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Animal Massage Myth #9: “You must have to be really strong to massage a horse!”

This is one of the most frequent comments I hear when I tell someone what I do for a living. The fact is, although being fit is helpful for certain techniques and styles of bodywork (and necessary for some), it’s really not about strength. Even a small child can offer great benefits to the largest of horses with the right techniques, focus and intention. What people generally don’t think about, even in relation to themselves let alone their animals, is that the body has great intelligence and is designed to re-balance itself in any number of ways. This intelligence and ability can very easily (and often does) get off track, stuck or even distorted, but the potential is still there, ready and waiting for the right conditions and reminders to trigger it. Most of what happens during massage and bodywork is happening inside the body, connected to but not actually coming from the hands of the therapist. Sometimes your hands don’t even seem to be doing anything at all, and yet the animal is clearly processing and focusing internally, and getting wonderful relaxation and other benefits.

The fact that your hands are on your animal (or even just nearby in some cases), and also very importantly that your mind is focused on helping and loving your animal, can be all that’s needed to create positive effects. With more training and experience, you can also get much more efficient and deliberate by learning key places to apply pressure, how much pressure to use, and how long to spend. Of course, using good body mechanics to protect your joints and muscles while massaging is also important, but that’s another topic. (More on that in my books and videos, of course!)

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