ask themselves if their horse needs a massage.
The first and most obvious is that the horse is showing signs of a physical problem, such as walking awkwardly or unable to bend easily. The second would where a horse is not showing signs of a problem, but the owner just wants to ensure the horse is in the best condition.
An Equine Massage Therapist or Equine Physiotherapist can tell by looking at a horse or by feeling around their body whether they are hiding any injuries or problems, or in fact they may be prone to injury in the future.
Therefore, even if your horse is not showing any signs of a problem, it is worth getting them checked over by a professional.
Even if the professional does not find any particular problem, any message treatment will come with all of the benefits listed above and leave your horse feeling loosened up, relaxed and happy.