Acupressure for Colic in Horses
Anyone who’s owned horses for any length of time has most likely dealt with colic and knows how serious it can be. Four years ago, I experienced one of the most dreaded forms of colic with my horse Bob (who I’d only owned for a week, at the time) which required surgery to be resolved. It was a gut-wrenching experience (for me and him both!)
At the time, I was just beginning my acupressure education through Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute. I didn’t know enough to help Bob then, but I’ve since used acupressure to help resolve more minor episodes of colic that a couple of my horses have experienced.
I’ve also sought to learn as much as I possibly can in order to prevent colic through nutrition and management practices. I’ve learned that we can greatly reduce our horse’s chances of colic by knowing the factors involved with the condition.
But the purpose of this post is to share some acupressure points that can help to resolve colic symptoms naturally. I’m not proposing that acupressure should ever be a replacement for responsible veterinary care, but I am saying that acupressure can be a tool that all horse owners can use (if proper technique is learned) just as many of us would use banamine as a tool while at home and possibly waiting on the vet to arrive.
To understand the basics of how acupressure works, see this post called Acupressure Explained. Acupressure can be used to help resolve many conditions, but here are a few acu-points that can specifically be used to address most forms of colic:
Bladder 21: Located about a hand’s width from spine, just behind the last rib. Benefits constipation and abdominal pain.
Bladder 25: Located about a hand’s width from the spine, just in front of the tip of the ileum (front part of croup). Regulates large intestine, relieves abdominal pain, gas, and constipation.
Bladder 27: Located about a hand’s width from the spine, just behind the tip of the ileum (back part of croup). Relieves indigestion and lower abdominal pain.
Stomach 36: Located one finger width from the head of the fibula, on the side of the tibia (which can be palpated more easily with your horse’s leg at rest and not withstanding his full weight.) Benefits digestion and helps restore the immune system.
Stomach 25: Located about 2-3 finger widths out from the umbilicus (belly button). Relieves abdominal pain, gas, and constipation.
Spleen 6: Located about a hand’s width above the inner hock, on the backside of the tibia. It is just behind the saphonous vein, which can be palpated. Relieves gastrointestinal disorders. Promotes moisture to the intestines and feces.
For more information on equine acupressure, I highly recommend the book, Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual. This is the book that sparked my interest in acupressure and led me to get certified.