Thoughts and insights on treatment from the therapist’s blog

What is it like to work as a therapist?

Want to know more about how it is working as a therapist and using Swedish Fascia Vibes? We asked therapist Märta Lindqvist, who has been with Atlasbalans since 2015 to share her insights and experiences.

The massage I performed for 15 years before was very effective. There was no problem getting customers. But my body couldn’t handle it anymore

Does the machine replace the hands?

Is the machine a tool to replace the hands? Is everything I’ve learnt up to this point useless now when I have this machine?

Double NO! says Märta LIndqvist, who writes about her experiences using the Swedish Fascia Vibes Machine, as well as her hands.

Several times I’ve come across resistance against “being replaced by a machine”. I guess that is a rather natural response. I myself hesitated at first and felt anxious about putting old routines aside and changing treatment technique.

But that was only a vague and short-lived reflection since I had bought the machine after it had helped me getting rid of all my physical problems: neck pain, stiffness, tinnitus due to a stiff neck, sore hips, locked shoulders, migraines on and off, etc. (read more here about my first encounter with the machine).

Getting well was the persuasion I needed. But still, changing my work routine was a bit tough. After all, we humans are creatures of habits (with egos that talk incessively…)

There is one more aspect that plays a big part in this. The identity and joy of wanting to be strong and unique, being that person with magical hands that heal and take away pain, is powerful.

Of course it concerns me that a machine is to do what I do with my own hands. My hands – unique for me and something I put power and concentration behind and keep investing in training.

During a training event where I was talking about the machine, I heard someone say:

– Oh, so what we learn about massage is now useless?

My respons to that is: NO, NO, NO. Rewind that tape!

All we learn about the body, all anatomy we read, the practising we do to get the right feel in our hands are super important!

I still view my hands as the most important instrument. I am also an artist and illustrator and depend on my hands in all I do. They are my top priority – always.

With my hands I feel the structure, tension and toughness in the tissue. Does the surface feel cold and turned off, warm and hyperactive? Spongy and swollen? Are the hips aligned? It takes trained hands to assess and recognize how someone else’s body is doing.

But I also take good care of my hands.
I don’t see a great value in wearing out my shoulders, wrists, hands and tumbs – day in and day out – treating others’ tension.

The type of massage I provided for 15 years was very effective. I had no problems in getting clients.

But eventually my body said stop. It couldn’t handle standing all day long, working on treating other people’s issues.

The quality of my treatment depended on my level of energy. If I was tired, felt a bit down or weak, I didn’t have enough power to get through the largets cold blods or those factory workers with bull necks and backs hard as bricks.

I came in contact with the machine when the insight had hit me that I may have reached the expiration date for my thumbs. They were rather worn out and inflamed. My neck was plaguing me with enormous pain from having to work long hours, reaching up to high horses and leaning over my massage table.

An old whiplash injury and falling off a horse a few times, combined with a long neck and hypermobile joints meant being immune to traditional treatments such as massage, chiropractic and exercises. But the machine worked like magic and tricked the pain away after the first trial!

The choice was easy and I was successful in pushing aside the voice of my ego sayig: “what about your phenomenal massage technique; is it useless now?”
I still massage in the traditional sense. All human clients on my table are treated to a genuine Swedish massage, but a short version. It feels good, stretches out the last bit of what the machine has loosened up and give an overall sensation of having been softened up.

On the other hand, I rarely massage horses. In my opinion they usually get touched enough by hands and they don’t seem to much enjoy being poked and squeezed randomly.

Sure, some horses love being touched all the time but my professional experience is that they appreciate more being treated when they are sore, in areas where they are tense.

Some horses have refused manual treatment (those I have worked with) completely. Their integrity says no to being fingered and squeezed.

But they have accepted the machine directly and instead of fighting, they comply, release any resistance, lower their heads and enjoy the experience full out.

In general horses prefer a scratch, a gentle pat or tender stroke to a massage. But again, the hands are the most valuble instrument in getting to know the body and finding the area that needs to be worked on. The eye is of course also very important, but in the end it’s the hand that is going to confirm what the eye sees. After a carful manual and occular inspection, I lastly use Swedish Fascia Vibess to loosen the tension or stagnation that is causing the movement disturbance or pain.

Swedish Fascia Vibes – what results may I expect to get?

Answers on questions about Swedish Fascia Vibes on horses

When I used to treat with only massage my goal was to reduce pain, increase mobility and get rid of stiff areas in the muscles – and of course perform a treatment to make the recipient feel better.

I have the same goal with Swedish Fascia Vibes but the procedure works a little differently. The aim is always to reduce pain, increase circulation, make the tissue softer and lighter and get the Fascia free of tension.

With my hands I normally search for tensions and densified areas, by manual pressure. I test how joints move and how the back responds and fails. I stroke to feel the texture and temperature of the skin. Is the skin dumb and cold, hard and warm? Much can be said about the body’s general state of balance from this.

A larger area that is cold and stiff, may cause another part to be over exhausted and inflamed. With the Swedish Fascia Vibes machine I mainly try to restore full mobility in those parts that need to be able to function, so that the overworked areas can rest and heal.

The Swedish Fascia Vibes Machine works with vibrations, or pumping movements, that triggers an undulation through the soft parts of the body – so called Swedish Fascia Vibes. The machine constantly changes speed and frequency and “tricks” the nervous system to let go of deadlocks.

Many of us walk around with tension in our bodies year after year, nerve signals that are stuck and incorrectly signal to muscles in a certain area to hold onto a contraction. With Swedish Fascia Vibes it is possible to get these signals to turn off and slowly but surely the tension subsides by itself, without massage and/or stretching. But to get maximum effect I usually stretch and massage the customer to elongate and soften muscles and connective tissue a bit.

The vibrations are also known to stimulate liquid between the Fascia, so that their gliding function improves. Autopsy in horses has shown that deadlocks and densified areas develop around the injured part of the body. So with this knowledge one could say that Swedish Fascia Vibes treatment increases the possibilities for an injury to heal. Or, injuries are prevented when the deadlocks loosen up and liquid gets to flow unhindered through the small cavities of the Fascia.

If the liquid decreases, the tissue stick together and even joints adhere and lock, both pain and less function in that part will be the result; that area will also be more injury-prone.


Problems with the connective tissue
There are many reasons for Fascia problems. Sometimes it is an acute injury that triggers the negative process but more often it is prolonged overstrain and lactic acid that damage the soft parts and over time build up tension in the muscles.

I have noticed that a horse that underperforms often has had a tough period in her “teens” or has had been overtrained, causing the body to lock down. This type of tension is difficult to get out of without help. Swedish Fascia Vibess are so gentle yet effecitve and so far the most comfortable technique I have tried to loosen or get rid of tension.

Customers tell me that they all of a sudden experience increased flow and circulation in hands and feet, after getting treatment of shoulders and legs. To open up fully and for maximum balancing and release, I go over the entire body. I loosen the spine which allows for the pelvis and neck to find and return to its correct position.

Many times, it is a short outer surface that pulls and rotates the back and neck / pelvis out of its position. When manipulated it feels good for a while before the joints lock up again. But when I instead focus on treating the short outside, and get the Fascia and musles to relax, soften and become elastic again, the spine , the spine will automatically strive for balance and straighten up. In order not to create additional imbalance it is important to treat both front and back, hips, hip flexors, back / lumbar at the same time.

We now have lots of example of horses and people getting out of pain and stiffness after Swedish Fascia Vibes treatment, but one thing that interferes with healing and good results is a high level of inflammation. Those with autoimmune diseases, problems with a leaking gut, gluten intolerance, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid imbalance take longer to get well. It requires me to work on lowering the inflammation first before I can treat what is causing the inflammation. There may also be nutritional deficiencies that interfere with the healing and the response to the Swedish Fascia Vibes.

I hope you have found my answers helpful!

Greetings Märta Lindqvist

Both show jumping stables and trotting stables that have continuously maintained their horses say that veterinary costs have been dramatically reduced

Autumn in Horse Sweden – Therapist Märta shares thoughts and tips

And so another summer ends. At least in Northern Sweden where we have reached risk of frost in the grass and the last midges hatch, which usually signals the fall! That also means risk of both summer eczema and laminitis, since frozen grass contains more moisture than during warmer periods and when the large quantities of toxic midges even though one thought that trouble was over for the year.
I sometimes think of how you can long for summer, as a maniac during the winter, when in the middle of it you realize that life with a horse is almost easier in the winter anyway.

Since all feed look the same, the hay with his stable nutritional content makes it possible to keep track of what the horse ingests. No toxic plants that give the horse hives when everything else runs out. No insects irritation so that the horse whips its tail in your eyes when buffing and shoeing. No war against the horse-flies like crazy during outdoor rides. The temperature in winter is cold, but mostly stable so you can put on extra clothes and the air is easy to breathe compared to the sultry midsummer days when you can almost only ride at night.

Or who am I kidding now?
It is certainly wonderful with summer and sun. This was probably an attempt to lift the mood before a horse owner autumn with cold and dark, retro reflectors and headlamps. Actually, all seasons have their charm and if you take only the weather and circumstances as they come, there are new opportunities in every season.

As a horse therapist the year so far has been magical.
Whatever the season, There are horses on the fly at the racetracks to help and cheer. While some have training season and builds up strength in peace and quiet others take the time to compete. (Trotting) horses that are not happy with the summer – perhaps because of hard tracks or grass-eating that disrupts metabolism, intense competition in terms of speed or other reasons – can flourish and get the win in the winter, especially those who work with sprigs in their shoes.

Jumping Horses, I have been following the whole year. It feels as if there are competitions constantly, how they cope with all the long race weekends is impressive and proves how good groundwork and timing riders put up for the horses to have enough time to recover and cope with all the rounds.
One of these is of course Casall Ask that I had the privilege to treat every month for almost a year now. (More on that in future posts!)

Dressage horses, I love to work with, not so much to follow the competition rides, but to see a pace fixed, variable, dressage horse as it dances and together with the rider bit by bit build up strength and fine motor skills are according to me spectacularly beautiful.
Dressage is a basis for all horses, which prepares them for further depleting exercises such as landing after an obstacle of 140 or run a race quickly in the wind. There are not so many trotter ridden dressage horses, but I see more and more coaches who learn to work the horses from the ground to make them more equilateral, flexible in the hips and lower back as possible and some actually ridden with the intention of strengthening a good basic shape .

One thing that is clear is that it requires a great deal of patience in being together with horses. Everything that goes too quickly risks injuring. A rapid buildup, with to high demands without stepping back to recover. Even treatments that strive for quick fixes are likely to give setback.
A therapist I worked with said just that. “The body is slow, it must change slowly.”

A strength that a trainer or therapist must have, is to be able to set up long-term goals and dare to believe that the many small steps will eventually lead to success – Whatever the success consists of.

After the holidays, I got to meet some horses that I had not seen in a while. I was surprised to be told that the individual treatments they received a few months earlier released their body’s tension so that they slowly, but surely developed, lowered records second by second, and the money has kept rolling in. Great!

Both jumping stables and trotting stables that had long-term goals and put in a continuous maintenance of their horses now tell me after a year, that the veterinary costs have been reduced dramatically. An amateur trainer of trotting spoke yesterday about that two of the horses have raced in half a million crowns, and have not received a single injection in the joints or muscles, which otherwise is routine in the competition stables. What it really means is that the horses can now handle the load and do not break despite the intensity of the competition.

With the positive input I will try to put up a long-term goal of the fall and dare to hope that it will be more instructive, stimulating and edifying than just dark and cold. With great horses that are happy to move the weather does not really matter! ?

With regards Märta Lindqvist, Deep wave therapist

I get anxious when seeing a guy at the shop who barely can turn his neck when he pays

Fascia & movement: Differences between horses and humans

Working with Fascia treatment on both humans and horses has led to deeper insight into the Fascia as well as the treatment itself.

The horses taught us among other things that we do not need not treat where it hurts, but a softer treatment which allows deep waves go from a neutral to a tense area has even better effect in many cases – even when treating humans.

We got to learn that horses connective tissue structures is at least 95% similar to our own – and, overall, it is not surprising that there are many similarities since we both are mammals. It is clear in any case that we have much to learn about human treatment from diagnosis and treatment of animals.

Horses respond very well to treatment, better than people. But, even in horses, there are variations. We can assume that their major muscle and connective tissue versus bone mass is one of the causes of the rapid results. The undulations can go through such large layers and moreover, the horse is a flight animal that has a functioning motor apparatus to thank for much of its survival.

We are built differently, composed of more bone versus soft tissue and an upright bipedal body type. The horse can sleep standing, which we are unlikely to handle. We need to rest lying down to recover.

Movement & restricted movement

One similarity between the horses and us is that many of us feel good from intense exercise regularly. It does not need not be prolonged stress, but to give your all for a short while and empty our energy depots in the muscles. If we only move gently, it is easy to build up to high glycogen levels in the muscles which then breaks down quickly during exercise and causes cramping and weakness.

Many people feel great from heavy dead-lifts or intense, but brief intervals. To just walk straight forward does not activate the body in a way that affects the metabolism and muscle status in the body.

It is best if we can move painlessly. However, sometimes you need a little struggle and to endure some pain in order to get into a virtuous spiral of movement. Treatment makes it easier to move without pain and to get started building strength and fitness.

There we can see a similarity between us and the horses, although they need healthy exercise to feel good. Sometimes injuries put a stop to the exercise, and we of course then need to solve the problems first. We should be able to move without pain, just as we do not want to burden the body with hard exercise as long as we are in pain.

To move in a way that synchronizes the body is good. Both running and yoga, activates the core and increases the cohesive stability. Therefore, many people with back pain feel good from running.

One problem is that all training can still give strained muscles while the body cools down. Especially if we have nutritional deficiencies such as magnesium deficiency. Then, it feels good immediately after exercise, but the body then hardens up again.

Then balance and posture is lost and we can get a sore back and hips among other things, although we are moving a lot. Free joints and mobility are vital to keep the pain away!

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