How massage helps injuries

Muscles is that more than 60% of the horses body weight is muscle. Small muscle injuries can take up to 90 days to become apparent (by a change in attitude, decreased performance and lameness) by which time they may have caused more serious injury. Fast response to these ‘minor’ muscle injuries will not only enhance a horse’s performance but also may prevent future problems.
Muscle tension is transmitted from one muscle group to another, for example – shoulder tension may be deferred to the muscles of the forearm, causing extra stress on the tendons.

Techniques used for Equine Sports massage:


Effleurage is a stroke used, initially to relax the animal & to introduce the masseur as a non-threatening and trustworthy figure. Effleurage then moves on; to provide a vital role in the routine, to relax the animal both physiologically and psychologically & as a tool to enable the masseur to start evaluating the body tissue. All Swedish routines both for human and equine start and finish with this technique. Effleurage is the use of long, rhythmic, gliding, slow strokes;

  • Induces physiological and psychological relaxation
  • Warms superficial tissue, resulting in increased localized temperature
  • Relieves pain (natural release of endorphins)
  • Increases Circulation, assisting in delivery of nutrients
  • Increases Lymphatic flow, assisting in removal of waste
  • Slow rhythmical strokes encourage relaxation
  • Rapid strokes stimulate the body


Friction is a technique applied transversely over the muscle fibres. Local compressions separate the fibres and break up any adhesions. The technique is performed using a single fingertip, or by one fingertip supported by a second. Deep pressure is applied to move the underlying tissue across the muscle fibres and to “irritate” the area being massaged.

  • To irritate and stimulate tissue
  • Assists the bodys natural healing mechanisms to break down adhesions within the muscle tissue, resulting in re-establishing the body’s natural cleansing and healing processes
  • Reduces muscle spasms and pain
  • Assists to broaden and separate muscle fibres
  • Used for deep tissue work
  • Assists to mobilise deep scaring
  • Assists to mobilise adherent tissue interfaces
  • Relaxes tense muscles
  • Increase circulation, blood & O2 supply to muscles and removal of waste products.

Passive Stretch

Movement of a joint or joints as applied for passive movements, however at the end of range marginal over-pressure is applied to increase range and stretch all involved structures; Capsule, ligaments and muscles.

  • Assists in re-education of movement patterns.
  • Affects propriorceptor sensors and improves muscle function.
  • Improved recoil of fibres and as a result improved function.
  • Reduces muscle tension.
  • Improves circulation.
  • Stimulates nervous system.
  • Enhances and improves movement.
  • Effects soft tissue structures.
  • Assists joint lubrication.
  • Effects kinematic / recoil energy.
  • Improves muscle flexibility
  • Restores and maintains range of movement

Passive stretches should be performed by a qualified masseur, the tissues should be prepared prior to stretching. Joints should never be overstretched.

Pictures of symptons