Hands-On Therapies for the Horse

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Perhaps no other modality of equine therapy has grown as rapidly as the "hands on" therapies have in the past five years. This growth is patterned after human physical therapy, where the use of the hands to relieve soft tissue discomfort and joint movement restrictions has expanded over the last 20 years. The many techniques of massage, acupressure, and joint mobilizations always have been used, but only lately studied scientifically and refined. With your hands, you can reduce pain and swelling, as well as increase joint range of motion, and the functionality of the musculature.


Manual therapy brings the horse and handler into close and intimate contact, an act which helps the horse develop trust in the handler.

Human physical therapy began as a largely "hands-on" profession. With the development of therapeutic equipment, such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, manual techniques fell out of favor in the early half of the century. As we approach the beginning of a new century, we find that therapists are employing the "laying on of hands" in a wide variety of techniques

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Written by:

Mimi Porter lives in Lexington, Ky., where she has practiced equine therapy since 1982. Prior to that, she spent 10 years as an athletic trainer at the University of Kentucky. Porter authored The New Equine Sports Therapy

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