Acupressurist focuses on four-legged patients
It was cold where Anita Read was working on her patient, but at least the wind was blocked. A gray sky hung low over the building where her next client waited as Read ran her hands along the patient’s legs and scratched his head when he turned to give her an inquisitive look.
Read’s patients on this day, a paint gelding named Skeeter and a black mare named Gypsy, are on the larger side of her clientele. As a nationally board-certified canine and equine acupressurist, Read treats patients ranging from small dogs to large horses, working to restore harmony and balance in their bodies and promote health and healing.
Acupressure is one of many alternative or complementary forms of medicine that is gaining momentum in the animal world. While traditional Chinese medicine has gained ground among humans in the Western world, these forms of treatment have been slower to be used on four-legged patients.
Skeeter is a big horse, 22 years old and with some arthritis but acting much younger than his age. His owner, Nancy Hawley of Decatur, said he has some tendon and ligament issues but worked mostly in the English discipline of dressage when he was younger.
“He was a do-anything-I-want-to-do horse,” she said. “I’d ride him dressage five days a week and take him out team penning on the weekend.”