What makes our Bodywork approach unique?
We pride ourselves on not using a sequence or ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. At CG Equine, we believe that no ailment exists on just one level or all on its own. Therefore, an integrative approach is not only the most efficient but also required to get to the bottom of any issue. Each horse will benefit most from a different combination of modalities, and often different levels of bracing and areas on the body will do best with a particular method.
Cara is an Equine Osteopath and thus her approach to the body is rooting in the philosophies of osteopathy, searching for and stimulating health of the body's own making.
REASONS TO HAVE A BODYWORK SESSION
Your horse is having "behavioral" or "training" issues.
You want to understand your horse before small imbalance and unsoundness turn into a lameness
You want your horse to be as comfortable and healthy as possible
You want the upper edge in competition or sales
Signs of body pain:
Choppy, uneven gait
Problems picking up a lead
Tight low back and haunches
Sour, aggressive, or nervous behaviour
Bending more easily one way than the other
Having a bucking habit or other vice
Tension around the eye, mouth, or nostril
Reluctance to 'do hard work'
Body pain shows up in many discreet ways. Horses, being the prey animals that they are, are masters of compensation and hiding body pain. For these reasons, we must keep a close eye out for discomfort and listen to the small signs that they give when problems are still small.
Our Bodywork Modalities
Equine Osteopathy is the basis of all bodywork sessions as it is Cara's most thorough training on assessing and connecting with the body. In Osteopathy, all three systems of the body are addressed and considered to be constantly interacting. These systems are the Parietal (musculoskeletal), Visceral (organs), and Craniosacral (Central Nervous System and surrounding structures). Through using many different techniques, Cara is able to trace immobility patterns back to the origin and unravel it in an intelligent fashion. Through normalizing the body's motion ability, the body can regain function and simultaneous stimulation of the body's corrective responses occurs.
Positional Release is the primary modality of all bodywork sessions because it taps into the neurology to release dysfunctional patterns by working with junctions of the body through a self-corrective approach. By going with the direction of comfort, the body is then able to self-correct the dysfunctional imbalance through tuning into the nervous system. This method is really efficient as it allows the soft tissue to return to a functional level so that the bones are carried in alignment and joints can function optimally.
Sports Massage Therapy:
Equine sports massage therapy is a combination of many modalities (Swedish. Deep Tissue, Myofascial, and Trigger Point), which is why it contains a wide array of techniques. This was the first modality that Cara became certified in, which was a great way to start working with the body. However, now the techniques that Cara uses go beyond the scope of Sports Massage Therapy. This modality is only preferred by a few horses in particular areas (mainly the hind end). Because of this, Cara is very careful about when she implements this modality. Through working more directly on the muscles, Sports Massage Therapy is the best modality to use when the rest of the body has been unlocked and the disturbance lies in a particular muscle that was not unlocked with everything else.
Trigger Point Therapy:
Trigger Point Therapy focuses on locating trigger points within a muscle and using precise (not intense) pressure to release the trigger point. Trigger points are areas where a hard 'knot' has formed due to several shortened sarcomeres. These are areas of stagnation where pain triggering chemicals pool up. Trigger points are particularly nasty because of the referral patterns that they create, pain that shows up in places separate of the origin. The Trigger Point Therapy approach that Cara uses is based in Fascial Therapy which is why the points can be so easily released, rather than being released through force and heavy pressure.
Photobiomodulation is another way of saying Red Light and Infrared Light Therapy. The wavelengths to use in particular are 660nm (Red Light) and 850 nm (Near Infrared Light). Photobiomodulation works by triggering a biochemical pathway that occurs in the cells. To hear the details of how this works click here to watch a simple, short video that explains. If you would like more information, head over to our Resources page.
Fascia Therapy can mean so many different modalities depending on who you ask. This is because fascia is around everything in the body. It comes in contact with skin, organs, muscles, nerves, and anything else you can imagine. It is such a valued structure to work with because of how it is able to influence and connect all parts of the body. Because of this, any therapy that comes in contact with the body is technically working with the fascia. However there are modalities that focus primarily on working with the fascia. There are two main ways to access the fascia. One is much more forceful and painful where you will hear therapists talk about ripping bound fascia or just using more force in general. The other is a much more gentle approach that can release the fascia through working with the body in a non-painful way. Many times, in really troubled areas, Cara has to unlock layer by layer until she can affect the desired system.
Since the basis to Cara's approach involves reorganizing all the systems through the neurology, reprogramming the proprioception (neural input of where we are in space) is an integral part of this process. It is always requested that the horse have the remainder of the day and the following day off so that the horse can recalibrate their proprioception to their 'new' body. There are other ways to train this once they have developed their baseline. Elastic bands, foam pads, and in-hand work are a few ways this can be done. Cara brings training like this into the conversation with the client because once she has reorganized the system, the owner/trainer is then left with skills to re-educate the system.