The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

7.12 An Excerpt From The Book ‘Horse Massage For Horse Owners’ by Sue Palmer

Effleurage

Practising on yourself

Place your hand, palm down, onto your forearm just above your wrist. Apply a little pressure, mostly through the heel of your hand but keeping the whole of the palm of your hand, including the pads of your fingers and thumb, relaxed and in contact with your forearm. Keeping the pressure the same all the way, slide your hand up towards your elbow. You will see the skin ripple slightly in a wave in front of your hand as you move. When you are close to your elbow, stop and release the pressure, so that your hand just rests lightly against your forearm again. Without any pressure but keeping your hand in contact with your arm, slide your hand back down your forearm to just above your wrist, where you started. Repeat this as many times as you need to become comfortable with the technique

Practising on a partner

Place your hand, palm down, onto the base of your partner’s back. Apply a little pressure, mostly through the heel of your hand but keeping the whole of the palm of your hand, including the pads of your fingers and thumb, relaxed and in contact with your partner’s back. Keeping the pressure the same all the way, slide your hand up towards your partner’s neck. You will see their clothing ripple slightly in a wave in front of your hand as you move, mirroring what is happening to their skin (it’s important that they have pulled their shirt tight so that it doesn’t get caught up in front of your fingers). When you are close to their neck, stop and release the pressure, so that your hand just rests lightly against their back again. Without any pressure but keeping your hand in contact with their back at all times, slide your hand down their back again to the point that you started from

Timing

Take around 4 seconds to slide your hand up your partner’s back, and around 4 seconds to slide back down again. Be aware of your posture, and that your free hand rests just lightly on their shoulder with your forearm offering support to the front of their body. Repeat this effleurage technique as many times as you need to become comfortable with the technique. Try moving faster or slower, and using more or less pressure. Discover what feels best for you and ask your partner to let you know what feels best for them. If you have the opportunity, try the technique on several different friends. See how their feedback varies and how your confidence improves.

Common problems with effleurage

Keep your fingers relaxed

The most common mistake I see when people are first learning effleurage is that they keep their fingers tense, which means that the hand is not relaxed and the pads of the fingers are not in contact with the skin. Try deliberately tensing your fingers so that they lift away from the skin, and notice how different the effleurage feels, both for the giver and for the receiver. Then relax your fingers again and feel how much smoother the contact is, and how much better you are able to feel the tissues that you are massaging. When you are practising on a partner, your fingers should be so relaxed that when you reach the top of their back, your fingers naturally follow the contour of the body and curve over the shoulder. The same applies when you are massaging the shoulder region of your horse and you reach the withers.

Keep your hand in contact with the skin

It’s important to keep physical contact at all times with the person or horse you’re massaging. When you reach the end of your effleurage stroke, it’s easy to think that you’ve done the move and to take your hand away from the body as you move to the beginning to repeat the move, or as you move to a new starting position for your next move. Effleurage applies pressure in one direction only, but don’t lose touch with the person or horse as you slide your hand back to the start or on to the next position.

For more information and to order your copy of ‘Horse Massage For Horse Owners’ today, visit www.thehorsephysio.co.uk.

Description of ‘Horse Massage for Horse Owners’ by Sue Palmer

”This book is a must for anyone who would like to improve the health, wellbeing or performance of their horse. Practical, educational and easy to follow, the author shares with you the knowledge and skills you need to massage your own horse. Learn about equine anatomy, massage techniques, and how to combine the moves to develop a complete massage routine. With the emphasis on how you can work with your own horse, Sue offers an insight into how to reduce pain and stiffness in your horse as well as improve performance. Massaging your horse gives something back in return for all he does for you, and will help you and your horse to truly enjoy the time that you spend together.”

5 star review on Amazon from Ann T

“I was really impressed by this book. Written clearly, with relevant illustrations that reinforce the text, it tells you what to do and explains why. I enjoyed learning a bit more about the horse's anatomy and it made it easier to understand the massage. The techniques do take some practice - my forearm and partner are as well massaged as the horse! - but they get easier. My older mare certainly enjoys the sessions and it seems to give me feedback on how she's feeling. I think she's moving more easily too. Our horses have benefitted from treatment from both physiotherapists and osteopaths previously and this would in no way replace their expertise, but would hopefully be a useful adjunct. The FAQs are informative and the prompt section a useful idea. The book is great for amateurs like me but I feel that professional riders may find it of interest as well.”

Publisher: ‎ J.A.Allen & Co Ltd; Illustrated edition (30 Aug. 2012)

Language: ‎ English

Paperback: ‎ 128 pages

ISBN-10: ‎ 0851319998

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0851319995

Dimensions: ‎ 19.05 x 1.27 x 24.13 cm

For more information and to order your copy of ‘Horse Massage For Horse Owners’ today, visit www.thehorsephysio.co.uk.

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021

Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion

December 7, 2021
Sue Palmer
crossmenu