How to Massage the Intercostals of a Horse
Rake down through the ribs. There are times horse massage therapists will find “ouchy” areas, as Whiting describes, which need to be addressed.
Strip with your thumb in between the ribs three to five times and commence rotation/sedation between the two ribs. Please note that cross-fiber techniques cannot be used because muscle runs down inside the ribs. Next, begin a tight-fisted percussion into the rib area, which will oscillate and cause the muscle fibers to break loose.
By using a tight fist, the masseuse can send a fiber releasing shock down into the rib area.
Whiting explains: “If you use a light fist, that’s one thing — but if you start turning it into a hammer it sends that shock deeper, and it oscillates. It will break up those fibers, allow the movement to take place and allow breathing to become normal again.”
Common problems: The intercostals muscles basically tie into the vertebrae. According to Whiting, issues are uncommon in the intercostals.
Around what’s loosely called the abdominal area (front legs back on the horse underneath), cross-fiber technique is most effective. Begin with the pecks and employ a percussion and cross-fiber technique.
Feel under the horse to see a “horseshoe” under the rib cage, where the ribs jut out and the pecks come around. From there forward, use cross-fiber techniques, and feel the fibers.
Then when you come into the abdominal area into the belly, employ the use of raking with the fingers, which causes the horse to contract its abdominals and lift its back slightly.
Energy sweeping: sweep in a clockwise motion (digestive direction). Be cautious not to sweep backwards as this may cause weakness.
“If you go in reverse, your energy is actually running the energy of digestion backwards and will cause weakness,” Whiting says. “Go with the direction of the flow of the energy.”
Continue to energy sweep from the back to the chest.
Please Note: When you run energy in the proper direction, you increase the dynamics and power of the animal, and you make them feel better as well.