Foundations of SUMCHI
Years of experience and various modalities have influenced the development of SUMCHI.
We appreciate all aspects of bodywork and see the value of a holistic approach.
The main areas that you will commonly see horses groom each other in are all connected by the strokes within SUMCHI Stroke Routine, starting at the wither, working along the back, down the croup and above the hocks. This almost meditative state between the horses is where the magic happens.
The stabled horse may not get enough time with his friends and you can form a deeper bond or connection with your horse by offering similar stimulation as he would get during mutual grooming within the herd – don’t be surprised if he turns his head to start grooming you!
The first stroke is at the wither, as it would in the herd or with your Sumchi6, with trust and their willingness to allow you into the personal space of the horse, you are not there to tack up or get a job done, its about the connection and just being in the moment, developing an awareness and creating harmony.
“Previous research has shown that scratching the withers consistently lowers the horse’s heart rate and can therefore be a useful aid to calm them in anxious situations. Wither scratching may also improve the horse/human relationship as mutual grooming does between horses.”
Ancient Meridian theories
Meridians are used in a wide range of modalities as an ancient oriental medicine practice of well over 3000 years, its earliest mentions in 2697 BC during the reign of the Yellow Emperor. Oriental medicine includes herbal remedies and acupuncture. Acupuncture is based on meridian theories, this is incorporating a system of channels through which vital life-energy – Qi flows. Qi (pronounced “chee”) constantly flows throughout the body, keeping a balance, when the flow is blocked or sluggish it can cause disease. Health can be defined as a balance and harmony within the body and the surrounding universe. Meridians are related to specific paired organs: lung to large intestine, heart to small intestine, spleen to stomach, liver to gallbladder, as well as kidneys to bladder.
Some believe that meridians are electrical conduits based on observations that the electrical current is lower through the meridians than other areas of the body. Along the meridians lie acupuncture points or acupoints, which are stimulated by needling, pressure or heat to resolve a clinical problem. Using the Sumchi principles we incorporate pressure and flow to guide energy via these meridians and acupoints. The strokes used in Sumchi are like maps which intersect these meridians and guide you during your Sumchi session to achieve optimal results.
A “neural hypothesis” has been developed by more modern physiologists, that states the clinical influence of acupuncture is through the stimulation of sensory nerves, providing signals to the brain which processes the information and causes clinical changes associated with the treatment.
Acupuncture is an ancient “evidence-based medicine,” thus, the benefits of the practice of acupuncture have been seen and recorded for several thousands of years. It is not until recently that research using the rigorous scientific method has been done to demonstrate how it works and validate its benefits. The US National Library of Medicine Institute of Health (www.pubmed.gov) has over 21,696 articles regarding acupuncture and over 341 animal-specific articles.
UTCVM LARGE ANIMAL CLINICAL SCIENCES – TRADITIONAL CHINESE VETERINARY MEDICINE (TCVM) Equine Acupuncture vetmed.tennessee.edu
The equine body is 60% muscle, when one muscle contracts, another releases and this creates movement. Tension or tightness in the muscle will interrupt movement as muscle may be unable to legthen or release. The movement begins in the hind end, and in a wave goes through to the poll, any interruption of this flow of movement or energy will cause irregularity in the gait.
Muscles are made of thousands of fibres lying close together, massage is using techniques to spread the muscle fibres to create some spaces for blood flow and circulation, especially when there is tightness the flow is restricted. Manipulating soft tissue encourages drainage, relaxation and stimulation, also working over stress points and trigger points to resolve tension. This helps the body to function more efficiently, the body strives to heal itself and when we aid in creating the best environment for healing we can expect better results. Even if you dont know what you are doing but work in a gentle manner this will reduce stress and help the self regulating psychophysiologic factors of the mind and body. The friction stimulates the oils of the skin as it loosens dirt and dead hair. The pressure you exert massages the skin and stimulates blood circulation.Interacting with your horse using the Sumchi6 will deepen the emotional bond and teach a horse to relax and enjoy being in your company.
References: EQUINE Massage, A Practical Guide, Second Edition, Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, LMT
Fascia is fascia, whether it belongs to you or your horse, it holds your body together and actively supports your body. It influences your immune system, serves as a message transmitter and so is an important part of perception. Connective tissue that separates or joins and gives shape to the body and muscle. There is no beginning or end as it is made of a cross-linked structure and wraps muscles, bones and organs, connecting them all.
During relaxation, the body tension decreases and during stress it increases, fascia respond to these neural transmissions. Permanent stress causes permanent tension in the muscle and in the fasciae. The likelihood of muscle strain will increase and so does the potential for disease as the the metabolism slows down and lowers the immune system. When fascia becomes restricted the effects are felt throught the body. The lubrication that healthy fascia provides is thus interrupted resulting in muscles losing their ability to gliding across one another. This in turn can lead to poor movement, stress and injury.
In a study to define the fascia lines it was proven that as in humans these lines exist and play an important role in locomotion and posture. These findings support the understanding and need for the body to be treated holistically rather than only on the action of a single muscle. Scar tissue causing deformation in the fascia reduces the elasticity and the fibrous tissue leads to loss of function and susceptibility of recurring injury.
“Denoix and Pailloux (2009) describe the dorsal and ventral muscular chains in horses as “creating a functional unity” and due to such myofascial connections, any form of biomechanical disorder can be expected to create problems within the chain or at some distance…a body wide tensional force transmission system ”
Through these studies it is clear and proven that the bony attachments from muscles, tendons and ligaments were not “finally” inserting into the periostium and bone, but that part of the fibers continued into the “next” structure/structures and formed a continuous line or continuum of tissue, revealing a full-body myofascial kinetic line. These lines are similar to the human lines, creating an anatomical foundation and improved understanding of locomotion and the interconnections of how a biomechanical problem in one area can easily influence another part of the body.
Using the Sumchi6 incorporates these fascial lines within the strokes, improving the elasticity of the fascia and so ensureing the flexibility of the line and working within the holistic principles.
MYOFASCIA THE UNEXPLORED TISSUE: MYOFASCIAL KINETIC LINES IN HORSES, A MODEL FOR DESCRIBING LOCOMOTION USING COMPARATIVE DISSECTION STUDIES DERIVED FROM HUMAN LINES
Department of Clinical Veterinary Animal Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, UniversityofCopenhagen; Denmark.2RMS EquinePractice,Karlebovej 22,DK-2980Kokkedal.
The Sumchi6 is made of a 7500 gauss, Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) magnet, as is used in the health sector, composed of rare earth magnetic material with an extremely high energy product range. Although not influencing the development of the strokes and routines, the benefits of magnetism amplifies and contributes to the results. As far back as 200 BC Chinese doctors had written about using magnets or lodestones. An lodestone is a naturally occurring rock with a high concentration of iron and is naturally magnetized. Hippocrates and the Egyptian physicians were also known to use lodestones in healing.
Magnetic therapy combines well with acupuncture, in many modalities the magnets are placed in the same areas of the skin that acupuncture practitioners may focus, bringing about results in unblocking the energy pathways.
Magnets, Meridians, and Energy Medicine An Interview with William Pawluk, M.D., M.Sc.
“I concluded that magnets do have an effect on meridians and that magnets on the acupuncture points can stimulate the body in various ways.”
“Magnetic fields also increase RNA and DNA in tissues; they decrease nerve-cell firing (that is, they decrease the irritability of nerves); they open up blood vessels— so they increase circulation to tissues and bring more oxygen into the tissues; and they relax muscles. These are all important effects of magnetic fields.”
“Magnetic fields are able to relax all kinds of muscles. So this means the long muscles of the body, which help us with motion, the striated muscles. But magnetic fields also affect smooth muscles. This means that magnetic fields can also relax blood vessels and open up circulation to tissues. When you open up circulation to and from tissues, you also reduce edema.”
“Every time there is cellular injury, one of the consequences is edema; there is a movement of fluid into that tissue. The edema then, itself, causes an impairment of circulation, which then delays healing. Increasing circulation then increases oxygen to tissues, decreases edema, and accelerates healing.”
Magnet therapies are based on the body and earth having magnetic electric fields, with all the molecules having a small amount of magnetic energy within them. Disruptions to these magnetic fields or when they are unbalanced is when problems can occur, placing a magnet near your body is believed to stabilize the natural magnetic fields.
Some of the science behind magnetism
A magnetic field aligns electric charges, which align to the earths magnetic north and south poles. Like poles repel each other while unlike poles attract. Ancient people must have thought magnetism was magic. However we now understand what happens inside magnetic materials and how the atoms and atomic structure causes the magnetic effect. This strange invisible force between certain materials can be defined by electric currents which are moving electrons. Everything is made of atoms, so electrons make up part of these atoms and are, in a sense, tiny particles of electricity. Magnets work on an atomic level and around 99% of your body is made up of atoms of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.
Atoms are a central nucleus surrounded by one or more electrons, organic materials have fewer electrons. Electrons are negatively charged particles that move in the space surrounding the positively charged nuclear core. An electrically charged particle, such as an electron, moving through a magnetic field, may feel a force, a push and pull of the electrons, causing the particle’s path to curve and move.
“Remember, at the atomic and subatomic levels, every thing is in motion and magnetic fields internal and external to the body are constantly interacting with the body. Another key factor is that our entire
biology is based upon the earth’s magnetic field. There have been experiments that involve shielding biological systems from the earth’s magnetic field. When the magnetic field is blocked for any length of time, biological systems begin to degrade.” Excerpt from Magnets, Meridians, and Energy Medicine An Interview with William Pawluk, M.D., M.Sc.
Magnets, Meridians, and Energy Medicine An Interview with William Pawluk, M.D., M.Sc.
Contour of the horse
“Relates to the outline or configuration of the individual muscle.”
Contour can be observed while the horse is standing in the stable or during work. When looking at contour we would like to see clean, correctly shaped muscles that blend smoothly into one another. Visible stress lines or dents may indicate areas of strain and tension. Incorrect contour can lead to other problems in the future such as muscle tears and or lower limb injuries.
You can tell a lot about a horse by the shape of his body, asides from being overweight or underweight we can determine if he is working correctly and engaging his core, not working heavy on the forehand or leaning on the riders hands, we can tell if he is balanced or working from behind. Muscle symmetry or asymmetry will show if the horse if left or right dominant and then the common patterns of compensation that are associated with this movement.
Contour is an observation but it can also be assessed through palpation, use your hands to feel for bumps, tension, dents or and heat, sometimes there is sensitivity or excessive twitching. These are all signs of “something”. Often looking at many horses will help you to develop your skills, this will make you more observant should something look “different” or out of place. The fascia surrounding everything and connecting everything within the body plays a huge role in contour, movement and trauma easily affect the fascia causing this “tight net” to “snag” with a ripple effect through the fascia.
Your vet uses the horses contour as a valuable tool to determine many conditions. If you become familiar with your horses contour you will be able to pick up changes quickly and possibly prevent further injuries or damage by getting in touch with your vet sooner rather than later.
Here are a few points from from a veterinary examination – perhaps you can try this with your horse and make notes for comparison later.
- First, visualize the animal at rest and from a distance. Note the body type and condition, conformation, any shifting in weight or abnormal stances, and the attitude of the animal.
- Second, do a closer visual examination of the animal. Look for uneven wear in the feet, hoof cracks, lacerations, swellings in joints or tendons, atrophy or swelling of the muscles, and any other gross changes.
- Feel your horses legs from the hooves up, notice the bumps and lumps, any swelling or puffiness.
- Notice the muscle eveness or uneveness between the left and right side.
- Notice your horses reactions, be gentle yet firm with both of your hands.
During your Sumchi session, these contours, shapes and channels along your horses body will guide your strokes, and your awareness will help you create the balance, flow and wellbeing in your horses body that you set in your intentions.
Reference: BSET Academy
History of SUMCHI
The SUMCHI Technique originated from a relationship between SUMCHI developer, Beth Shaw, an ETT™ Practitioner with 20 years experience specialising in the Equine Athlete and the author and veterinary surgeon, Sara Wyche.
For many years, Shaw has been studying and mapping stress points in the horses’ skin, which she calls Nerve Spots. Shaw defined Stroke Routines across the horse’s skin to impact the maximum amount of area where nerve spots generally appear. These SUMCHI Stroke Routines allow you to enhance the wellbeing of your horse, in a simple and effective way.