What Acupressure can do for your horse

Acupressure can be a great alternative to help horses release body tension or heal from an injury. Since Chinese medicine is an empirical medicine, one needs time, patience and interest to gain comprehensive knowledge of this healing method.

Dr Ina Gösmeier runs a Traditional Chinese Medicine Equine veterinary practice. She is specialized in acupressure and acupuncture. In this video series, she shows you everything you need to know to get started.

Sport horses, as well as leisure horses, can benefit from acupressure. It can be used to help with internal illness, behavioural problems and physiotherapy. There are 365 acupressure points. Each of them has three to five functions and modes of action.

Acupressure can be practised according to three traditional techniques:

1 – The balancing technique: the goal is to harmonize. The pressure is applied for approximately 1 minute on the selected acupressure points.
2 – The Yin technique to relax: The pressure is applied for approximately 2 minutes on the selected acupressure points.
3 – The Yang technique to stimulate: The pressure is applied for approximately 30 seconds on the selected acupressure points.

Acupressure can help relax nervous horses

Does your horse tend to be nervous? Using acupressure on these specific points can help:

1. Kidney 3

Ki3 sits on the inside of the hind legs, between the hock and the tibia. Also called “the Great Creek”, Kidney 3 is associated with fear as well as stress. Horses of the Shen type (the classification of the horses can be found here) which are often nervous when it comes to performing new tasks can benefit from acupressure on this particular point.

2. Bl 10 is a located a hand width behind the horse’s ears. The detailed name of the point is “Bladder 10, celestial pillar”. This point is not only used to help horses with neck pain but it can also support the concentration and memory of the horses. This point is especially suitable for horses that quickly learn individual movements, but get confused when the rider asks for multiple movements back to back.

Acupressure to help against fear

3. Si 3 is located on the outside of the foreleg, above the fetlock joint and below the tip of the splint bone. The Small Intestine 3 (also called Back Creek) can be involved in supporting the tendons and ligaments. SI 3 also supports the building of self-esteem and can be used in combination with Kidney 3.

4. Yintang is the name of a point located in the middle of the forehead of the horse, more precisely above the eyes. This point helps the horse to be calmer and conquer his fears. One thing to know: this point should be stimulated with acupressure longer than the others, around 60 seconds is necessary to develop an effect.

Are you doing it correctly?

Acupressure should be enjoyable. If you feel that your horse is getting tense or that his muscles are contracting during the treatment, then something is wrong.

Go through this list to find the fault:

Have you chosen the right point?
Is the intensity of the finger pressure correct?
Is the environment such that the horse can concentrate and relax?
Is the treating person fully relaxed? Nervousness or tension can be transmitted by acupressure.

If all parameters are controlled and the horse is still not relaxed, then please seek the advice of an acupuncturist.

How often should you do this?

To achieve an effect on psychological problems like anxiety and nervousness, acupressure should be practised once a day.

You want to learn more:
Take a look at Dr Ina Gösmeier’s training course on www.wehorse.com.