The New Equine Sports Therapy
By Mimi Porter
Copyright 1998, The Blood Horse, Inc.
The New Equine Sports Therapy brings to the reader not only a wealth of information on a wide variety of equine therapies, but an important clarification of the role of the equine therapist as well. The author, a pioneer in equine therapy and founder of Equine Therapy, Inc., brings to these 200 pages her experience as an equine therapist as well as a human sports medicine therapist and athletic trainer. Mimi's extensive knowledge and experience are evident on every page.
To help one choose a good therapist, the author discusses the importance of appropriate education, experience, and skill of the equine therapist as well as the value of his or her personal qualities. The author notes that it is often "someone with a lot of enthusiasm and a little knowledge who endangers the patient and misleads the client." Throughout the text the reader is reminded that diagnosis and prescription are the veterinarian's domain and that the therapist has a supportive role in the picture of injury prevention and recovery. The equine therapist is valuable in both recovery from, and prevention of, injury and debility. By utilizing therapies that enhance the body's natural ability to heal, the therapist assists and supports the whole body. There are many non-invasive techniques that can stimulate healing without the use of drugs.
Each of the nine chapters introduces the reader to several non-invasive therapies. Among the therapies discussed are massage, myofascial release, acupressure, chiropractic manipulation, joint mobilization, stretching, craniosacral, trigger point, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser, and magnetic field therapy. Also discussed are the theory behind each modality, its scientific basis, its uses and contraindications, and how it might possibly be misused. Specific conditions such as laminitis, arthritis, and others are addressed when a particular therapy is beneficial. At the end of each chapter are a glossary and a list of references.
The author emphasizes the importance of a common sense approach to injury and therapy, pointing out that the body needs time to heal. This is essential to a complete recovery, and the horse must not resume a full, active work regimen too soon. Equine sports therapies help to speed recovery and relieve pain, but the reader is reminded that pain signifies injury and that pain is "the body's request for a rest and chance to repair."
Mimi's style of writing renders some rather technical topics easy to understand and visualize. From this book the reader will learn much about the intimate workings within the body, the science of energy, and how energy affects the cells. Lymphatic and circulatory functions are described and explained, as are tissue growth and repair. The effects of injury and the biological effects of the therapies are well explained and often pictured, so one can see just how friendly the techniques can be when used properly.
The New Equine Sports Therapy is an eye-opener on the vast number of quality, effective, non-invasive and non-drug therapies that are available to the horse. Behind these friendly therapies, which range from the simple and most readily available tool - the hand - to the sophisticated energy-emitting devices like laser and ultrasound, are very sound scientific principles and concepts.
Though not intended as a "how-to" manual, this fascinating text gives the reader a vast amount of very useful information on how these therapies are applied and utilized, and how and why they work. The New Equine Sports Therapy provides the horse caretaker with welcome alternatives to drugs and invasive procedures, and enables one to make informed decisions about therapy techniques for a healthy, happy, sound horse.