The Horses Back and the Bladder Meridian.
The horses back is a vital area. It was not created to support a rider and be put under the pressures of jumping or dressage so it is very vulnerable to the stresses that we all put on it. Contributory factors to a bad back are ill fitting saddles, stiff or unbalanced riders, an uncomfortable mouth, poor neck carriage, uneven muscular or skeletal development - the list is endless. In order to maintain the horses back in good health and help him remain supple, Shiatsu uses pressure techniques on the horses Bladder Meridian.
Every living body is born with an essential life force or energy, which is directed through the body in channels known as meridians. Shiatsu serves to balance and harmonise this energy flow through the sense of touch.
The Bladder meridian is the most important meridian for diagnoses and treatment and connects directly with other organ-function meridians. See the diagram to find out where this meridian goes. Begin your exploration by touching the pathway from the beginning (at the eye) to the end (at the hind hoof).
Use a soft touch as horses can be sensitive when you are working directly on a meridian. If working on the near side, your left hand is your supporting hand, whilst your right hand is the working hand. Use your fingertips to explore and as you feel along ask if there are any gritty/grainy places or soft spongy spots? Be aware of subtle changes of temperature - cold areas lack energy and hot areas have too much energy. Using your intuition be aware of subtle variations and note skin textures that may change with time and touch.
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Updated: October 2005.