Acupressure is an ancient healing modality based in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Though it’s often confused with acupuncture, acupressure involves no needles, making it an easy, effective tool to use in everyday life with horses.
TCM views the body as a whole, integrated system with mind, body, and spirit all being connected, and one of the foundational beliefs is that a life force, known as chi, flows throughout the body via internal pathways called meridians. Horses, like us, have twelve major meridians, and along these pathways, we find acu-points, specific anatomical locations where we can influence chi.
When we access acu-points through either finger pressure (acupressure) or needles (acupuncture), chi imbalances can be resolved, helping the body to return to its natural state of health.
Some effects of acupressure include:
- reducing pain
- relieving muscle spasms
- resolving injuries more quickly by removing toxins and increasing blood supply
- enhancing mental clarity
- releasing natural cortisone to reduce swelling
- strengthening the body’s immune system
When using acupressure with your horse, apply light pressure with either the forefinger or thumb for ten to twenty seconds or until the horse experiences a release, such as licking and chewing, head-lowering, yawning, etc.
With that said, here are five easy acupressure points to learn and use on your horse:
Governing Vessel 14: Found in the dip just near the base of the mane (directly on top of the neck), this acu-point is great for strengthening the immune system and can be helpful for horses with allergies.
Bladder 11: Found just above the front part of the shoulder bone, this point is great for arthritis.
Pericardium 9: Located in between the front heel bulbs, this acu-point is beneficial for hoof problems, forelimb disorders, and fever.
Bai Hui: Located in the ‘spongy’ depression where the lumbar vertebrae end and the sacral vertebrae begin. This point benefits any lameness issues and strengthens the hindquarters.
Bladder 60: Found in the center of the dip on the outer hock, this point is known as the “Aspirin” point and can help to relieve pain anywhere in the body. It also relaxes tendons and strengthens the back.
Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.