About Microcurrent, Part 1

Improve Performance and Heal Injuries with this Therapy Tool

Article by Deborah Powell, as published in NW Horse Source (view PDF)

Microcurrent therapy is an easy-to-use tool that can be incorporated into your horse’s physical maintenance program or be used to speed up injury recovery. Horses frequently come in from the pasture with minor injuries or come up sore after a rigorous competition, and microcurrent therapy enables you to help most conditions that arise.

The effects of microcurrent are accumulative and it produces fast results, with horses typically showing improvement in one to three treatments. When an injury or lameness occurs, it is still best to first get a veterinary diagnosis, then consider how microcurrent may help.

About Microcurrent

Microcurrent therapy is the use of low-level electrical current applied to the horse’s body. Accessory electrodes – used to transfer current – are connected to the microcurrent unit, and then applied to the horse’s wet hair to deliver the treatment. A horse’s hair acts as an insulator, so the hair is wetted during treatments to improve the electrical conductivity.

Microcurrent is just above the body’s level of electrical current, making it readily accepted by the body’s cells. This is why microcurrent units are able to stimulate healing rather than just blocking pain like most TENS units. Microcurrent jump-starts the body’s self-healing mechanisms, which speeds up a horse’s rate of recovery. Additionally, microcurrent increases the production of and has a cumulative effect on adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is a body’s cellular energy.


Microcurrent therapy has been used on horses since around 1979, after the veterinarian Joel Rossen, DVM, first introduced it to the equine world. After finishing acupuncture school, Rossen became interested in microcurrent therapy as a way to perform needle-free acupuncture. He quickly discovered that by using microcurrent he “was able to obtain therapeutic results [he] had only dreamed of until then.”

This spurred Rossen to begin introducing microcurrent therapy to small animal clinics and the racehorse industry in California; from there it gradually spread throughout the country. At the time it was a new trend to use therapeutic tools, but by the late 1980s and early 1990s therapy products had greatly increased in popularity.

Microcurrent in the Barn

When you have your own microcurrent tools, you can simply head to the barn and start helping your horses. Microcurrent therapy can benefit most problems, and the variety of units and accessories available make it possible to customize treatments to match your needs.

Some of the most commonly treated conditions are muscle soreness, leg injuries, joint pain, and hoof conditions. Microcurrent therapy is also great for relieving saddle soreness and back pain, as well as healing wounds. If microcurrent is used immediately after an injury, the production of scar tissue or even proud flesh is eliminated.

Microcurrent has no known adverse side effects, making it an ideal tool for Do-It-Yourself therapy. However, it is not recommended to use on pregnant mares. By using microcurrent therapy, you can improve your horses overall physical wellbeing as well as aid them in injury recovery (combined with a veterinarian examination). An additional benefit to using microcurrent is that when you treat one location, the current disperses throughout the body. This means that if you treat your horse’s withers, other parts of the body also receive some amount of microcurrent’s beneficial effects.

Along with helping your horse feel its best, horses enjoy the treatment itself and the sessions can provide a bonding experience between horse and rider.

Common Applications:

  • Relieve general muscle soreness.
  • Provide fast recovery from tendon and ligament injuries.
  • Draw out hoof abscesses.
  • Soothe mild bouts of colic.
  • Reduce & prevent scar tissue.
  • Supportive therapy to chiropractic work.
  • Relieve arthritis.
  • Reduce need for joint injections.
  • Heal wounds.

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