Equine Shiatsu

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Shiatsu is an ancestral healing art developed in China and Japan. Over the last twenty years it has been adapted and developed specifically for horses, mainly in America and England.

Shiatsu is, like its sister acupuncture, the art of massage based on chinese medicine. But instead of needles, we act on ‘meridians’ through pressure with hands and fingers and through gentle meridian stretches. Meridians are ‘energy highways’ related to internal organs and the nerve-centres in the brain which control their specific functions.

The benefits of shiatsu for the horse

Stress management

  • Shiatsu as a prophylactic treatment significantly reduces stress-related symptoms and problems.
  • Studies show that a regularly-treated horse has a much smaller chance of developing stress-related illness, colic, laminitis, deficiencies of the immune system, behavioural problems…
  • The horse will relax fear and become more confident. He is able to mobilise his energy when he is asked to do it and where he is asked to do it.
  • There is less stress during transport or from stabling in unknown environments.
  • The horse communicates better and takes pleasure in accomplishing its work.

On the physical and physiological level

  • By working directly on the tensions that are caused by work or by environmental and human-induced circumstances, we allow the horse to stay flexible and in harmony with his environment. Muscular pain is relieved and the horse is less prone to developing chronic problems like tendon inflammations and more…
  • Shiatsu acts directly on the sympathetic nervous system, which has wide implications: the blood circulation improves, muscles relax, digestion eases (particularly the metabolism of sugars), the hormonal system-balance improves…
  • Periods of recovery after accidents, trauma, or of immobilisation due to lameness etc… are shortened.
  • Recovery after extreme effort, racing or show jumping… is shortened and more complete.
  • Shiatsu can optimise western veterinary treatments.

Horse and Rider

Physical or psychological issues that are specific to a rider often also affect the horse. The rider may have a stiff back caused by pain or injury, the horse will then react with stiffness. In such cases it is extremely beneficial to work on both the rider and the horse.

A relaxed rider who is well balanced and more aware of his own state, can achieve more oneness with his horse and bring him the confidence and ease he needs.

I offer a ‘shiatsu package’ for horse and rider.

Are you thinking of acquiring a horse – for yourself or your family ?

This relation that is about to develop will be primordial for both of you. This horse will be your companion; he or she will share your life and will probably become involved way beyond anything you can imagine. For him it is simply a story of life and death as he is completly dependant on you.

So think well !

Are you ready and do you know what to expect ? Do you know how your personalities will go together ? Will you be very suprised by the new interactions ?

Will you help developing the best qualities in each other, or will you increase just what you fear in yourself ?

With shiatsu and the help of the 5 elements there is a way of knowing more about each-other and what might happen, what you might have to work on, etc…

I will gladly bring shiatsu skills to you and your prospective horse, and help you down a happy and gratifying path together ?

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What does an equine shiatsu treatment look like?

How does it happen?

Through observing and sensing the horse’s demeanor and personality, we get an idea of the typology of the horse, his/her imbalances, strengths and weaknesses.

Through observation and other techniques of “energetic inquiry” we then assess what we want to address particularly.

The session takes place in a stall or another familiar and calm place.

It needs to be relatively cool in summer and warm in winter, dry and protected from wind.

It can be a paddock if the weather allows it.

The horse needs to be clean, dry and rested.

It is important that it is not during main feeding times.

It is good to allow him at least some hours of rest after the treatment.

The session can last between 10 minutes and about an hour. Each horse being different, the session will also be different.

The horse generally communicates clearly what his needs are and he will not be polite !  Once he is used to shiatsu he will happily relax.

Sometimes it can be beneficial to apply a series of 3 or 4 sessions over a relatively short period. A ‘refreshment’ may then be good to apply regularly once a month or every season. (This was the traditional frequency of a ‘healthy’ human in old China). This is of course something to evaluate in each case.

The vet needs to be informed of the presence of an equine shiatsu practitioner and needs to give their approval.

Of course most treatments tend to be at home stables, so I travel in all of France and other countries. Thank you for contacting me for information.