In this article:
- The Mysterious Word
- What Is Fascia
- How Fascia Affects Movement
- How To Ensure Healthy Fascia In Your Horse
THE MYSTERIOUS WORD
If you have ever been exposed to equine bodywork in the past, or even if you have simply browsed websites looking for an equine massage therapist, chances are that you have come across the word “fascia”. Bodyworkers love to talk about fascia in horses, and we may even throw words at you like “fascial restrictions” and “myofascial release”. I will admit, the first time I was told a horse needed fascial work, I thought to myself “Is he saying my horse needs a facial? I don’t think insurance will pay for that…” So what is fascia, and why is it so important to make sure your horse has a healthy fascial system?
WHAT IS FASCIA?
In its simplest form, fascia refers to the connective tissue throughout the body. Fascia is soft tissue that is made up of collagen, water, and different proteins, and can be found surrounding muscles, below the skin, around bones, nerves, organs, and may other areas of the body. It is a web of connective tissue that has a number of different functions, including offering protection and structural integrity, absorbing shock, allowing for intercellular communication, and offering an environment for tissue repair after injury. Fascia can be found in nearly every area of the body and its functions are numerous.
HOW FASCIA AFFECTS MOVEMENT
When fascia becomes unhealthy, which can be a result of various causes, movement may lose it’s fluidity, and seem painful or stiff. If left untreated, the horse will begin to compensate for this in other areas of the body, which can effect posture and the horse’s overall way of going. If fascia has been damaged, it may cause inflammation and extreme pain, but even if it is simply dehydrated, the horse’s movement will be affected. For a more in depth article about fascia, with an incredible video of how it affects the body, check out Dr. Hedley’s article “Fascia and How It Affects Your Horse’s Movement”.
ENSURING HEALTHY FASCIA IN YOUR HORSE
Movement is the key to keeping fascial restrictions at bay in your horse, and stretches can also be a powerful influencer for maintaining healthy fascia. One of the most valuable things you can do for your horse’s fascial health is to schedule regular bodywork sessions. Equine massage can influence fascia in profound ways and keep your horse pain free and moving smoothly. If you think your horse may be exhibiting fascial issues, I suggest you call an equine massage therapist for an assessment. Having been trained in fascial care, including Myofascial Release (Muscular Fascia), I make sure to incorporate fascial care into my massage sessions regularly. This enables me to keep a running tab on the health of my client’s fascial system, and allows for the prevention of fascial restrictions. Emerald Equine Massage Therapy is happy to book appointments for clients in the Western and Central Washington areas.