Generally speaking, you come to me because you need help with an issue that is affecting your ability to move comfortably. I see a lot of athletes and active people, and most of my equine clients are performance horses, so getting back to training is a top priority for you, and I understand that. If I told you not to do your favourite activity every time I saw you, you would probably stop coming to see me after a while. Nobody likes to be told what not to do! It is actually very rare for me to suggest that you do nothing but rest after your session.
Now, it depends. If your body felt exhausted, and we worked through some deep and complex areas of tension, and I felt like your body structure had gone through some significant changes during our work, I might suggest that you take the rest of the day to settle in - but that doesn't mean you have to do nothing. An active walk, an easy run, a relaxed ride or a workout at low intensity can be a great opportunity for your body to discover its new range of motion, restored posture, and a chance to undo some unhealthy movement patterns while you are mindful of them.
Horses in particular seem to benefit from a light ride after their bodywork session, and I usually recommend some long trot with loose reins so that the horse can explore the effects of the work. At the very least a horse should be hand-walked for ten to twenty minutes. Exceptions to this would be horses who are affected by illness or acute injury, when it is strictly a veterinarian's job to determine if the horse is fit for work and what kind.
The key things to remember are:
- Plenty of water! This is not about "flushing toxins" - that is pseudo-science. The water is about hydrating your tissues as much as possible, particularly fascial layers which are very sensitive to hydration levels. Your horse will likely be thirsty after bodywork too.
- This is not the time for any Personal Bests. When we strive for new records, we are working at the body's extreme capacity, and that is when injuries are most likely to occur - especially if everything is a little looser than you are expecting. Save the record-setting for a few days after your bodywork session. The same principle applies for your horse, although she may offer you a personal best now that she feels better.
- Massage can make things worse before they get better, so be mindful of the effects over the next few days. Deep frictions can cause local inflammation, which will make muscles feel sore and tight. Changing the body's posture through fascial release can make significant changes to the gait pattern, which can reveal other restrictions or issues in the body that were previously being compensated. Allow some time for these changes to be integrated.
I do my best to ensure that bodywork is effective without being damaging or leaving you or your horse feeling sore. My aim is to leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for anything! If you can tell me what your needs are after a session, I can make sure that I work accordingly.
*** PLEASE NOTE***
This blog is not intended to be an alternative or substitute for advice or information from your doctor, veterinarian or other professionals. I cannot provide any kind of diagnoses, or prescribe exercises, medications or supplements, and you should take any mention of these things as my own personal opinions.