Equine Muscle Release Therapy® (EMRT®)

How did EMRTTM originate?

Equine Muscle Release Therapy® (EMRT®) is the only Bowen therapy on horses recognised by the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia.  EMRT® was developed by Alison Goward in 1990 derived from the protocols of  original Bowen technique practiced by the late Tom Bowen. EMRT® is taught through the Equus College of Learning & Research, the Animal Arm of the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia which was developed in 1998 at Gumnut Farm Andalusion stud and horse rescue and rehabilitation centre.

Ali education includes a Diploma in body therapies, she is an International  human Bowtech, Senior bowen therapy teacher,  and has principal status with the Queensland Swedish Massage Institute.  Ali also has a background in school teaching, equine veterinary nursing and writing, researching and lecturing body therapies for the Government-accredited Queensland Institute of Natural Science Australia.

EMRT® has been developed from an understanding that animals, like people are subjected to stress and strain from performing athletic tasks demanded by their owners (similarly to athletes).  If the stresses and strains continue without relief, then there will eventually be a breakdown in the body. The breakdown may be physical, as in a bowed tendon, lactic acid retention (tying up), inflammation, oedema or muscle spasm, which may result in structural problems as the skeleton is pulled out of alignment.   The breakdown may also be of the nervous system, mental or emotional.  A breakdown in any of these areas all point to one thing – the body is not in balance!

What is EMRT®?

EMRT® is a very gentle dynamic technique which signals the brain/nervous system to initiate the healing process.  It works along the nerve pathways and superficial and deep fascia in the body, which in turn triggers the release of muscle spasm, thereby providing pain relief and healing. Performing an EMRT treatment is like turning on a light bulb, the switch to turn on the light bulb (muscle spasm) is often a distance from the actual light bulb (EMRT® move), the information travels from the switch to the light bulb via a number of electrical wires  (nerve pathways). The moves are very gentle and non-invasive over key dynamic points in muscles, fascia connections and energy meridians, sending the body the message to restore homeostasis. EMRT® therefore promotes the wellbeing in the entire animal.

Profound and permanent healing and pain relief is consistently achieved with EMRT® through addressing the underlying cause of a problem rather than the presenting symptoms.

EMRT® is recognised and taught internationally. Every set of moves has had 3-5 years of field trialling before being taught.  All practitioners world wide are registered Internationally both with the BTAA (Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia) and the ECL&R (Equine College of Learning & Research)  Each practitioner follows a strict code of ethics and conduct.  

What does EMRTTM work on?

The main tissue that EMRT® works on is the Fascia.    The freedom of the fascia movement is important in allowing optimal contraction and relaxation of the underlying structures and freedom of nerve transmission and circulation.

Fascia is supportive connective tissue consisting of 2 major components

  • Cells - responsible for the synthesis, maintenance and metabolic activity of the fascial connective tissue.  
  • Extracellular matrix (ECM) – a fluid/fibrous matrix containing collagen and other structural glycoproteins.  The ECM is generally the main component

Fascia covers, invests into and connects across muscles, bony prominences and all body organs, wrapping body regions and groups of muscles like cling film.   .  Fascia may act as an elastic store during locomotion.

Fascia is extremely important in EMRT® because it lies below the point of contact, the skin, for all moves. Because of its continuous layers it carries the messages of the movement deeper into the body.

Fascia is a regenerative tissue and responds to direct stimulation, manipulation and lengthening.  An EMRT® treatment involves manipulations which release restricted fascia through gentle pressure while also creating a degree of heat through gentle friction.  This enables the fascia molecules to become more mobile and release from the restricted area. therefore enhancing both the flow of fluids and neuro-transmissions to and from the affected area.  The tissues return to their more flexible state enabling the natural movement of the muscles, circulatory system and the neural pathways,
EMRT® also works on the nervous system, working over nerve pathways and nerve origins.   Fascia can entrap nerves affecting nerve transmission to, from and through the central nervous system (CNS).  If there is thickening of the fascia and loss of elasticity surrounding a nerve the ability of neuro- transmitters to send and receive messages is compromised.  Hypersensitivity to stimuli and touch my be a result of trapped nerves that are ‘firing’ but unable to release messages along the normal neural highway to the CNS, in some cases the pain may be referred to other areas.

The meridians – energy pathways in the body are also addressed via EMRT® as in acupuncture,  shiatsu and acupressure.

An EMRT® treatment stimulates key fascial points in the horses body, these points are mainly situated along the spine, at major musculo-skeletal junctions i.e. origins of muscles, and overlaps key energy pathways (meridians).  A specific sequence is used to create a circuit within the body to free congestion, enhance circulation and neural transmissions enabling the body to self heal where it is needed and restore balance in the body.

EMRT® also works with the polarity of the body creating homeostasis with in the positive and negative poles of the body. This is likened to an electrical circuit, switching on and switching off areas of the body that are being either overused or underused – this creates a full body balance and restores circulation and lymphatic responses within the body. A blockage in the body can be the pathway to disease

EMRT® complements other healing modalities such as veterinary treatment, herbal medicine and homeopathics.

What are the benefits of EMRTTM?

  • Maintaining peak performance
  • Recognised by the FEI as a therapy that can be used on the day of an event
  • Providing rapid and often long term pain relief
  • Improving circulation
  • Lymphatic drainage (elimination of toxins)
  • Assimilation of nutrients
  • Improvement of joint mobility
  • Improvement of posture
  • Normalisation of cellular physiology and tissue integrity
  • Releasing muscle spasms
  • Reprogramming the nervous system back into a state of balance
  • Addressing deep issues within the body often bringing about an improvement in overall structure

It does not replace Veterinary treatment but often complements veterinary treatment to optimise the healing of your horse.

Horses treated regularly with EMRT® maintain higher performance levels and have accelerated injury recovery rates.  Effective nerve transmission, muscle movement, organ function, circulation and lymphatic flow to/from any damaged area are promoted, thereby improving healing and preventing/removing toxin build up.

EMRT® aids in the removal of lactic acid therefore it fabulous for recovery from strenuous exercise or horses prone to such conditions including tying up.

With regular EMRT® treatments stresses and strains can be prevented creating a relaxed, happy and optimally fit animal. 

EMRT – is also utilised with great results in dogs and cats – please refer to the page on CCMRT

What conditions can be treated by EMRT®?

  • Traumatic or accidental injuries
  • Stress disorders
  • Musculoskeletal pain and imbalance/Crookedness
  • Atrophy including that caused by ill-fitting saddles
  • Respiratory issues
  • Hormonal problems
  • Colic
  • Sacroiliac – acute or chronic
  • Club feet
  • Scoliosis (crooked spine)
  • Kissing spines
  • Spinal problems
  • Nerve paralysis/dysfunction
  • Temporomandibular joint (the joint involved in jaw movement/chewing – especially important in horses & will affect chewing of food, the attitude toward the bit, balance & moving forward)
  • Post musculoskeletal surgery rehabilitation
  • Conditions involving the  articulating joints, including lack of ROM [ Range of Movement ]
  • Behavioural issues
  • Emergency First Aid until the Vet arrives

What is involved in a treatment?

  • A treatment may be remedial or maintenance depending on the work load of the horse and the problem
  • A full assessment of the animals body/muscles/movement
  • A treatment typically last between 45 minutes to an hour
  • Breaks are given between moves to allow the body to process the treatment and for the necessary changes to occur before commencing the next sequence of moves
  • A variety of responses may been seen in the animals body, skin, behaviour depending on the underlying stress/conditions
  • Generally a break from exercise is recommended for at least 4 days to obtain the optimum benefit from the treatment and allow the body time to recover and recuperate. This depends on the injury and type of work.
  • Often a marked improvement is seen after the first treatment, the number of treatments depends on the chronicity of the problem.  A minimum of 3 treatments are recommended for long term benefits.
  • You will be recommended a program to optimise your animals healing/ health – this may encompass stretching, herbs, exercises or diet.

Regular EMRT®/CCMRT® session will help to keep your animals in optimal health and wellbeing