Myofascial Release Therapy
Regular attention to the condition of the fascia within the horses body can have profound effects on the horses health, athletic performance & overall wellbeing via:
maintain & restore flexibility of the skin, muscles, tendons & ligaments
improve range of motion
increase proprioreception (stabilise footing on any ground surface)
increase endurance through muscular health
reduce & prevent scar tissue formation
prolong ability to perform
Our understanding of Equine Biomechanics can be improved through knowledge of how myofascial kinetic lines are involved in locomotion. These lines provide a veterinary tool for tracking equine locomotor performance and/or problems.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a interconnected web of connective tissue that lays in a 3-dimensional network throughout the tissues within the horses' body. Fascia surrounds all the bodies tissues - organs, muscles, bone, nerves and blood vessels, giving form and shape to the body.
Fascia is composed of collagen (for tensile strength), elastin (for elasticity) and reticular fibres (provides the framework). All these fibres are contained in a medium called "ground substance" which is made of water and proteoglycans, whose function is to separate and lubricate.
The viscosity of ground substance can vary between gelatinous (gel) to solute (sol) state under pressure. These changes of state occur through the application of pressure - this being the basis behind Myofascial Release Therapy.
Function of Fascia
Fascia is known as the "Organ of Form" and it defines the bodies shape. For example, if we were to remove all body tissues from a horse, apart from fascia, we would be left with a body form of the horse looking much like a horse made of fairy floss.
The function is to change shape in response to specific tissue needs - provide tissue strength, complicated tissue movement or distribute tissue strain. Depending on what tissue is involved, fascia needs to be able to twist, bend, elongate, compress or take on shearing forces. Fascia also needs to then be able to return to its original form.