The range of treatment options available for horses today is staggering, which is a good thing – the wide range of treatments means that you’ll be better able to find one which works best for your horse. Alternative therapies are a popular way of not only helping injured horses heal, but of providing regular maintenance treatments, too. Let’s take a look at four of the most popular alternative therapies today.
Chiropractic treatment has become hugely popular in the equine world. Equine chiropractors manipulate the horse’s skeletal system. By making adjustments to the horse’s bones, equine chiropractors can realign areas of the skeleton that have been injured or have worked themselves out of proper alignment, causing pain and even gait abnormalities. Chiropractic work can help to improve a horse’s self-carriage, flexibility, posture, movement, and overall well being. If a chiropractor finds an area on a horse which is out of alignment, after correcting the issue he or she may recommend a follow-up session with an equine massage therapist to help the muscles relax and adjust to the new (proper) position of the skeleton.
Often paired with chiropractic work, equine massage therapists focus on the horse’s muscles. Massage therapists can identify areas which are in spasm or are too tight. By releasing tight muscles, an equine massage therapist helps to relieve pain, relaxes areas which may have been restricted, allows a horse to move at its full athletic capabilities, and increases the horse’s range of motion and flexibility which may help to prevent further injuries.
Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine, is also widely being applied to treat horses. Acupuncture treats disease and injury by reactivating the life energy of the body. Thin needles are inserted into points along the body which each correspond to a different system of the body; inserting the needle reopens the channel and returns that part of the body to normal functioning. There are a number of different acupuncture treatment methods, and some pair the needles with electrical stimulation, injections, and laser treatments. Acupuncture may be helpful with nerve, musculoskeletal, and lameness issues, and it can also be paired with other alternative therapies such as chiropractic and massage. Acupuncture may only be performed on horses by licensed veterinarian.
LED and Light Therapies
Aside from preventing the growth of winter coats for show horses, LED and light therapy can be useful to help previous injuries to heal faster and more completely. Soft tissue injuries, ligament and tendon strains, and even arthritis can benefit from light therapy. The equine body’s damaged cells benefit from exposure to light therapy; the light energy is absorbed by cells and facilitates the healing process, while the heat released from light therapy relieves pain, increases blood circulation, and helps to loosen muscles. Light therapy products, such as blankets, leg wraps, and pads, are applied directly to the horse’s body. While these devices are available for any owner to purchase and their operation does not require a veterinary degree or any certification, they are costly to purchase. Some equine massage therapists and equine chiropractors have their own light therapy products, so purchasing treatments from that might be an option if you’re not sure that you want to make the investment.
It should be noted that none of these treatments are an alternative to traditional veterinary care, but paired with the work of your veterinarian, they can help to keep your horse healthy and comfortable.
First Image Source: minnesota.publicradio.org
Second Image Source: gaitedhorses.net
Original Source: blog.classic-equine.com/2013/07/alternative-therapies-for-equine-health/