Sunday, March 24, 2013

When to try equine craniosacral work or massage

Well here we are well into March and it does not feel at all like spring will ever come to Maryland.  Snow?  Really??  I suppose there are hints, if one pays attention.  Our horses are certainly beginning to shed their coats even if their two-legged friends are not.  Maybe they feel sorry for us, and want to share the warmth they do not feel they need?  On the gardening front are also some subtle signs: daffodils not only erupting, but blossoming, and still surviving the 30 degree dips at night.  This week I was asked an important question: “how would I know if my horse needed craniosacral work – what would be the signs that this type of work could be beneficial”?   And I thought this could be a good topic for this week’s blog. 

It is first important to emphasize that any unusual or different behavior that your horse may exhibit, and is something that you do not feel competent to address yourself, should come to the attention of your veterinarian before considering complementary therapy.  Once your vet checks out your horse, treats or not, rules out any underlying medical or orthopedic issues that can be treated by veterinary care, and gives him or her the ok for craniosacral work or massage is when you may wish to consider these modalities for your horse. 

So – here are some of the indications that craniosacral work and/or massage may be helpful:  If your horse

  • suddenly and consistently refuses to take a particular lead at the canter;
  • demonstrates an unwillingness to get on the bit (could indicate a Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or TMJD);
  • exhibits a headshaking behavior that is more than occasional and is interfering with the work you do together;
  • suffered an injury or trauma, especially one involving the head, either recently or in the past - even at birth;
  • received dental work that included use of a metal speculum;
  • suffered a bout of colic;
  • has issues related to castration or pre-partuition;
  • had a poorly fitting saddle, or other equipment;
  • is prone to tying up or exertional rhabdomyolysis
  • engages in behaviors or habits with an emotional component including stall walking, cribbing, and weaving;
  • suffers head-related conditions including tinnitus, facial nerve paralysis, sinus issues, dorsal displacement of the soft palette or DDSP, and blocked tear ducts.

Now you may be asking - how can craniosacral work or massage possibly help to resolve all of these conditions?   Tune in next week to begin a discussion of these issues and the role that craniosacral work and massage may play in their resolution.  Do you have other burning questions about craniosacral work or massage?  Let me know!

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  1. Wow! these are great guidelines. Knowing those indications are really important so that you'll know when they'll need a massage therapy. I will take note on this. Thank you!