magnetic therapy for pain

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					                                  By: Stephanie Romeo
    (Photo 1)
                                 Imagine yourself as a 1200lb, four-legged equine athlete with an
                       indefinite amount of drive, impulsion and power. You enter the rodeo
                       arena for the fourth time that weekend, running as fast as you can. You
                       are expected to make three lightning fast turns before crossing the finish
                       line with a pilot on your back whipping and spurring the entire run until
                       you stop the clock. You come out of the arena huffing and puffing. You
                       are stiff, your muscles are extremely sore and the last dose of
                       Phenylbutazone that you were given for inflammation has begun to
wear off. Barrel racing along with many other disciplines today, expects a lot out of its
talented athletes. Many horses are unable to compete because of ailments such as
inflammation, laminitis, fractures and various other sport related injuries. Hence, many horse
enthusiasts are turning to a drug-free, noninvasive and effective way to treate injuries known
as Magnetic Therapy.
         Magnetic Therapy is not particularly new but lately it has been a popular choice lately
in the horse world as a form of alternative therapy for horses used by many horsemen and
horsewomen from a wide range of disciplines. Magnets have been used as a healing tool in
the treatment of humans for a number of years and nowadays is becoming very popular in the
equine world used for both support and treatment of various ailments. Although, many
people think this form of therapy is miraculous others feel it is merely hocus-pocus and is
robbing fellow horsemen blind. But, Magnetic Therapy has been used for many decades
dating back to 800BC where it was used in ancient Greece, Egypt, India and China. Its been
said that great ones such as Aristotle, Homer and Plato have mentioned the magnetic healing
phenomenon in some of their writings.
         Magnetic Therapy is a noninvasive treatment that is said to have a high success rate.
Although contradictions are well known, there are no documented or known side effects to
this type of therapy. It is a safe, simple and inexpensive (depending on what products you
purchase if you chose to used Magnetic Therapy) method that produces favorable results.
This form of therapy has much to offer in both the prevention and the treatment of chronic
ailments. Although there are two forms of magnetic therapy used today, we will only be
discussing the Pulse Magnets (also known as an electromagnet) that are used throughout the
world by avid horse individuals.
         With this being said, much of the research and work that has been done with magnets
was first done on humans and has been adopted to be used on animals by veterinarians.
However, some research done attempting to demonstrate that magnets do in fact have
biological effects on horses but there have been no concrete studies that were able to
document the magnetic effects on living tissue. Some believe that in order for something
such as a animal with a large body mass to be affected, there would have to be a very strong
magnetic field to aid the horse. It would require a much larger magnetic field than what is
obtainable by the use of items such as a magnetic blanket. However, there are many claims
from the businesses that manufacture the magnetic products as well as a large number of
testimonials from adherents claiming that these magnetic therapy products work in a good
way. The adherent’s claim that this therapy has improved circulation, relived muscle
soreness/tension and helped develop a relaxed disposition in their horse. However, there is
still no consensus as to whether the effects of magnets have any physiological significance.
But on the other side of the spectrum, one must keep in mind that magnets are not medicine.
Their effects on a horse have not been adequately nor scientifically measured and
documented. Hence, they have not been proven to be capable of performing any action on the
blood nor have they been proven to have the ability to penetrate any further than the common
liniment. Also, they have not been proven to be either helpful or harmful with regards to
therapeutic value to injuries in horses.
        What is magnetism and how it affects the horse are probably two questions the horse
world has about Magnetic Therapy on horses. Magnetism is defined as the alignment of
magnetic of magnetic, or permeable material so that the molecules face in a uniform direction
while both the size and composition of the magnet affect its strength. Magnetism is a part of
science. Thus, science has been able to prove that there is a magnetic energy that passes
through all materials and has the ability to affect all living things. Horses are like humans in
the matter that they are made up of a large number cells that function electrically. They tend
to have a natural, resting electrical current that constantly is moving throughout their body
and is regulated by the membrane of each cell. This is necessary to maintain normal cell
function and metabolism. Hence the magnetic field therapy is able to rebalance the altered
metabolic functions that create pain in the horse, create swelling in the tissue or a deficiency
of oxygen in the cells. Hence, these magnetic fields are able to influence the horses’
behavioral function, mental function and physical functions. The magnetic waves are able to
fully penetrate the body’s cells. The magnetically influenced ions found in each cell move in
rhythm of the penetrating pulse waves coming from the electromagnets and are pushed in the
direction of the cell membrane. Once it reaches the cell membrane the magnetic ions cause
what is known as hyper-polarization where there is an increase in the absolute value of a
cell's membrane potential and positively influences the metabolism. This helps rebuild the
supply of oxygen in those cells that are deficient. Therefore, directing its energy at pain relief
and healing. It can be suggested that this form of therapy may be useful in easing pain and
relieving stress on joints of the horse.
        Each healthy joint is surrounded by an electromagnetic field, which is responsible for
cartilage and connective tissue regeneration. An injury or sickness interrupt the magnetic
field causing the body to lose its natural ability to regenerate thus requiring assistance, which
is where Magnetic Therapy comes into action. Magnetic Therapy can stimulate cell
metabolism while increasing the body’s energy flow and self-healing mechanisms which in
turn help to amplify the regenerative function of the connective tissue. Magnetic Therapy
tends to be more natural and a less aggressive form of therapy to treat various ailments found
in horses.
        Although most ailments that can be helped with the use of magnets tend to be
muskuloskeletal, Magnetic Therapy for Horses claims that it can produce positive results
with regards to the following ailments:
        - increase joint mobility and flexibility of muscles
        - increase blood flow and circulation
        - muscle tension
        - soft tissue damage (tendons, ligaments or joint capsules)
        - sport injuries
        - metabolic disorders
        - acute or degenerative rheumatic arthritis
        - inflammation and swelling
        - diseases/ ailments of the muskuloskeletal system
        Each of the ailments discussed have a product that contains various numbers of
electromagnets in them to aid in the advancement and healing of the ailment. The price range
for each product varies from piece to piece as well as brand to brand. However, all the brands
have similar objectives and claims for their product. There are 9 different magnetic products
out on the market today that will be discussed.
      Magnetic Bell Boots: each of these boots contains an average of 6 magnets
      and are used to treat sore feet, laminitis, navicular and foot growth problems.

The Magnetic Brown Band claims to help horses relax and calm down. It attaches
and is adjusted with Velcro on each end. It may be used over the poll or across the

The Magnetic Pastern Wrap is designed to cover the pastern joint and coronet band.
It is used to treat things such as arthritis, ringbone, side bone, osselets, fractures and

The Magnetic Cannon Wrap is used to treat sore shins, splints, ligaments and tendon
injuries, windgalls and other forms of swellings. They can be used before and after
exercise but not during.

The Magnetic Fetlock Wrap is designed for those horses that are campaigned for
long periods of time. It reduces the effects of repeated stress on one of the most
commonly injured areas of the horse. Often used to treat windgalls, sesamoiditis,
arthritis, osselets and swellings. They can be used before and after exercise

The Magnetic Hock Wrap allows for the most complete and equal application of
magnetic therapy to the horse by wrapping the front of the hock to keep the soft
tissue warm. Used to treat spavins, curbs, thoroughpins, capped hocks and arthritis.

The Magnetic Knee Wrap was designed with the front open to allow the horse to
bend its knee while there are magnets placed on either side. Often used to treat soft
tissue damage characterized by swelling, also slab and other knee fracture and
check ligament damage.

  The Magnetic Band is designed to wrap around the pastern joint but can be used
  wherever you would like to use it-multi use. Often used to treat arthritis,
  ringbone, sidebone, osselets, fractures, etc.

   The Magnetic Blanket is useful for treating certain horse ailments and for
   enhanced warm-up and cool-down of the horse. The magnets are strategically
positioned to provide effective means for reducing pain and inflammation as well as stimulating
soft tissue healing in horses.

         Manufactures of Magnetic Therapy products claim that to obtain an optimal
healing process it is important that the treatment be repeated daily or at least every other
day. However, one should consult a veterinarian, the product packaging or the
manufacturer for suitable lengths of time to use each of the products even though no
harmful side effects have been noted. Also, it is important to keep in mind that these
products should NOT be used during pregnancy of mares, if there is a severe fungal
disease present or if there are signs of a fever/tumor development.
         The use of Magnetic Therapy on horses is a topic in the horse industry which is
puzzling many, creating mixed emotions in some and brining mere excitement to others.
Is it a miracle with no proof or is it a money-grabbing scam? You must decide this for
yourself. Until there is adequate and scientifically documented findings, one cannot
create a valid argument pertaining to the effectiveness of Magnetic Therapy on various
ailments experienced in the horse world.

**Forces of Nature: Understanding Magnetic Field Therapy

** Magnetic Therapy.

** Magnetic Fields, Healing and Veterinary Medicine

** Rinker F.. The Invisible Force: Traditional Magnetic Therapy. Mason Service
       Publication, 1997

What’s the Attraction?

Animal Magnetism

The Healing Arts: Animal Magnetism

Photo 1 (Barrel Racer page 1): Courtesy of Carol Barr, professional barrel racer

Photos 2-10 (Magnetic Products)

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