Hi all, I am so excited to be a guest writer for Bridle & Bone! My name is Jamie and I am a certified equine sports massage therapist living in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Helping horse owners with their equine athletes’ is the best part of my job. In addition to massage therapy, I utilize technology into my practice. I take thermal images of a horse before and after an equine massage.
A Little About Me
I obtained an Associates degree in Equestrian Studies- Western Riding Emphasis from the University of Findlay located in Findlay, OH. While I loved my time there and learned from a few of the best instructors/trainers in the industry, I realized that training horses professional wasn’t the best fit for me. I knew I wanted to still be involved in the equine business; horses are one of my life passions. After toying around with the idea of becoming certified in equine massage therapy, I finally took the leap of faith in the spring of 2016. I now hold certifications in: Equine Sports Massage Therapy, Equine Rehabilitation Therapy, saddle fitting, and thermal imaging.
What is Thermal Imaging?
I post thermal images all the time on our Instagram of client’s horses, but what really is thermal imaging?
Thermal imaging is a non-invasive imaging technique used to measure the differences in the surface temperature of an object. These images at a horse’s, physiology and can show areas of heat, infection, inflammation, and reduced blood flow in the muscular, vascular, skeletal, and nervous systems. My thermal imaging camera can detect a temperature difference of less than 0.05 degrees centigrade, and forty more times sensitive than the touch of a human hand. Ok that might sound extreme, but really it’s true. I use a Seek thermal compact camera that connects into the lightening connector of my iPhone. It’s light, portable, and super convenient.
Why I prefer to Thermal Image
Thermal imaging a horse before I conduct a full body massage helps not only me as a therapist, but the owner as well. I can pinpoint certain areas of a horse’s body that needs extra attention during a massage. This is beneficial for the horse owner as well. It can be difficult for them sometimes to put into words of why or how their horses are moving, once they see a thermal image, all their scrambled words are put into a beautiful image.
When I thermal image, I look for differences in heat. I look for white areas throughout the body. The white color on the images typically means that the muscle is inflamed or sore. If horse has dark to an icy blue color in their legs, which can mean poor circulation and reduced blood flow. Massage therapy is an excellent way to reduce inflammation while improving circulation.
- Muscle pain and/or injury; muscle tears
- Back problems/ poor saddle fit
- Identifying inflammation in certain areas
- Poor circulation or reduced blood flow in certain areas
- Hoof abscesses and thrush
- Join and skeletal issues
- Identify lameness
I recently massaged a twenty-year-old TWH, named Mary, who is having a hard time standing up after lying down for long periods of time. Overall, she is very stiff and lame on her right front. Mary is sort of a mystery as to what is causing her pain besides chronic arthritis; it seems deeper than that (according to her owner). I took a few thermal images of her front legs before and after a massage. The before pictures her front legs are very blue in color, which suggests poor blood circulation. I was able to increase blood flow back into lower front legs after one massage! I suggested that maybe Mary is losing ‘feeling’ in her lower legs and that’s why it takes her a minute to fully stand up and get situated after laying down. Her owner was so happy to have another opinion on her sweet Mary girl!
**Disclaimer: I am not a licensed veterinarian.
I hope this helped explain why I love thermal imaging in addition to equine massage. In general, equine massage therapy is an excellent way to keep your horses happy, healthy, and injury free.
About the writer: Jamie Yant holds certifications in equine sports massage therapy, equine rehabilitation therapy, saddle fitting, thermal imaging, and an Associate’s degree in Equestrian Studies. She was certified through NE Indiana Equine Sports Massage and Rehab LLC. located in Decatur, Indiana. Her business High Society Equine Massage has been helping equine athletes since the fall of 2016. She lives with her husband and their rescue dog, Scout, in Hendersonville, North Carolina.