A Brief Overview of Commonly Used Types of Therapy Devices
When doing therapy treatments, a primary goal should be to protect the body’s fascia. Fascia is a crucial component that makes up every structure of the body. When fascia fails, a cascade of events lead to injury and disfunction of the body. Supporting the health of the fascia means recovery, comfort, and soundness within the body.
This list shares therapy device categories that are beneficial for the body and help protect the fascia. With contrasts to other modalities that might be more for pain management and blocking pain. The contrasted therapy device categories mentioned can potentially cause undesirable side effects, particularly when working with horses, other highly sensitive animals, and sensitive people.
Microamperes, or microcurrent, increases cellular energy to promote healing of all tissues. Microcurrent is highly beneficial for tendon, ligament, nerve, bone and muscle repair. Some devices that have the always-on biofeedback feature find and release bound up tissue, which occasionally causes visible spasms as the tissue releases.
Milliamperes block pain temporarily, and continuous use can damage nerve sheaths. This has an output level that is 1000 times higher than microamperes, and it can be irritating and uncomfortable to animals. Devices that cause contracting of the muscles should be used carefully and judiciously. They are for forced contractions in muscle atrophy situations.
PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnet Field) Therapy
Low Dose PEMF (very low dosages) can improve circulation, help with musculoskeletal issues, and reduce pain. These low dose safe versions of the PEMF devices are available as patches or stationery models using the European format. (This device shown in feature image on black horse.)
High Dose versions of PEMF devices that can cause muscles to visibly contract or noticeably be felt can cause tissue (fascia) to become hard, drive tension to organs causing pain, nausea, colic, headaches, and failure to thrive. The high does PEMF devices can come in forms such as rolling suitcases with rubber rings or horse blankets. When the devices are being used, individuals in close vicinity are potentially in harms way.
Sound Wave Therapies
Ultrasound: Ultrasound, or high frequency sound waves, creates heat to improve circulation. This method can cause burning of the tissue. Although there have been improvements made in newer versions of ultrasound devices, they still pose a risk in burning tissue and can cause permanent damage. In my opinion, it is not worth the risk with better options available
Shockwave (ESWL -Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy): High pressure sound waves originally designed to break up kidney stones in people. Found to be a pain blocker, which is why it became popular at backside race tracks. It’s purpose is to break up tissue, and it is very damaging to the fascia.
Infrasound (Low decibels sound waves): Uses extra low ranges that travel long distances and are completely safe to fascia. Infrasound benefits include improving circulation, decreasing swelling, and reducing pain without the pain blocking mechanism. Please note that this therapy modality should not be used on fractures.
The following are several patches offered with various types of therapy modalities.
Magnets, stickers or anything applying a tiny about of pressure will create stimulus to acupoints effectively.
MicroCurrent Patches: Effective, safe when used as directed.
PEMF as small patches and rings: Safe and effective in these low doses.
Electrolyte Patches & Acupressure Patches: These come in various names, and when Googled, do not seem to be backed by scientific research and do not provide any real benefit, therefore becoming simply a waste of money.
Light Therapy (LED and Laser)
Lasers: Lasers produce direct or focused beams of light. Lower class lasers are safer choices and are therapeutic in improving circulation, particularly effective in skin conditions. When laser devices are driven by high power, such as Class IV, they can be dangerous to fascia with negative effects such as burning tissue. Class IV can even cause permanent damage to the tissue.
LED (Light emitting diodes): LEDs have dispersive light patterns that are easily absorbed by the skin. They are safe and effective, if a high quality device is used.
The effectiveness of both Lasers and LED devices are enhanced by added features, such as increased number of diodes for coverage, wavelength spectrums, and additional frequencies. For example, a device with infrared and red with pulsed frequencies provides better treatment quality than a device with just red or infrared diodes.
Ceramic Textile Wraps
Lightweight, reflective, heat-trapping materials are safe when used in moderation if you are wanting to improve circulation. However, these can easily be used incorrectly and when if they are left on for too long they can create a build up of heat, for example if left on a horse’s legs longer than recommended.
If you’d like help determining the right therapy tool for you and your situation, contact Matrix for more information.
** The accumulation of this information is shared in good faith and will not necessarily be in agreement with others. I wish to thank the knowledgeable and experienced therapists that have shared their findings in experiences with various modalities that helped derive this list of general information. The continued research with all products means other attributes are being discovered. It is a responsible user that learns what those are and applies them appropriately.