What is Equine Myofascial Release?
Equine Myofascial Release is a non-forced, whole-body (ear to hoof) technique that treats the cause of problems not just the symptoms. It helps to restore essential elasticity to the connective tissue called fascia.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a 3-dimentional web surrounding and connecting every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ throughout the entire body. Consider the white stringy substance in an orange; it surrounds the fruit inside, it's also interlaced into each piece of fruit. It holds everything inside together, and it also holds the "skin" or the peel onto the outside of the fruit. Without it, the inside of the orange would basically be liquid. Fascia is an elastic component that supports everything within the body. It allows for muscles, tendons, and joints to flex and stretch. Overtime or after even the slightest injury, the fascia begins to tighten down causing restrictions. We call them "restrictions" because they can limit and restrict movement, range of motion, and bodily functions. If you try to force a restricted area to move as it originally had, it can cause serious injuries such as muscle tearing. A restriction can have up to 2,000 lbs. of pressure per square inch! Because fascia connects the entire body, where the symptoms are, isn't necessarily where the problem is. EMFR helps to maintain the horse's overall health and performance while preventing injuries. It can also help with the healing process of a current injury.
What is the Treatment Process?
The treatment process uses hands-on pressure into the restrictions (the source of problems) for a minimum of 3-5 minutes, allowing the restrictions to fully release. The time component, which separates Myofascial Release from other forms of bodywork such as massage or chiropractic, allows the tissue to return to its original, elastic state. Each horse is an individual. Two horses that have back pain may not have the same source of restriction. An evaluation for each horse is done to look and feel for restrictions. Some EMFR techniques can be applied directly before and after a show. This can be done as a way to help the body to be as free-moving as possible; in the same way an athlete stretches before and after they compete to maintain the health of their body.