Swedish Massage is an ancient and well known method of treatment, with the massage strokes mainly running in parallel to the flow of blood and lymph. This assists circulation and lymphatic drainage, and promotes deep relaxation. Every other type of massage uses at least one form of the Swedish method; with Sports Massage evolving in order to keep pace with the changing methods of training and competition.
Sports Massage is widely acknowledged as both a preventative therapy and for recovery and rehabilitation from injury. It should involve a static and dynamic assessment of the animal in order to select techniques most suited to the specific situation, such as Trigger Point Therapy and Deep Tissue Mobilisation.
Trigger Point Technique works on dispersing accumulations of lactic acid in the muscles. Lactic acid is a toxic by-product of exercise, which can build up into a painful nodule at key areas in the muscles. Stress Point Therapy can be thought of similarly, one of the differences being that Stress Points usually develop on the origin tendon of a muscle and can send fasciculation, or referred pain and spasming, through the affected muscle.
Myofascial Release is a method of relaxing restrictions in the connective tissue, or fascia. Fascia envelops every structure in the body, and assist in the gliding of structures over each other to facilitate smooth movement. Damaged tissues such as torn muscles create adhesions which limit this movement and leads to poor performance and range of motion.
Deep Tissue Mobilisation works at the deep musclular level in order to relieve severe tension, commonly with Myofascial Release. It is often used in Sports Massage as it is corrective and restorative.
Acupressure is an ancient healing method which uses points on the body (acu or ashi points) to rebalance energetic pathways and encourage flow of blood and Chi (life force) to stimulate the body’s innate healing ability. It is an incredibly effective Eastern method of releasing tension and blockages which inhibit the immune system and restoring the body to homeostasis, or balance. All living tissues produce electromagnetic fields; however acupoints are areas of decreased electrical resistance and increased fascial penetration, allowing for greatest transmission of beneficial effects. Interestingly some Trigger Point locations are the same as acupoints, however the overall methods differ somewhat and Acupressure is a vast subject on its own.
In basic terms, Photonic Therapy uses light to trigger the brain to improve the healing and defense mechanisms of the body; also stimulating the natural pain-killing and anti-inflammatory responses. This increase in key cellular metabolism, growth and repair enables the maximum rate of healing. Although this sounds simple, it is incredibly powerful; yet also safe, gentle and non-invasive.
Red Light Therapy uses a non-coherent monochromatic light of a specific wavelength (660nm), shown over centuries to be the closest match to the resonant frequency of healthy cells to alter electrical fields within the body and stimulate vasodilation, cellular regeneration and pain relief. It is not laser or ultra-violet light and so can be used safely.
Photonic Acupuncture effectively combines the science of red light therapy with the traditions of acupuncture, where acupoints are used with red light instead of needles. All living tissues produce electromagnetic fields; however acupoints are areas of decreased electrical resistance and therefore particularly effective at transmitting the beneficial effects of photonic therapy.
I use Red Light Therapy Kits (www.redlighttherapy.com.au) for my photonic torches and pads. They have proved to be effective and robust enough for therapist grade use, even on horses.
© 2014 by Louise Bailey