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AskHQ: What is Electromagnetic Therapy?

Featured image: Top international riders such as Charlotte Dujardin use electromagnetic therapy on their horses.

Many horse owners are curious about the various treatments available to keep their horses in peak condition. With a range of therapies available, ranging from standard veterinary treatment all the way to less mainstream methods such as acupuncture and kinesiology, it is useful to form a better understanding of what is involved. This month, HQ takes a closer look at electromagnetic therapy.

What is it?

Pulsed electromagnetic therapy is a form of treatment that deals with the electric current that flows through the cells of horses and other mammals. Equine orthopaedic specialists have been using electromagnetic therapy on horses with leg injuries with great success. Electromagnetic therapy can treat horses who have other injuries, as well as a number of other health conditions.

Electrical potential in horses

Horses, like us, are electrically charged. All of the cells in a horse have a natural electrical charge present in them called the electrical potential. Electrical potential is measured in millivolts (mV). A normal measurement for resting cells is 90mV. The blood acts as an electrical conductor and electrolytes are the minerals in the blood that carry electric currents within the horse’s body.

It is said that electromagnetic treatment influences cell behaviour by inducing electrical charge in and around the cells. When a horse has been injured or hurt, the cells suffer and the electrical potential in these cells is affected. Electromagnetic therapy is thought to help with restoring cells back to an ordinary electrical potential.

How does electromagnetic therapy work?

Electromagnetic blankets, neck wraps and leg wraps are commonly used for targeting the specific areas that need to be treated. The leg wraps concentrate on areas such as the hock, ligaments, knees and tendons. There are coils of wire sealed inside the blanket and the leg wraps. The coils are attached to a power supply or battery which, when switched on, creates an electromagnetic field around the coils. Electromagnetic therapy results in blood vessels widening and allowing more blood to enter the targeted area, thereby promoting healthier oxygenated blood circulation. Electromagnetic treatment influences cell behaviour by inducing electrical charge in and around the cells.

Over 30 years of research confirms that the therapy is effective in treating orthopaedic injuries, muscular problems and soft-tissue wounds. Many equine therapists, vets and horse owners have had success with electromagnetic therapy and it remains a popular and recommended treatment today.

Purported benefits

  • Treats osteoarthritis
  • Treats tendon and ligament injury
  • Speeds up healing time
  • Pain relief
  • Soothing and relaxing of sore muscles
  • Spasm relief
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Promoted blood circulation
  • Reduced post-exercise recovery time
  • General relaxation and stress release