'Physiotherapy is the treatment of musculoskeletal issues by physical methods such as massage, range of motion and stretching combined with remedial exercise for a complete and focused treatment of a variety of issues'

Manual Therapy

Massage and stretching are highly effective modalities for the treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal issues.

The benefits of massage are well documented. A variety of techniques can be used to stimulate the tissue and the body to respond in certain ways. Some effects of massage are listed below:

  • Increase blood flow - helping to bring nutrients to muscles and flush toxins out

  • Increased lymphatic drainage

  • Reduction of spasm, stress and oedema

  • Increase muscle tone

  • Stretches muscle fibres and increasess tissue elasticity and range of motion

  • Softens fascia

  • Restores the balance of chemicals within the body

  • Pain relief due to the increase in Dopamine production

  • Release of endorphins and serotonin which create a feeling of well being

  • Break down of scar tissue

  • Increases collagen production for the repair of tissue

  • Orientates fibres for a more complete and stronger repair of tissue


Stretching improves the elasticity of collagenous structures as the microscopic components respond to the stretch stimulus. Permanent soft tissue contraction can result from a reduction in joint movement over time. This often results from an animal avoiding using a limb in its full range due to underlying pain. Passive range of motion and stretching can aid in correcting these contractures and increase range of motion. Other effects of stretching include:

  • Increased blood flow

  • Stretches muscle fibres

  • Mobilises restricted joints

  • Improves postural balance and increases body awareness

  • Reduction of scar tissue

  • Improves flexibility

  • Re-aligns fibres

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Therapeutic Ultrasound

Therapeutic ultrasound uses mechanical energy in the form of sound waves to stimulate and up regulate cells which in turn helps to promote healing. Ultrasound is most effective when used on collagenous structures such as tendons and ligament but has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on scar tissue by aiding the alignment of fibres to help create a stronger more complete repair. Ultrasound is none invasive, quick and portable which makes it great for treating horses. The treatment itself cannot be felt and i find the majoirty of horses settle relativly quickly once treatment begins.


Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

TENS is a form of electrical stimulation which is applied via electrodes in contact with the skin. TENS provides pain relief by acting on the opioid system within the body and thus blocks the pain signals being transferred. Many horses find TENS therapeutic, particularly on areas such as the lumbars (behind the saddle) where pain can often manifest. TENS should ideally be applied twice a day for 30 minutes to build up the natural pain releif within the body. Once again this is a non-invasive treatment.

Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy

Pulsating fields induce small electrical charges in to the target tissue which effects the activity of the cells which may have being compromised due to injury. Establising near normal voltages helps to re-establish nutrient flows in and out of cells to regain normal function.  Pulsed magnetic therapy can be used to treat a variety of issues to include:

  • Odema/ Swelling/ Bruising
  • Aid in fracture repair
  • Joint injuries
  • Soft tissue (muscle, ligament, tendon) injuries
  • Pain relief



Phototherapy is the collective name for therapy that is delivered in the form of light energy. Lasers come under this catagory. Lasers are useful for wound healing, pain relief and soft tissue injuries. I often use a single probe laser to target trigger points in my treatments.

Please note: Do not attempt to use any therapeutic modalities without supervision or guidence from a professional 

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Kirsty Rawden Veterinary Physiotherapy