Massage is used to relieve muscle tension and spasm. Massage is generally used in all areas of the body, especially over the back, the shoulders, the neck and the hindquarters. It promotes blood flow, provides pain relief, improves the serotonin levels, reduces nerve compression and improves the immune system. It is also good at relaxing the body by reducing stress and anxiety.
The two main stretches are baited, and limb stretches.
Baited stretches can be performed with your horses favourite treat. They are used to increase side to side (lateral) movement of the body. Limb stretches are performed by the veterinary physiotherapist guiding the limb into protraction (forwards) and retraction (backwards) and can be taught to the owner. Stretching promotes suppleness and increases muscle flexibility. It prevents shortening of the muscle fibres and decreases chances of strain injury.