Full SI sessions take 1.5 hours. Add $30 onto the base rate for your area. I offer one introduction session at the standard session rate.
What are the benefits?
Structural Integration is an individualized sequence that helps return your horse's body to it's ideal balanced state. It is the most powerful method available for restructuring and realigning the body. Sessions unwrap structural and neuromuscular holding patterns in the connective tissue that compromise fluid movement. These sessions can help horses organize themselves so strides become longer, backs lengthen, gaits become smoother. Your horse feels, looks and moves better.
~Heighten grace in movement
~Increase overall performance
~Bring more power
~Faster racing times
~Less prone to injury
~Horses feel more energetic, vibrant and full of life
What is connective tissue?
Connective tissue (fascia) surrounds all the bones and organs in the body and envelopes and permeates each muscle. It's purpose is to connect the entire system into one working whole. Ideally connective tissue is elastic and gel-like, allowing each muscle and bone to glide by it's neighbor, supporting and working in harmony with each other.
What causes reduced flexibility?
Injuries, chronic stress or strain, aging, even normal wear and tear can cause fascia to thicken into adhesions as the tissue repairs itself, often becoming fibrous and glue-like in the process. This reduces flexibility of the joints and prevents muscles from lengthening to their full extent.
All horses, even healthy ones, develop inefficient movement habits and accumulate a history of kicks, falls, bruises. Over time these travel through the horse's body compromising his comfort and movement.
Here is an example: A pulled muscle on the left foreleg can cause a horse to favor his left leg. Over days or weeks, this will cause him to put greater strain on his right leg/shoulder. This produces strain in the right neck and upper back. The horse then feels unbalanced and is more limited in movement choices and won't function at his best. Over time his body will rigidify the fascia into a more fixed position to support the imbalance as other parts of the horse's body compensate further.
What happens in a session?
Using my hands (as always), I work the superficial layers of muscle and tissue. As outer layers become more flexible and less restricted, I am able to work deeper into the horse's structure to organize muscles and joint relationships more efficiently. This full body restructuring takes place in up to 5 sequential sessions, anywhere from one week to no more than one month apart. (For people with financial concerns, once a month for 5 consecutive months seems to work fine in my experience.)
What are the results?
Chronic adhesions release their hold, the horses structure realigns so he can move more efficiently, and the flexibility and range of movement of the fascial planes increases. Freedom of movement emerges as the different layers begin to slide effortlessly over one another, bringing more potential energy and power to the muscles and rhythmic grace and smoothness to the horse's gaits. Your horse moves, feels, looks, and is more sound.
Is Structural Integration the same as chiropractic or massage? Equine chiropractors focus on the nerves, spine and bones of your horse, adjusting misalignments. Chronic tension or injuries can cause connective tissue to pull bones out of alignment. This is why you go back time and again, and the chiro usually fixes the same thing, over and over. SI work can enhance the effects of chiropractic work by addressing the connective tissue.
Equine massage focuses on relaxing and softening muscle tension and increasing the blood supply to soft tissues. SI sessions may have some of the same effects as massage, but focuses primarily on freeing up connective tissue, correcting postural alignment and returning balance to your horse.
If you've tried some of these other therapies for your horse and didn't achieve the results you were looking for, this structural work may be what your horse needs. Once freedom of movement and balance are returned to your horse, other therapies may be better able to achieve greater results.
What to expect
First session: Build trust. Get to know the horse's tension patterns. Release holding in surface musculature. Identify deep holding patterns that are the road map for a continuing series.
Second session: Give the horse a better sense of stability so he is more secure in moving on and off the ground. Bring out the power available in the horse's hind end. Emphasize vertical line integrity in standing, Free up tendons and musculature of all 4 legs. Free up superficial and mid level fascial restrictions in shoulders, pelvis, lumbar and hip joints.
Third session: Integrate muscle groups that share movement functions. Begin to shift vertical line integration into horizontal plane. Work focuses on functional quadrants rather than individual muscles.
Forth session: Integrate the horse's entire body by bringing out the fluidity of the whole body motion. Connect the front and hind end through the barrel. Emphasize horizontal line cohesiveness.
Fifth session: Extend time period that the horse can exercise and build strength into his/her integrated body, by reinforcing the changes after the horse has practiced their discipline. Maintain flexibility of fascia while horse strengthens into an integrated movement pattern. Possible hyoid session, leg and/or joint session.
Legaleese: I am not a chiropractor, a massage therapist or a veterinarian. I do energy work.