August 2019 - PEMF
Written by by Amanda Lamb
Friday, 02 August 2019 02:13
PDF Print E-mail

therapeutic

Results convert equestrian from skeptic to believer in Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy.

by Amanda Lamb

As a horse owner and rider, my number one priority is keeping my horses feeling good, physically and mentally. Along with regular medical treatment and supervision, I’ve been using Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy regularly on my horses for over a year. I was so impressed by the results I saw in my horses, along with other horses in my barn, that I completed training with the machine to become a PEMF technician.

I was born and raised in Southern California, and have had the privilege of training with some really fantastic programs: Currently I’m lucky enough to ride with Mickey Hayden and Lane Clarke. Keeping me involved in the sport wasn’t always easy financially for my parents, so over the years I’ve had some equine partners who presented challenges such as advancing age or less-than-perfect vet checks, which kept them in our budget range.

Keeping these horses healthy, sound, and still competitive has been challenging, but always worth the effort. Last year I purchased my beautiful ex-Grand Prix horse, Wings Sublieme, who just a few years prior had been jumping 1.60m courses in Europe, but was feeling her age, had arthritis and had a healed tendon injury which made 1.20m/1.30m more appropriate for her.

She was perfect for my budget and my goals. I found Wings through Lindsay Beadle of Eclipse Equestrian in Okotoks, Canada. Lindsay offered me an amazing opportunity to ride and mentor with her, and so I spent all of 2018 training and competing in Western Canada. Lindsay is an old-school horsewoman, who insists that her riders learn and perform all aspects of their horse care, even on show days. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but I learned so much about grooming, hoof care, equine nutrition, and just putting the horses first - always.

It was in Canada that I was first introduced to PEMF. Wings was a dream come true, and every ride on her was like a masterclass, but keeping her feeling good was not always easy. She has arthritis in her left hock, making her left-to-right lead changes a bit sticky. A groom at our barn suggested we try PEMF, which I’d never heard of, so I was skeptical.

However, when I saw that many of the top jumpers and dressage horses at Spruce Meadows and Thunderbird were being regularly treated with PEMF, I decided to give it a try. We hired Keely Gibb of Cavallo Pulse Therapy to come out and give Wings her first session. I didn’t feel a big improvement on our ride the next day, but Keely assured me after one or two more sessions, I would feel a significant difference.

Photo: Ashleigh Magnus

Boy, she was right! After her second or third PEMF session, that specific lead change was getting smoother, and Wings just seemed happier and more comfortable pushing off that left hock. I was hooked on PEMF after that, and Wings was completely sound through the entire season, with regular sessions every four to six weeks.

What Exactly Is PEMF?

It is a gentle, non-invasive, and well-tolerated treatment that is widely used in various sport horse disciplines for rehab and maintenance of both soft and bone tissue.

The equipment used is a portable machine that delivers magnetic pulses to the horse through soft silicone loops. My particular machine is made specifically for equine clientele, although it can be used on humans and smaller pets, too. During the session, the machine is turned on to the appropriate intensity, and the loops are put into position.

It’s important to know that this is a magnetic field being delivered, not electricity, so it’s very safe. The machine makes a quiet clicking noise when turned on, and the magnetic field will begin to gently push and pull on the cell membranes, causing them to become more permeable, which allows the cells to release toxins while bringing good nutrients in. The pulses can reach up to 16 inches deep, making this kind of treatment much deeper than a traditional massage. Tight or sore muscles will often begin to twitch, and this helps me to see that we are in the right spot.

Quite often my equine clients will yawn, stretch out or close their eyes as they settle into the session. It’s really gratifying for me to see that they are enjoying it.

A Mainstream Alternative

For a treatment that’s considered an alternative or holistic therapy, it’s actually quite well-studied and mainstream. PEMF is FDA-approved in humans for such ailments as non-union fractures, urinary incontinence, depression, and even brain cancer. PEMF is also being used more and more by top athletes, including tennis legend Roger Federer, the entire AC Milan soccer team, and pro surfer Kelly Slater, to enhance their recovery and performance.

It was the effectiveness with treating fractures in humans that first attracted trainers to try PEMF on their injured racehorses 30 years ago. Over the years it has become a widely accepted therapy in horse racing to treat muscle and tendon injuries, hoof cracks, bone and ligament injuries. PEMF also promotes faster muscle recovery after training or competing and is now being used more and more to warm up and prepare horses for athletic events. Five of the last seven Kentucky Derby winners were regular PEMF recipients.

Hunter/jumper barns and western show barns are beginning to see the benefits as well, with riders such as Will Simpson and Margie Engle incorporating it into their barn schedule. I’ve even seen PEMF used on rodeo bulls, which I suppose makes the bulls happy and more powerful, but the cowboy’s eight seconds in the saddle a lot more difficult!

I believe that all horses, from the trail companion to the Grand Prix jumper, the therapy horse to the dressage star, deserve to be treated like a champion.

Horses have given me so much, and it’s the best feeling in the world to be able to provide them with a treatment that feels good and is good for them.

PEMF can be used for, but not limited to:

  • muscle recovery/relaxation
  • tendon injuries
  • ligament injuries
  • abscesses
  • wounds
  • arthritis

Author Amanda Lamb owns Performance Pulse Therapy. For more information, visit www.performancepulsetherapy.com or call her at 949-769-0968.