Jasper’s First Shiatsu with Louise Ledwith


Well, Jasper (& his friend Dexter) had their first Shiatsu session with Louise Ledwith on Monday, which they really seemed to enjoy. Louise offers a sort of taster session, which allows her to do an assessment of your horse, followed by some shiatsu & then she’ll explain her findings & recommendations.
Just after Christmas I’d read an article in Your Horse magazine which had an overview of several complimentary therapies, including Shiatsu. It seemed like it would be a good compliment to the essential oils treatment that we were already giving Jasper & Dexter & might enable us to better fight Jasper’s Sarcoids.
I’d gone through the Equine Shiatsu Association (tESA) website, which can be found at http://www.equineshiatsu.org to find out a bit more information & I’d also picked up Louise’s contact details from here. She has her own website http://www.horseshiatsu.com.
The word “Shi-atsu” in Japanese literally means “finger pressure” and the basic technique of Shiatsu involves pressure with fingers, thumbs, and palms on areas of pain or sensitivity. Massage, stretches, rotations & joint manipulation are also an important part of the treatment, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “Japanese Physiotherapy”.
Shiatsu aims to stimulate the body’s own self-healing abilities through increased blood circulation, lymphatic fluid movement and the activation of both divisions of the autonomic nervous system.
The theories underpinning Shiatsu are those of traditional Oriental Medicine, similar to Acupuncture theory (accept without the needles), using the idea of meridians & the need for smooth energy flow through the body, to maintain the bodies optimum health in all organs & areas.
Therapists are encouraged by the association to develop good relationships with their local vets, as Shiatsu (like all complementary therapies) requires that a vet must make diagnosis and be aware that the horse is receiving Shiatsu treatment. Practitioners are now finding that vets are referring horse owners to them for various problems, and it is very encouraging to see this acknowledgement of the therapy by conventional medical practitioners.
Louise’s description of her therapy is:
“By working with the whole horse (and not just the tight shoulders or
the aching lower back, for example) Shiatsu aims to help the horse feel as well as that individual horse can be.
Feeling well is about the body working the best it can be – and that includes muscles, joints, digestion, breathing, nervous system,
immune system and hormone systems.
It is also just as much about mental state too – most horses find Shiatsu a deeply relaxing, calming and de-stressing experience.”
I’d certainly agree with the deeply-relaxing, calming bit, Jasper got this absolutely blissful, spaced out & sort of sleepy look. He will be glad to hear that Louise is coming back next Monday for another session. Jasper’s system is obviously quite out of sync & he has a lot to cope with with the Sarcoids, so Louise felt it was important to give him a couple of sessions close together so that she could work more effectively in correcting the energy flows around his body & get them operating at their optimum more quickly.
What was particularly interesting was that Jasper has had these quite bad cracks running right up the hoof wall on both his front feet, they had never made him unsound or indeed caused any undue problems with shoeing, they just really looked unsightly. What Louise was able to notice was that the cracks actually lined up with the meridians for both his small & large intestine (we’d already found through his essential oils kinesiology tests that these meridians were weak), which she will be working to re-balance, so it should be interesting to see if these improve as we are able to get his body more balanced.
We will keep you updated with his future sessions. Louise has been a breath of Fresh air & both Jasper & I are glad that we’ve added her to our team to fight the sarcoids.
Until next time
With Love
Fiona & Jasper



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