Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Massage guns are one of the recent innovations made for the muscle recovery process and since its invention in 2008, it has grown to become a favorite tool for many top athletes all over the world looking to improve their performance and take charge of their muscle therapy and recovery process. The same benefits have been studied, researched and documented for horses.
Like a traditional massage, the horse massage gun aims to reduce inflammation by flushing extracellular fluids such as lymph fluid and venous blood out of the muscle tissue and into the circulatory system. It relaxes tight muscles, break ups scar tissue and adhesions, and minimizes muscle soreness and tension. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found percussive therapy to be as effective as massage in preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
Regular horse body work done by a qualified equine body worker is still highly recommended. The beauty of the massage gun is that you can personably give your horse a regular treatment with the same benefits of deep tissue massage within minutes at a time and place convenient for you. It can be done daily and is perfect for in between appointments with your equine body worker.
Here are the top 10 benefits of an equine massage gun:
1. Enhanced Performance, Injury Prevention, and Recovery
Percussive massage provided by a massage gun helps improve the muscle contraction, which results in the lengthening and strengthening of the muscles and tissues. This relaxes the muscles and relieves tension in the horse's body, which helps shorten the muscle recovery time between training sessions as toxic debris are constantly being eliminated to allow the muscles to recover quickly.
For every deep tissue massage with an equine massage gun, fluids and tension are released within the deep muscles and this results in improved circulation, as the blood and tissue cells exchange substances which help boost tissue metabolism. The supply of nutrients and oxygen is also improved due to the massage, therefore increasing blood circulation throughout the body. It also helps prevent overtraining due to the sedating effect it has on the nervous system. It heals and prevents injuries, as the improved circulation helps break down adhesions and the increased production of nutrients and fluids could help with quick tissue repair.
Enhanced performance, power and agility is also achieved due to the muscles being more flexible and efficient.
2. Advanced Vibrational Healing & Powerful Pain Relief
Equine Therapy Systems massage guns offer not only percussion massage but vibration treatment at the same time. The vibrations from the equine massage gun help improve blood and lymph circulation around the body, which helps produce more oxygen and nutrients into the muscles. The result of this is speedy recovery, improved range of motion, pain relief and alleviating muscle fatigue and soreness.
Massage is known to be one of the most effective forms of injury rehabilitation therapy both for humans and horses, as it not only speeds up the recovery process but also prevents re-injury. Massage guns work as a supplement to the standard injury rehabilitation process and encourage healing and recovery of atrophied muscles due to trauma or disease. Improved circulation into the muscles and fascial tissues helps the injured areas to become more flexible and heal within a short time.
4. Release of Lactic Acid
Lactic acid forms when the oxygen levels in the horse's muscles are low and its body begins to compensate for it by converting newly formed lactate into energy. This often happens during intense exercise and the lactic acid tends to build up in the bloodstream faster than it can burn off. This causes cramps and exhaustion in the muscles. An equine massage gun can reverse this, as it helps the release of lactic acid and other toxins from the muscles to surrounding tissues. This reduces the risk of muscle soreness that often comes after a prolonged exertion due to lactic acid accumulation.
5. Increases Blood and Lymphatic Flow
Horse massage guns provide deep tissue massage, which increases the rate of blood flow and stimulates the nerve receptors responsible for dilating blood vessels. The lymph works to remove waste and toxins from the tissues and the flow is controlled by muscle contractions; this means less active horses might not be stimulating enough lymph circulation while very active horses might be accumulating too much of it. This could result in lymphedema if not controlled. However, with a massage gun, you can create a balance, as it helps improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system.
6. Activates the Nervous System and Muscles
The nervous system stimulates and regulates the activity of the muscles and maintains the horse's homeostasis. For every activity on the muscles, the nervous system gets notified. Massage guns help stimulate the receptors of the sympathetic nervous system, which causes vasodilation in the skin and muscles, thereby releasing tension and helping the muscles relax while improving mobility.
7. Relieves Muscle Spasms and Stiffness
Massage guns relieve muscle spasms and stiffness that may arise from giving your horse an intense workout. The muscle spasm often leads to ischemia in the muscles, which means the muscle is lacking proper blood flow. This could result in spasms that are painful to the touch. The equine massage gun works by applying pressure to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to help them to relax, thereby reducing spasms and painful contractions.
8. Breaks up Scar Tissue
Scar tissue is made up of collagen fibers that help with the repair of damaged fibers in the horse's body. However, the elasticity of the tissues does not measure up with the natural muscle tissues of the body. Massage guns provide deep tissue massage, which will help break down this scar tissue, thereby alleviating pain and relieving restriction. You can use equine massage guns not only for sports injuries but also for post-surgery scar tissues. Please consult with your vet and qualified equine body worker prior to going ahead with this type of massage treatment.
9. Enhance the Range of Motion Quickly
Massage guns work on the muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints, all of which work together to aid mobility. With the consistent use of massage guns, the joints will be more flexible and less prone to strains and sprains. The relaxed muscles and fascial tissue and improved blood circulation work together to improve flexibility and range of motion for the horse. Improved range of motion would then result in added advantages like enhancing athletic performance and improved stimulation of the body’s natural lubricants to help keep its body flexible.
10. Wellness Benefits
There are many other health benefits of massage guns apart from relaxing the muscles and alleviating pain. This includes increased mobility, improved rest, and improved immunity.