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Body compensations

To treat or not to treat?

This topic I find the most difficult / tricky to communicate to owners or teach to students and is often a huge topic for debate.

Compensations are in every single person and animal’s body, if you lined up ten horses in a row and they all presented with a similar subjective static assessment, the reality is that they would all have different patterns of compensation.

As a bodyworker I believe that removing all the areas of compensation in one treatment is not always the goal. In some cases less is more…

Our horses bodies all have this innate ability to heal themselves, they need this in order to survive! If I treat every area of compensation, I can override the body’s natural ability and systems to self heal.

Compensation is a coping mechanism that is a natural response by the body to adapt to the environment in which it is being exposed to. People often ask me to “fix” or “realign” their horse’s pelvis or spine and treat all the compensations associated with these areas of dysfunction. My question is always why.

Why is the pelvis “out of alignment?”

Why are these compensations there?

The body is very clever at creating these patterns of compensation to protect itself and help it cope with the demands that are being placed on it.

I am always asking myself:

“Why is the body compensating?”

When I apply any form of therapy to the body it is to help the body self heal and another way of moving. If the source of pain or cause of the pain has not been addressed and understood, in some cases the body and all it’s compensations may be better left alone and that offering short amounts of therapy many be a better solution.

When I talk about “less is more”, in some cases if I offer to treat the entire body and aim to remove each compensation, this could overload the body and potentially lead to more dysfunction. As a therapist it is our responsibility to understand the body, appreciate when to back off and let the body figure out what is next.

Having the awareness and understanding of compensations in the body, helps me clarify when to treat and when not to treat. Some compensation patterns actually support function and movement.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me:

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