The basic premise of all Oriental Medicine is that the body (whether human, canine, equine, etc) is an energetic entity whose health and wellbeing are dependent on a smooth flow of energy (“Ki” in Japanese) to all the internal organs, muscles, and body tissues.
“Ki” flows throughout the body, but condenses more strongly in certain spots and channels which are often near to nerves, joints or major arteries. These spots and channels are known as acupoints and meridians, and it is here that the Shiatsu practitioner or Acupuncturist can most easily access the body’s “Ki”.
The meridians are called after the organs of the body, and centuries of experience in China and Japan have shown that stimulation on certain points can affect a certain organ or body system. Thus the Heart meridian and its acupoints can be used to affect the heart or circulation, and the Stomach meridian can be used to help digestive upset or sluggish metabolism. If “Ki” flow in a particular meridian is disturbed or interrupted, then symptoms of illness or discomfort will begin to manifest.
Five Element Theory and Horses Types
In Equine Shiatsu we use the aspects of Oriental Medicine theory which are relevant to horses and apply them accordingly. So, for example, we would define a muscular, well proportioned horse who enjoys his work but gets impatient without plenty to do as a “Wood” type horse. He may encounter tendon and ligament problems: whereas a “Metallic” horse is quieter, has less presence, but likes routine. Skin, intestinal or lung imbalances are more prevalent in this type of horse. Check out the Five Elements for more information.
Members of tESA are encouraged 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. As with all complementary therapists, Equine Shiatsu practitioners work with the veterinary surgeons act which requires the vet to be aware of their presence.