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As a conventional massage therapist Sue soon noticed that although she was helping a horse in the short term, when she returned a month later the issues addressed previously had recurred. Sure as a business model it's great you have to visit every month, but physically not so great for the horse or indeed the owner who has to pay for it! ​Trying to find out why deep massage didn't seem effective, Sue discovered that there was little scientific evidence to say that sports massage had any real benefit, even today there remains limited reliable evidence. Many fellow therapists were finding the same and it was at this time that scientists were beginning to study a previously dismissed connective tissue, Fascia, and its links with the autonomic nervous system. Already instinctively working at a much slower and lighter pressure and noticing a more lasting improvement, the science just added to her certainty that this was the way to go. Studying Shiatsu as part of her Acupressure training and seeing further connection to the Fascial system, she looked for somewhere she could learn more on a formal basis. After a lot of searching, she found what she was looking for in the form of Fascia and Trauma Release pioneer, South African based Liza Kimble and has been lucky enough to be part of some of Liza's first UK EFTR courses.

Now, instead of monthly visits Sue finds she only needs to see a horse 2-4 times per year depending on their workload and owners report that there are often vast improvements in their horse's behaviour as well as performance from the very first session.

Liza Kimble


Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre

 and muscle in place. The tissue does much more than provide internal structure; we now know that fascia has

so many nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin and also know that it has direct communication with the

autonomic nervous system. 


What this means is that emotional trauma can be stored in the body and equally physical trauma can cause an

emotional response in the brain

For our horses, and ourselves, if the fascial system is not healthy it can and will lead to "dis-ease"and

chronic stress with the body trapped in a constant sympathetic  (fight or flight) nervous state. 


Signs that a horse is in a chronic sympathetic state can include:-

- digestive distress 

- increased muscular tension (especially in the diaphragm, ribcage, chest, lower 

  back and psoas)

- loss of postural tone

- feeling spooky, restless or fidgety

- depression, being excessively still

- low immune system, susceptible to infection, mud fever, sweet itch etc



There are two aims of an EFTR session:-

1/ To release PHYSICAL RESTRICTIONS in the superficial fascia to enable healthy muscle function and improve mobility. 

Horses can end up with restricted fascia that has many different causes including poor saddle fit, hoof balance, management and training. Your horse will not be able to perform at their best if the fascia is preventing their muscles from functioning fully.

Medical conditions such as lameness, dental pain or digestive discomfort will often cause specific stress patterns through the fascial system therefore when noted it may be recommended that you talk to your vet and allied professionals to help your horse going forwards.

SCARS from trauma, surgical procedures, castration and branding have a significant effect on a horse's myofascial system with even the smallest scar on a hind fetlock being able to cause discomfort and dysfunction at the poll!


2/ To work with the autonomous nervous system to CREATE SAFETY IN THE BRAIN. 

Our domestic horses have a lot to deal with often having suffered a traumatic weaning and going on to have several owners in their lives. Sadly there are still too many will have endured forceful handling or training at some point and are denied the chance to make long-term friendships. But they are forgiving souls and despite the difficulties they may have endured, it is in their nature as a herd animal to be compliant and non-confrontational. They will always do their best to cooperate which inevitably comes at a cost. As with humans, holding on to stress within their fascial system can have a dramatic affect on their physical and mental wellbeing. With humans we are seeing the importance of removing this stress from the body with trauma release exercises and talk therapy, EFTR is a way of achieving the same results using slow and mindful touch. Using the lightest pressure, the techniques used in EFTR are powerful enough to send signals via the autonomic nervous system to the brain to tell it that the body is safe and can come out of the fight or flight state, allowing the muscles to relax and normal respiration and digestion to happen.

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