What is Equine Acupressure?
Equine Acupressure is a gentle therapy originating from Chinese Medicine, similar to Acupuncture but with the use of fingertip pressure rather than needles. Acupressure points are stimulated on the surface of the body along energy channels known as Meridians. Balancing the body to aid both physical and mental wellbeing.
Sue is a graduate of Elemental Acupressure which specialises in a branch of Classical Chinese Medicine known as 5 Element Theory. Training with EA consisted of over 2 years intense study, a final exam and a further 6 months completing case studies and video evidence of her work. As part of her studies she was also taught Shiatsu massage, a Japanese form of physiotherapy that follows the same principles as Acupressure.
Chief tutor at EA, Susan Tenney, has over 30 years experience teaching and practicing Acupressure in both the USA and Europe. She has worked with all levels, from retired veterans to the US and Swiss National Equestrian Squads. With this wealth of experience, she continues to support Sue with those more complex cases so that you can be assured that you are getting the highest level of care for your horse.
Acupressure is a great modality for keeping any horse stay fit and well mentally and physically, but has also shown good results in helping manage the following conditions when used alongside (never replacing!) veterinary care:-
- joint pain
- respiratory conditions
- skin conditions
- poor hoof quality
- hormone imbalance (mareish behaviour)
- head shaking
- behavioural issues such as anxious behaviour, separation anxiety, aggression, depression.
During an acupressure consultation you will firstly be asked some in-depth questions about your horse’s medical history, lifestyle, training regime, how they interact with other horses and people and deal with stress. In Chinese Medicine all information about a horse is relevant as unlike Western Medicine it does not differentiate between the physical, mental and spiritual, it sees everything as interconnected. So, for example, a horse may present with digestive issues but in Chinese Medicine there could be 10 different ways that an acupressure practitioner would approach this depending on the complete history of that horse.
Once armed with a full history, I will begin the bodywork session with gentle Shiatsu massage to both introduce myself to your horse and assess them both physically and energetically. Only after completing both the questionnaire and initial hands-on palpation will I decide which acupressure points to use for that horse for that session.
Most horses love acupressure often going into what we at Elemental Acupressure call “Acutrance”, a deep state of relaxation, when we hit the right spot. Less commonly, if there is a strong imbalance, horses can also act adversely. But these horses tend to be the ones that show the most dramatic improvement after just one session. There is no right or wrong response to acupressure, every session is unique to that individual horse.
After the session it is recommended that horses have the rest of the day off to allow time to process, owners will be given thorough follow-up instructions.
Owners are often shown Acupressure points that they can use in between visits too and many owners say that they enjoy being able to be a proactive part of their horse’s health care team. All owners receive a comprehensive report after the visit which isn’t just a record of the physical session but often gives information on the horse’s character and what that means from a training and behavioural point of view.