Meet Hershey. Inexplicable symptoms, including clumsiness, a droopy bottom lip, and carrying his tail up and to the side, led to speculation that he had EPM or wobblers. “I was unable to establish a plan for rehabilitation within traditional veterinarian medicine,” his owner remembers, “and was advised by the vet to have him euthanized.”
Instead, Hershey’s owner called me. My pursuit for restorative wellness in my own horse led me to develop a unique healing model. My protocol includes:
- Bowen therapy, a healing modality developed in Australia in the 1960s
- dentistry that utilizes minimally invasive hand tools
- my own innate medical intuitive ability and trauma release through Eastern medicine
This interactive team approach is supported by holistic veterinary medicine.
MEMBERS OF THE TEAM
Holistic veterinarian Dr. Barbara Truex is devoted to healing with a creative and skillful combination of allopathic medicine and alternative healing modalities. Critical to physical improvement in a horse are dental realignments that remove oral interferences. This is the only course of action that opens the door to fluid motion and optimal neuro-muscular function. Proper transmission and reception of neurological signals to the horse's body means optimum performance and balance.
Equine dentist Phil Ratliff is acutely mindful of the influence of each tooth upon the body as whole, as well as specific areas such as the hips, poll, sternum, and the connection of front limbs to the thorax. Bowen therapy and equine dentistry are neurologically altering modalities that complement one another
Bowen therapy alters a horse’s autonomic nervous system. I concentrate on the fascia of the neuromuscular tissues. I move systematically and gently over four distinct quadrants; hindquarters, shoulders, back, and finally neck and face. I “challenge” restricted fascia, creating a vibration. This “signal” instantly travels to the brain stem via the nervous system housed in the spinal cord. The brain and nervous system are the two controlling systems of the body, so Bowen is not a temporary fix. Each session builds upon the previous one. The number of treatments a horse needs is dependent upon its ailment, but eventually my work is complete. The body “remembers.”
OFTEN A LAST RESORT
Nearly every horse I treat is out of options and time because of a seemingly undiagnosed physical problem. Guided by my medical intuition, I move between Bowen therapy and Jin Shin Jyutsu, which releases trauma. Trauma is any distressing experience that causes physical injury, and/or long-lasting psychological effects. With a prey animal whose instinctive survival is dependent upon the state of body, what affects the body affects the brain, and vice versa. When I sense a problem; be it structural, systemic or emotional, I listen to the horse. Often, I become the horse’s voice and express to its owner what is going on. This interaction of science and the emotional aspect is critical.
My first assessment of Hershey using my intuitive abilities indicated a misdiagnosis. I watched him walk, and back up. I knew right away that Hershey would benefit from trauma release, Bowen therapy, and equine dentistry under the supervision of a holistic veterinarian. It would be a fine dance between the three of us. For Hershey’s first treatment I took the lead and utilized the Bowen and Jin Shin techniques.
When I treated Hershey a second time, he was wider in the front, much calmer, and mentally centered. His sternum was relaxed, but one area in his back was not loosening up, and he surely let me know. I knew that he had an obstruction in his mouth. I recalled another horse whose right front leg turned out. Phil gently rasped a right incisor and the leg immediately straightened. Likewise, Hershey had one or more teeth that needed fine-tuning.
For treatment number three, Phil tested for proprioception in Hershey's feet. Proprioception is a sensory feedback loop that provides information about what is happening within the body and the body’s location in space. Change happens through the proprioceptive nervous system and its direct link to the brain. The body has the ability to make these changes automatically without cognitive thinking.
Phil led a very willing Hershey around his paddock. When Phil quietly placed a hand towel over Hershey's eyes, he refused to walk forward. His refusal was not out of stubbornness, but rather his inability to find his way without seeing. He could not feel his feet. Most likely, his molars were mildly over-floated so the top and bottom molars were out of contact that created a loss of proprioception.
Incisors are rarely addressed, and they directly influence the TMJ. Too much pressure on the TMJ makes horses very uncomfortable. Interference of an incisor creates impeded movement in corresponding muscles and structure of the body. Over time, the horse is less sure-footed and increasingly spooky when the same proprioceptive abilities are not working.
After six months of drastic improvement from Bowen therapy, trauma release, and non-invasive equine dentistry, one very small, yet critical piece of the puzzle eluded me. Based on intuition, I sent a hair sample to be analyzed. The analysis indicated a case of threadworms. Homeopathic Threadworm (vibropathic drops) and Equimax were administered. I am delighted to announce that Hershey is fully recovered and is ready to be ridden.
To be sound, it is imperative that a prey animal be connected in mind and body. I know the body can correct itself when all symptoms are addressed holistically and the horse is given space and time to heal.
Dianna Walker-McPhail is a Bowen Therapist specializing in Trauma Release. She has authored "On the Right Lead" about the connection between mind and body. Contact Dianna at email@example.com or visit www.healingspirit.info
Phil Ratliff is an expert in the field of equine dentistry, a highly sought after practitioner and teacher.
Barbara Truex, DVM, of Tucson, is trained in Acupuncture, Homotoxicolgy, Chinese Medicine, Reiki and Bodywork. www.barbaratruexdvm.com