Lorraine Serhienko recently wrote the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage exam and was awarded her Board Certified Equine Massage Therapist designation through The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure &Massage. Serhienko completed the nationally accredited three-level certificate program over two years at the North West School of Animal Massage in Washington state. Level I completion earned her General Massage Practitioner designation, Level II Performance Massage Practitioner and Level III the Rehabilitation Massage Practitioner.
Born and raised in Blaine Lake, Serhienko has always had a passion for animals, whether it was showing her Hereford cattle in the 4-H show ring or training and spending time with her horses. After graduating from Blaine Lake Composite in 2002, Serhienko earned her diploma in veterinary technology at Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology.
Her educational and occupational background in the large animal industry and her passion for equine health, performance and holistic well-being has provided her with the knowledge to advance her career opportunity into the equine massage therapy field.
The two-year program consisted of correspondence theory and on-site practical training. Level I teaches the general massage techniques for horse wellness. Level II educated Serhienko to assist sport horses in competitive events such as rodeo, jumping, barrel racing, reining as well as the range and farm working horse. Level III qualifies her to complement her skills by working with veterinarians during a horse’s sickness, injury or surgical recovery process.
Serhienko provides hands-on treatments that work by releasing blockages, bracing and tension. She will often ask the handler to lead the horse while she focuses her attention on the horse’s movement watching for signs of favouritism, tightness, and range of motion. Approximately 60 per cent of the horse’s weight is muscle mass so a minor injury of one area can result in compensation and transmission of muscle tension to the surrounding area which can result in major issues. She will then work to soften tight, overworked muscles, address issues of asymmetry, imbalance and decreased range of motion, and as her methods are non-invasive the horse feels secure and trusting. Serhienko believes that massage therapy can complement any treatment program. Enhancing oxygenated blood flow to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and lymph nodes increases circulation and assists with the elimination of wastes and toxins that build up in fatigued muscles, thus increasing flexibility, muscle tone and range of motion. Using a continual massage therapy regime can improve your horse’s performance and overall quality of life, says Serhienko. “It prepares your horse for work, can assist in their recovery time and can treat or assist healing for sport-related muscular issues that can arise anytime during work or show sessions.”
Serhienko currently resides in Lloydminster and is employed by Lakeland College in Vermilion as an instructor in two programs: Animal Health Technology and the Veterinary Medical Assistant Program. She volunteers in the 4-H program assisting with various programs and events and as the Lakeland College Judging Team Coach. She has also served as president of the Saskatchewan Association of Veterinary Technologists.
Serhienko’s primary concern is based on what is best for the horse. She believes that massage is a beneficial additive to any equine training program. When used in rehabilitation it can decrease the time required for recovery, and when used as relaxation therapy it can aid in the mental relaxation and improve the overall well-being of the horse. It is more cost effective to prevent an injury by keeping a horse agile and flexible with a regular massage maintenance program than it is to treat an injury and rehabilitate the animal.
Lorraine Serhienko can be contacted at [email protected]