Equine Raindrop Therapy may not be widely known, but this non-invasive modality is an excellent adjunct to other treatments used to help correct defects in the spine, minimize back pain, and strengthen your horse’s immune system.
The fun thing about essential oils is that they are as beneficial to you, the one applying them, as they are to the horse receiving them. Even barn mates or herd mates will benefit from inhaling the oils on their neighbor. In my experience, if you raise the vibration of even one member of the herd, the entire group gets healthier. If you have a calling to use essential oils on yourself or your horses, I recommend you consider adding Equine Raindrop Therapy to your toolkit.
Bringing the Body into Balance
The basic principle of balance is to realign the spine and help the horse achieve equal standing on all four feet. I like to see my patients with “four on the floor”. With pelvic imbalances or asymmetric shoulders and/or front feet, the spine often compensates and the horse adopts habitual stances. You’d be surprised how many horses have difficulty standing “square” for even 30 seconds. This is why I start the Raindrop treatment with the essential oil Valor on the sacrum, withers, poll, sternum, and all four bulbs of the heels.
Valor balances the physical and electrical energies of the body and has been touted as a “chiropractor in a bottle”. The intention of guiding the body into the frequency of balance and harmony is the foundation of the treatment. Take your time and feel the horse blend into your energy as you hold the sacrum and then the poll with Valor in your hands. Inhale and exhale deeply and encourage the horse to breathe.
Boosting the immune system
The next step involves applying a sequence of anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory oils to the insides of the hind legs, stimulating the Spleen, Liver and Kidney meridians. These are the most influential acupuncture meridians of the immune system. This opens the channels for easy elimination of toxins and inflammatory residues.
Sometimes, especially if I am treating a respiratory condition, I apply the same six oils: Thyme, Oregano, Cypress, Birch, Basil and Peppermint. In these cases I apply the oils to the insides of the front legs as well – this will stimulate the Lung and Large Intestine meridians.
A Tibetan acupressure technique known as Vita Flex therapy is applied to the insides of the legs from the knees or hocks down to the coronet bands. This is also an excellent time to do fascial release work on the hocks, fetlocks or knees while the oils are on board. Remember, the horse must have enough life force to be able to assimilate all these oils and the movement of energy! Be certain to consult with your veterinarian or your horse health advocate before you decide to do a Raindrop treatment on a very sick horse.
The third step involves moving up to the spine. Be sure to have something safe and stable to stand on. The same six oils as well as Marjoram are dropped like raindrops along the spine from 6” to 9” above, moving from the sacrum forward to the withers (thus the name “Raindrop Therapy”). When you get really attuned to the oils, you can feel the differences in the vibration and energetics of each one. I strongly recommend you experience a raindrop treatment yourself before you give one to a horse. It is wonderful!
Before these oils are dropped on the spine, a mixing oil is applied generously over the spine to help diminish the heat of the Thyme and Oregano, and to help the oils travel down the hair shaft and into the skin. Mixing oils can be jojoba, grape seed, olive, almond, wheat germ, or coconut oil, or a combination thereof.
Aroma Siez is the last oil applied to either side of the spine on the paraspinal muscles, so they can relax while the spine rearranges itself. A myriad of ligaments and connective tissues are found between and surrounding the vertebrae. I believe these oils go deep and release the tension – which can be physical, chemical and emotional – around the vertebral bodies. A series of Vita Flex techniques can be done along the spine to help release tension, alleviate fixations and relax ligaments, creating space for the spine to realign itself. I call them the “press”, the “push” and the “plow”. (These are too difficult to explain within the scope of one article – I recommend you get the DVD if you are serious about doing this therapy.)
Once the Vita Flex techniques have been done, a hot moist towel is rolled onto the horse’s back. A dry towel is placed over that to hold the heat in and absorb excess moisture. Horses do not like water dripping down their sides while they are “marinating” with the oils on their backs. Depending on the weather, a light or heavy blanket is placed over the towels to keep them in place and to hold the warmth in for ten minutes or so. During this time, I will often do some soft tissue work around the head and poll, some energy work on the horse’s etheric body, or simply just breathe with him. Sometimes it only takes a deep breath from the horse for the spine to give way to a more comfortable, supple and straighter alignment. Once I have taken the towel and blankets off, I like to let the horse move around by himself in a soft sandy pen or a well-bedded stall, so he can roll.
Signs of Toxicity
If toxins come out of the spine, you’ll see areas of raised hair that looks like hives. It’s proposed that viruses, bacteria or fungi hibernating in the spine cause many misalignments and some types of scoliosis. These pathogens cause inflammation, which generates dis-“ease” and imbalances in the spine. These raised areas may persist for two to three days, so do not do your first Raindrop before an important event like a show or parade. Also, be sure the horse’s legs and back are very clean so you do not create scurfing.
Thyme and Oregano oils have a high phenol content, which can cause skin irritation or reactions. I see this mostly in horses with underlying toxicity in their systems. It is also important that the horse’s back be kept out of direct sunlight for at least eight hours after the treatment, as some of the oils can cause hypersensitivity with sunlight.
Balanced Humans Make for Balanced Horses
I recommend a thorough evaluation of the horse before doing a Raindrop. The feet and jaw must be balanced before the horse can achieve a long-lasting change in posture from the treatment. I teach simple postural rehabilitation stretches, myofascial releases, and gentle bodywork to do before and after the Raindrop. If you have your horse adjusted chiropractically, it is best if he can see his chiropractor within a week of the Raindrop treatment. However, quite often the horses are so loose that they can adjust themselves with stretches and rolling, and no manipulations are necessary.
Not only is Equine Raindrop Therapy great for sore backs, it’s also fabulous for boosting the immune system. You can do just one horse in a trailer load of six or eight horses traveling long distance, and the other horses will all benefit from inhaling the aromas of the oils. Or, if you are at a show and the neighboring horses are coming down with influenza, you can Raindrop your horses and not only protect them, but build a wall of defense for the rest of your barn.
Be certain you are feeling healthy and physically, emotionally and mentally balanced when you work on your horses. They are very telepathic with an extraordinary level of perception. They can feel whatever pain or suffering the person handling or administering to them is experiencing. When you maintain a stance of respect and integrity toward your own body, it will positively affect your horses’ well being. When you are truly committed to your own wellness, you transmit this attitude on a cellular level through your touch.
For more information about an equine raindrop therapy dvd with Dr. Heather Mack, or her holistic horse health clinics in which she teaches equine raindrop therapy, visit balancedequinewellness.com. We use and appreciate young living essential oils, although we have created our own raindrop kits with larger bottles that are more economical for folks doing more than the occasional horse. We also have a four-pack of very useful essential oils for any horse owner: body balance, digest well, immune tune, and ease and grace.
Dr. Heather Mack has been practicing Holistic Veterinary medicine for 15 years. She was one of the first women admitted to Columbia University where she finished her undergraduate degree. She received her VMD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. She was certified by IVA S (International Veterinary Acupuncture Society) and AV CA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) in the early ‘90s. She maintains a very busy practice with sport horses on the west coast. When she’s not practicing, you can find her refining her riding and horsemanship skills with her horses in Idaho, or exploring the wilderness on horseback. She has devoted her life to the conscious practice of holistic horse care and medicine with animals. She is also a co-instructor of Balanced Equine Wellness.