HIGH-POWERED PULSED ELECTRO-MAGNETIC FIELD THERAPY AND THE EQUINE ATHLETE
PEMF (Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field) Therapy is another method of utilizing a magnetic field, somewhat like static magnets, which have been used for centuries. The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine describes treating acupuncture points with lodestone, which emits a naturally occurring magnetic field, to relieve painful conditions. In the middle ages, magnets were very popular as they were thought to be a cure for almost any malady. Fast forward to the 20th century, when magnetic bracelets, beds, rings, belts, blankets, etc., have been sold to treat all manner of problems, from athlete’s foot to insomnia. Almost everyone has heard of using magnets therapeutically.
Today, PEMF devices are a bit more complicated to use than just placing a magnet on the tissue. PEMF systems are composed of loops of copper wire, through which a current of electrical energy is delivered. The current is turned on and off a number of times per second, surging through the loop. The magnetic field expands around the loop, and then collapses, expands and collapses again with the pulse of current. One of the benefits of PEMF versus static magnets is that the fields are typically much larger, so you do not have to place the PEMF loop precisely on the area needing therapy. Given the correct amount of current and the optimum number of loop windings, the loops for a high-powered PEMF device can emit a measurable magnetic field up to 18 inches from the surface of the loop. This makes it easy to use on equine patients, by strategically placing the loops in known problem areas like joints and major muscle groups. In addition, PEMF patches and beds are now widely used in small animal rehabilitation centers to assist in therapy for degenerative conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia. For thoroughbred horses, after short treatments over several days, owners and trainers can generally see and feel an improvement in the way the horse moves.