I’ve been asked to comment about the statement, “Microcurrent instruments calibrated for equine use.” Some sellers of the Electro-Acuscope/Myopulse equipment have made this marketing statement. What exactly does “calibrated for equines” mean?
For a little background, electrical stimulation units, such as microcurrent instruments, deliver voltage, current, and some selectable frequencies. The instruments are basic output devices and current and frequencies are passed through electrodes that are placed on the body.
With that it mind, the only thing that could make a unit equine specific is the GSR (Galvanic Skin Resistance readings) feature available on some professional models. The GSR scale could be set with different resistance levels to read equine tissue verse human tissue. If looking to buy a unit for horses, ask the manufacturer of the unit to give you the comparative settings between their equine and human models. In other words, have them show you in writing the specification differences between the two types of instruments. However, it probably still does not make any sense to buy into the idea that a unit is calibrated for equines.
The GSR feature allows you to have your own built-in ohm meter. GSR readings can be used for making sure your wires and electrodes are in good working condition and once attached to the body they can help you to see whether you have properly prepped the area on the body for an electrical stimulation treatment. When it comes to using the GSR feature as a form of diagnostics (protocols in the book MicroCurrent for Horses), it is helpful to see resistance changes during the course of treatment. The ohm meter portion of a clinic unit is different from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even between the different models from a manufacturer.
To compare, let’s look at the Precision MicroStim, MENS IV Masterstim, and Acuscope Instruments.
Precision Micro Stim
The Precision has 400,000 ohm of resistance at the 50% mark on the scale of 1-100. Most people will read about 50% on their opening reading, and when used on horses it will be closer to 80% or above because horses are less resistant than people. The opening number is simply a larger number for a beginning reference point.
MENS (Monad Corp. /Dr. Wing)
MENS IV chose to offer three different scales that are adjusted with a control switch. If you’re on the top end of the scale (as you might be when treating horses), at the center, or base setting you can decrease the scale. This brings the number down so you have a larger scale of numbers to work with to see changes (or vice versa).
Master Micro Stim
The MasterStim has a wide scale of 0-840 with no pre-loaded resistance levels set. The MasterStim’s scale is adjusted to fit your requirements. I usually adjust it by 50% or more for horses.
The Acuscope uses a control setting called the gain, to add increments of 10. Remember, this has no affect on the treatment, it is just a reference number for comparison (this has been confirmed by Acuscope Manufacturer). Check your owner’s manual, as this feature may be slightly different for individual models. What is the point in having a equine calibrated unit? Everything in the body has its own resistance levels. The body is mostly water and tissue. The density of the different tissues such a skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments, organs, and bones cannot be distinguished by a GSR ohm meter. The GSR meter is simply a useful reference tool.
If you are told your unit will have to be re-calibrated once a year to be sure it is in good working order, then you might want to reconsider the purchase. A production-made device should not have to be re-calibrated on a regular basis. Can you imagine having to send your computer, television, cell phone or any other of your electronics in for regular re-calibration? I would seriously question the quality of a product that has such high maintenance requirements that it can’t hold simple electrical current and frequency settings.
Update Winter 2011: Since the original publication of this article, there have been updates in technology and units. Avazzia, Inc. developed the Best-Vet (and other units) that are advanced biofeedback microcurrent units. These units have been modified for equine (and other animal) use. The Avazzia Med-Best and other human units are not transferable to use on animals due to higher output levels that animals will not tolerate.
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