In the last few years in the equine world, particularly since the release of the research papers from Vibeke Elbrond and Rikke Shultz - Myofascia - the unexplored tissue: Myofascial kinetic lines in horses, released in 2015. Myofascial connections have been a hot topic.
Following on from my previous blog where I spoke about day 1 of the Horses Inside out CPD course and Myofascial Release Techniques, I was super excited to attend day 2 where we would be learning more about Myofascial Chains.
Back at Horses Inside Out HQ in Leicestershire it was nice to join a now familiar group of fellow therapists, armed with the information from day 1 and ready to apply it to what we would learn this day.
Gillian has identified 9 Myofascial Chains and she would guide us through the anatomy of each chain today.
For those of you that are not familiar with the term Myofascia, it refers to fascia surrounding and separating muscle tissue.
A Myofascial chain is a number of muscles in the body that are linked by a strong line of muscle fibres.
What I took home as a key message is that in fact the only reason each of these chains has a beginning or and end is due to the way they have been physical dissected from the horse.
In dissection the lines are chosen due to the direction of the strongest lines of fibres, which should correlate to the direction of the strongest amount of force/pressures going through the body.
But in fact, most of the lines cross and meet and contain the same muscles, and as fascia is just one complete web in the body there truly isn’t a real beginning or end. Therefore when we work on one of the lines we will also be affecting other lines in the body.
Looking at the individual 9 chains really helped with strengthening my understanding of the biomechanics of the equine body.
There were a few points that really stuck out to me and filled in some gaps in my knowledge, I thought I would share a few of those with you and perhaps they will resonate with you too?
· Forelimb elevation is related to the strength of the hind limb on the same side
· Multifidus muscle is bigger in the neck than in the back
· Multifidus muscle is part of the core stabilising muscles but is actually an extensor muscle
· The Extensor Muscle Chain has more muscle bulk than the Flexor Muscle Chain
· Most of the horse’s back muscles are above the spine with only 2 major muscles below
· Retraction of a limb is more difficult for the horse as it is weight bearing
· Protraction of a limb is less difficult for the horse as it is moving through the air
· Abduction of a limb is linked to extension
· Adduction of a limb is linked to flexion
· Physiology affects psychology
We learnt a lot more than this, but these were some key points for me.
As we went through the day Gillian talked us through each chain and demonstrated which of the techniques we learned on day 1 we could use on each chain and the benefits they would have on the horse.
It was great to work in pairs again with the different horses, experimenting with the techniques and also adding movement into the therapy and seeing how this affected the horses.
Not only did we learn techniques in these 2 days, we also learnt why we are applying them, what structures in the horse’s body we are affecting and we were able to have full access to Gillian’s vast collection of dissection photographs and videos as well as her amazing selection of real life horse and pony bones and models she has hand made of various equine structures.
I don’t know anywhere else that you would have access to all of this during a CPD course.
In true Gillian style, the days were jam packed with information and I think we had all run out of questions by the end of day 2 as we were so full of information. Not to mention also full of home made cakes courtesy of Gillian’s mum – yum!
If you are a fellow Equine Therapist looking for what to do for your CPD next year, even if you already have knowledge of fascia and myofascial techniques, I promise you will learn so much from this course and make some great new friends in the process!
I certainly made one in Pumpernickel :)