I’ve seen an increase recently in owners awerness of PEMF treatments for horses, mostly thanks to aggressive marketing of several equipment manufacturers &, whilst I am a huge fan of PEMF, the lack of knowledge of some practitioners & even some agents selling the equipment, is concerning! PEMF can be a wonderful treatment for both enhancing general perfomance as well as playing a role in injury rehabilitation however, used incorrectly it can at best be useless, at worst it can do damage.
I was recently at an international horse event in Las Vegas (with my other equine related business) & met an agent marketing a new PEMF device for both people & horses. Her sales pitch was certainly impressive, with plenty of medical terms, flashy brochures, professional endorsements etc, yet she could not answer the 3 most basic questions that anyone involved with PEMF really should know…….& we will get to those shortly.
The purpose of this article is not to educate you about all the intricacies of the technology, but to inform you enough so you know you are getting the right treatment for your horse.
The adage about “less is more” is absolutely true when it comes to PEMF. Unfortunately, there are a number of high powered devices being used to treat horses that are based on the premise that if some is good, more is better (or perhaps because a horse is bigger it needs a more powerful device…..!). This could not be further from the truth. So how do you know if your PEMF practitioner is using a high powered device unless they tell you? Well, these devices emit such a high power that you will hear an audible “crack” at the top of the pulse & you will also see a visible response in the horses muscle, like a twitch.
These high powered devices may have a place in intensive rehabilitation but should only be used by someone with extensive training, knowledge & experiece with the technology. It is my opinion there is absolutely no place for these devices for regular, maintenance/performance enhancement treatments. Certainly, some owners may observe improvements with these high powered devices, but regular &/or long term use could be doing more harm than good. Indeed the vast number of studies, including studies conducted by NASA conclude that low frequency & low intensity is the key. The success in the application of PEMF is in working within a natural magnetic field for the body to heal or work better. Any PEMF outside natural parameters works against the body!
So, back to those 3 questions you should ask your practitioner:
What waveform is used? The effectiveness of PEMF is very much determined by the waveform used to deliver the magnetic field. It should be either Square or Sawtooth (or a combination of the two).
What intensity is being used? This relates to the strength of the magnetic field being emitted. Research agrees that magnetic fields closest to the natural earths magnetic fields are the most effective. Thats right! You shouldn’t even feel it! Ideally, for maintenance/performance enhancement, the intensity should be around 30-60 microtesla (or .3 – .6 Gauss). Rehabilitation treatments may utelise a higher intensity, but should remain below 400 microtesla (4 Gauss).
What frequency is used (& why!)? Even more important than intensity, is the frequency used. Knowlegeable practitioners know different frequencies are used for different application & desired outcome. Again, frequencies closest to the natural earths frequencies have been found to be most effective. 0-30 Hertz is the natural earths frequency range, & applications using frequencies within this range is all that should be required for the benefits of performance enhancement.
So, if your practitioner cannot answer these 3 questions easily & in terms that you can understand, it is akin to your vet not knowing how to take the respiration, heart rate & temperature & they have no business treating your horse!
So rather than blindly accept what your practitioner is doing (regardless of the results they claim to achieve) do just a little of your own research so you can be informed about the treatment your horse is receiving. A great resource for further information can be found here: pemft.net
Follow this link for information about the benefits of PEMF for performance enhancement: Therapulse
CFCheers & Happy Riding!