Helen uses a variety of techniques which are explained in more detail below:
- Static assessment and gait evaluation
- McTimoney animal chiropractic
- Equine sports massage
- Canine sports massage
- Stress point therapy
- Laser therapy
- Equissage therapy
- Stretching regimes and rehabilitation programmes
Static assessment and gait evaluation
Each session commences with an assessment of the whole animal. Helen takes a thorough case history, with details of current and any past injury, change in behaviour and an impression of the animal's exercise pattern and general lifestyle.
In the static assessment, Helen looks for areas of musculoskeletal asymmetry or abnormalities. The animal's posture is examined and horse's hoof balance assessed. This is followed by an evaluation of the animal's gait. Helen asks the owner or trainer to walk and trot the animal in straight lines and in a circle. It is often necessary to observe the horse on the lunge or ridden.
The whole assessment allows Helen to build a picture of the animal's health and identifies any problems. The assessment also allows Helen to identify which treatment techniques are most appropriate for the animal.
McTimoney animal chiropractic
McTimoney animal chiropractic is a non-invasive physical therapy that aims to realign and balance the animal's musculoskeletal system.
After an injury, either sudden ("acute") or longstanding ("chronic"), the animal will compensate by moving differently. Muscles tighten, often on a diagonal, and can pull a joint in the spine or pelvis out of line with its neighbours. Even in normal day-to-day activities, the animal's skeleton is placed under stress, which can cause misalignments and musculoskeletal imbalance.
McTimoney animal chiropractic consists of rapid, accurate thrusts applied to these misaligned joints. These gently, and usually painlessly, release muscle spasm and allow the joint to return to its normal position without forcing or stressing the joint or the body.
McTimoney animal chiropractic is effective not only for horses and dogs but can benefit a wide range of other animals.
Most animals readily accept the treatment, and owners like it because no invasive techniques, anaesthetic or drugs are required. The treatment is performed entirely by hand and is relatively gentle. Click here for more.
Equine & canine sports massage
Sports massage is a popular, effective therapy that can be used separately or alongside McTimoney animal manipulation. Sports massage increases circulation, relieves muscle spasm and tension and enhances muscle tone.
Sports massage can be used as a preventative treatment to lessen the risk of injury due to strain or fatigue. Sports massage is particularly beneficial for horses competing at events and for working dogs.
Helen also uses this technique as part of the rehabilitation of horses and dogs with behavioural problems as it relaxes the animal and familiarises them with human contact. Click here for more.
Stress point therapy
Helen is constantly refreshing and updating her skills by learning more techniques to support her core McTimoney animal manipulation and sports massage treatments. Stress point therapy, sometimes known as trigger point therapy, is a massage technique that targets areas of soreness by the application of direct, focal pressure.
Laser therapy is the application of red and near infrared light over injuries or lesions to improve soft tissue and wound healing. It is used to stimulate injured cells that are working sub optimally by the promotion of the body's own analgesic, vasodilatory and anti-inflammatory responses. When stimulated by laser, tissue healing is accelerated thereby greatly enhancing recovery from injuries, promoting better quality scar tissue and relieving musculoskeletal pain. It is also extremely effective in helping resolve problematic 'non healing' wounds. The advantage of laser therapy is that it is non-invasive and readily accepted even by very nervous horses or on areas that are too sore to tolerate physical treatment techniques.
Equissage delivers unique cyloidal vibrations which reach deep tissue via a pad or handheld unit. This actively treats a number of specific problems as well as helping to maintain peak condition and good health. The benefits include increased circulation and lymphatic drainage, relaxation of muscles and increased joint mobility, which in turn helps to produce better movement and performance.
Stretching regimes and rehabilitation programmes
After treatment, the healing process continues for a few days. Helen provides aftercare by advising the owner or trainer about an appropriate stretching regime and/or exercise programme. This means the owner can continue the rehabilitation process.
Some animals may require several treatments, depending on the nature of the problem. However, it is recommended that all animals receive regular check-ups to maintain optimum performance and health and as a preventative measure.