#ForTheRider - Keeping the rider stable with Massage Therapy
Picture this – You and your horse have had a really tough training session and you’ve both given it your all but as the evening draws in, the hard work has left your body feeling tired and you start to notice your muscles tightening. What do you do next?
That’s where massage comes in. A relaxation massage can relieve tension in your aching muscles, helping you relax after a tough ride or a more energising massage at the start of your day can improve your circulation and give you that overall ‘feel good factor’?
Benefits of massage:
· Massage can stimulate the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers) into the brain and nervous system which can significantly reduce pain.
· It can help guide you into a relaxed and more positive state of mind where stress, anxieties and blood pressure can be reduced.
· It can calm your mind and body thus aiding in a better night’s sleep.
· Massage can boost the immune system helping to regulate your body’s natural defences.
· It can shorten the recovery time for a muscular strain.
The Equestrian world can be very physically demanding on your body with many riders experiencing tired muscles, aches and pains, and stiff neck and shoulders which can lead to balance and postural problems. If you are experiencing any of these discomforts it can have a negative effect on your horse’s movements.
As we all know, horses can sometimes be unpredictable which might cause you to be pulled forwards during a ‘wild moment’, which could potentially strain your shoulder or upper back muscles. In more extreme circumstances you might even fall off and seriously injure yourself (in which case I think you’ll have higher priorities than getting a massage!).
Even when you’re at the stables be aware of the considerable strain on you back while shovelling the lovely presents left for you by your four legged friend on the stable floor.
Experienced horse rider and owner of Apt Cavalier, Sarah, knows full well of the continued physical challenges of owning a horse. She came to me as a case study during my training and is now a regular client as she values the benefit of frequent massage treatments. During the study she was experiencing mild discomfort to her shoulders and back after cross country riding (and of course sitting at a computer all day during work hours doesn’t help).
Swedish Massage continues to be hugely beneficial to Sarah with my treatment focusing on relieving muscle tension in her back, neck and shoulders using various techniques to relax and stimulate her muscles. This form of massage improves the circulation and increases blood flow to all areas, bringing oxygenated blood and nutrients to the muscles and major organs while flushing out metabolic wastes from the body’s tissues. Basically, she feels good.
Sarah was also experiencing tight calves with occasional cramps during the night due to an excessive amount of high intensity training and a busy lifestyle. So our agreed treatment was a leg and foot massage to release tension and improve flexibility. Again, this increases her circulation bringing more oxygen to her legs which in turn helps with any lower back problems and encourages improvement in posture.
Outcome of treatment:
· Sarah is less anxious/ nervous about competition days after having a massage the night before.
· Better posture with less aches and pains helping her focus on giving her best performance.
· She feels relaxed and is able to switch off and unwind after a hectic day.
· She is relaxed both emotionally and physically with an overall feeling of satisfaction.
Having a client like Sarah has helped me understand the physical stresses of horse riding and from this experience I’ve learned a lot about how to treat horse riders in general. When living such an energetic and physically demanding lifestyle, the ongoing massage treatment I still offer Sarah plays an essential role in improving her general well-being. Massage will continue to help relieve pain, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation and aid in her overall feeling of satisfaction.
If this blog has inspired you then get in touch with Tracv who is based in the Scottish Borders and taking on new clients:
Tracey Sweeney: Massage Therapist
Scottish Massage Therapists Organisation (SMTO)
Diploma in Swedish Massage, Diploma in Indian Head Massage
Phone: 07870 821 616