Equine Cranio Sacral Therapy is a holistic healing practice which comprises of light finger pressure to enable the body to move to it’s fullest extent without pain or discomfort. This subtle and gentle method of therapy can be highly effective in dealing with numerous conditions that include: headshaking, lameness, blocked tear ducts, sinus problems, cribbing, behavioural problems, facial nerve paralysis, temporomandibular (TMJ) dysfunction, head, spinal and head end injuries. Because the treatment concentrates it’s work directly onto the central nervous system or core link, the work, whilst being very gentle and non-invasive, works more deeply in the horses body than any other massage therapies.
How Equine Cranio Sacral treatment works:
The Cranio Sacral system of the horse comprises of several parts of the horse including the bones of the head or cranium, the sacrum highest point of the quarters, the spinal column, spinal cord and the spinal dura. Traditionally the treatment specialises in the head, spine and sacrum, but it is not limited to these parts nor is it a form of bone manipulation. The horse’s head connects through the spine, spinal cord and dural tube, which is a protective sheath that encases and protects the spinal column to the hind quarters.
An injury to the hind quarters can affect the head and visa versa an injury to the head can affect the hind end over a period in time. Twists and distortion can occur in the dura tube linking the two ends and in the muscular and skeletal systems, which affects the cranial wave and creates imbalances in the horse’s body. Restrictions to the cranio sacral system can be caused by stress, trauma or injury which affects how the horse’s body moves and functions, creating imbalances in the muscular skeletal systems and the core link. The restrictions in the body will affect behaviour, performance and the horse’s attitude over time. The therapist is trained using a light pressure to palpate the cranio sacral rhythm and sense the restrictions within the system using a sensitive hands-on technique.
The Equine Cranio Sacral therapist is trained to palpate the cranial wave anywhere on the horse’s body with precise hands-on technique. Depending on the various conditions of the horse, the therapist is taught specific areas of contact. The therapist, by palpating the cranial wave on different areas of the horse’s body can tell where the skeletal and muscular systems are compromised and imbalances occur. The therapist will interpret this discrete movement to locate these restrictions, and then assist the horse’s body in releasing the injury or stored trauma.
The joints or sutures between the cranial bones forming the horse’s skull or cranium, which comprises of a complex and intricate weaving of twenty six individual plates of bone, each varying in shape and size, which are designed together to protect the brain and eyes, houses the teeth and forms the airway and sinuses, allows for movement and to help disperse the impact of a blow when an injury to the head occurs. Cranial bones are alive with a significant amount of blood supply making them pliable, as if they weren’t they would shatter on impact. The cranial bones of horses are still developing up to the age of four to five years old and any stress or trauma to the young horse’s skull from birth forward will have a significant impact on the horse’s health and cranial bones. Also the way a horse is castrated, trained, ridden and even the method that dental work that is carried out can have a large affect of a horse’s general health.
What conditions can receive benefit from Equine Cranio Sacral Therapy:
Most horses could benefit from equine cranio sacral therapy work to keep their bodies both healthy and in balance, due to the many stresses horses are subjected to. These stresses can be caused in many different ways including: field accidents, dental work, saddles that are not fitted properly, incorrect training. Equine cranio sacral therapy is especially beneficial in the treatment of such conditions as head injuries, traumas, head shaking and temporal mandibular dysfunction, but it should be noted that due to the skeletal and muscular systems, the trained therapist often makes sense of long standing injuries that seem to make no sense as a lameness can be caused by problems that occurred in a difference location. The number of sessions needed to treat different conditions will vary from horse to horse depending on the seriousness of the condition. It should be noted however that equine cranio sacral therapy by no means replaces professional veterinary care and it is very important only to work with people who are properly trained.
Where does Equine Cranio Sacral Therapy come from:
The therapy was originally called cranial osteopathy and then later craniopathy, cranio sacral work and originated for humans only from the ground breaking work carried out in 1900’s by Osteopath, by Dr. William Sutherland. Dr. Sutherland, who is referred to as the father of osteopathy, was the first to sense the minute movement that is called the cranial ‘wave or rhythm’. This rhythm is different from the heartbeat and the respiratory rate but is still measurable by scientific standards. It can be palpated by a skilled therapist anywhere on the body and moves between eight to fourteen cycles per minute. The work was taken forward and called ‘Cranio Sacral Therapy’ by Dr. John Upledger and ‘Visionary Cranio Sacral Work’ by Dr. Hugh Milne. Then the work was taken forward and into equine care and treatment by the internationally renowned American, Maureen Rogers, who was a pioneer in the field of Equine Cranio Sacral Therapy, assisted Dr. Milne, is the only trainer of this unique therapy worldwide and has passed on her knowledge and passion onto her students, now qualified therapists.
After each session. a report and a before and after picture are sent by email to the client, showing the horse immediately before and after the treatment. The report includes what has been found in the session as well as advice on the work schedule after the session, and timings for any repeat equine cranio-sacral sessions.
Example of equine cranio sacral work:
Every horse can benefit from craniosacral therapy:Some of the many problems that have benefitted are:
Asymmetry in the horse due to compensation from an old injury
Difficulty with engagement
Stiffness to one side etc.
Poor stance, eg weight of shoulder in front of front legs
Facial nerve paralysis
Hind end injuries
Air way problems
Blocked eye ducts
How long is the treatment?
Treatments take around 1½ hours - the number of treatments may vary according to the individual condition.
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