The Calming Power of Touch

I’ve been working a lot with my TB, Freedom, to help him get over the death of his best friend. Every morning I spend some extra time with him. I’ve been giving him massages and I’ve also been using acupressure points known for their calming effect.

So far, I’ve found several acupressure points that help. One is the release that Gary Severson showed me, which is the G20 point on a horse’s poll.

Applying pressure to the center of the chestnut has a calming effect.
Applying pressure to the center of the chestnut has a calming effect.

My vet, Jessie Sprenger, showed me another area that can help calm your horse. Pericardium 6 (PC6) is located either in the center of the chestnuts on your horse’s legs or right in front of the chestnut.

Horse trainer and journalist Diana Thompson addresses PC6 on her very helpful Web site. She says:

In addition to calming the horse very quickly, acupressure on Pericardium 6 has other important influences. Pericardium 6 is the master point for the chest and the upper abdomen. As such, the point can be used to relieve muscular tension in the chest and open the lungs for deep, relaxed breathing (this helps the cinchy horse and those with tight shoulders.) The point also improves digestion. You can use it to prevent colic and, in conjunction with veterinary medical help, help relieve colic.

The acupressure point technique used for Pericardium 6 is simple. Just smooth your fingers down the inside of the horse’s front leg until the flat pads of your middle three fingers rest just in front of the chestnut on the point location. Hold steady light pressure on the area for one to two minutes (or longer if the horse becomes deeply quiet).

The upper circle shows the location G24; the lower one is Yin Tang. (

Diana Thompson also shows the location of Governing Vessel 24 and Yin Tang. They are both used to help relax horses.

GV 24 is located in the middle of the head at the bottom of the forelock; Yin Tang is midway between the horse’s eyes. The good news is that acupressure points can be activated over a relatively large area so you do not need to be exact to get a result.

Performing acupressure is pretty simple. You start by placing your fingers or palm on the acupressure points and press down slowly for a minute to a minute and a half. If your horse accepts the pressure, you can make small circles, moving the skin (do not slide over the hair).

If you start at GV 24 and gently stroke down you can also activate Yin Tang.

You can tell when your horse starts to relax because they begin to lick, chew and maybe even yawn. It’s a great way to form a bond with your horse and to learn to calm your horse through your own energy.

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