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We had used Equissage for more years than we care to remember and had always been convinced of its benefits. Indeed we had worked as Consultants to the company for a few years so that is testament that we believed in the product.
However as we became more and more involved in rehabilitation work particularly in relation to leg injuries we realised that we needed a system that offered more options and flexibility than sadly Equissage could offer us.
So our quest to find an alternative began.
We researched and investigated but the there were only really two other products that warranted serious consideration- those from FMBS and Cyclossage. However as the latter product offered no direct treatment for leg injuries and also seemed rather awkward to fit, it really was a one-horse race - there was only one product which could be of assistance to the health and well-being of the horses in our care. We found the product, or rather products, which could match, and indeed surpass, that which we had been using for so many years.
We contacted FMBs Therapy Systems; after all so many of the country's leading riders and racehorse trainers would not be using this company's products if they were not any good! The Managing Director paid us a visit and 4 hours down the line we became owners of the Activo-Med Combi Pro, a pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and massage rug; once we saw the benefits for ourselves, leg wraps, pecdominal pad, hoof boots and laser soon followed. The benefits were so apparent, far beyond what we had been experiencing - we could see why so many Professionals were switching over to products from the FMBs Therapy Systems range.
That the products offer not just massage but also pulsed electromagnetic therapy is what makes them so good, doing exactly as promoted.
What is Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy?
Electromagnetic Field (EMF):
“Electric and magnetic fields are invisible lines of force that surround any electrical device that is plugged in and turned on. EMFs are made up of waves of electric and magnetic energy moving together (radiating) through space. Electric fields are produced by electric charges and magnetic fields are produced by the flow of current through wires or electrical devices
Definition: PEMF uses electrical energy to direct a series of magnetic pulses through injured tissue whereby each magnetic pulse induces a tiny electrical signal that stimulates cellular repair. Many studies have also demonstrated the effectiveness of PEMF in healing soft-tissue wounds; suppressing inflammatory responses at the cell membrane level to alleviate pain, and increasing range of motion. The value of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy has been shown to cover a wide range of conditions.
PEMF is a reparative technique which uses electrical energy to direct a series of magnetic pulses through injured tissue whereby each magnetic pulse induces a tiny electrical signal that stimulates cellular repair. This technique is not only of great benefit in aiding bones to repair but also very effective in healing soft-tissue wounds; suppressing inflammatory responses at the cell membrane level to alleviate pain, and increasing range of motion. The value of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy has been shown to cover a wide range of conditions, with well documented trials carried out both in human and veterinary medicine. Magnetic Field Therapy (MFT) permeates all cells enhances ion exchange, normalizes circulation, and increases the oxygen utilisation of the cell.
Thus Pulsed electromagnetic therapy (PEMT) can help with:
and so helps relax and soothe muscles and aids recovery of tendon and ligament injuries as well as helping bone to repair and regenerate.
It is not known definitively quite how PEMT works but presently one of the most adhered to reasons for its effectiveness is due the the calcium ion movement within the body that an electrical field causes to happen. There is electrical activity going on in the horse's body all the time - all body tissues including the blood contain electrically charged ions - but PEMT triggers natural anti-inflammatory processes and production of endorphins to occur more rapidly. In a succession of processes involving calcium ions the body naturally produces Nitric Oxide, a natural anti-inflammatory, which promotes the healing process - reducing pain and swelling, increasing circulation, etc. as well producing cGMP a molecule which helps in cell regeneration so is important in the repair process. .
And of course the benefits of massage are extremely well documented:
Having a combination of the two therapies in one rug is a perfect tool which is invaluable for us generally but particular for our rehab work as both therapies serve to improve the blood supply; an improved blood supply increases oxygen pressure which in turn activates and regenerates cells, And by improving calcium transportation around the body, absorption is increased [in the bones] and there is notable improvement in the quality of cartilage in joints.
And being non-invasive that sits well with our ethos.
In the short time we have had the Activo-Med Combi Pro rug we have been really pleased with the results: whilst we will not deny that Equissage does help the muscles with the combination of PEMT with massage we have already seen a much more significant softening and loosening of muscles,something which is of paramount importance in our line of work. And since magnetic fields permeate all materials we can use the leg wraps over thick bandaging and even plaster casts. The rug is great to pre and post exercise use before exercise; and being able to set programmes for specific horses and their individual needs is such a boon.
We are also finding the horses are very relaxed during their treatments with some actually nodding off!
That the Activo-Med rug has numerous different programmes and settings (the latter for altering the electrical frequencies) allows easy adjustment of treatment durations and treatment for specific conditions. It seemed a bit tricky at first but after a few times, it became really easy.
One of the immediate benefits is that this rug is so quiet whilst running. There is nothing to hear during the PEMT phase and only a slight "hum" during the massage phase which has already enabled us to leave a horse tied up unattended during his treatment session whereas previously during Equissage treatments, whilst he did accept the Pad, not sufficiently so for him to be left alone.
We just love the way all the products can worked using the same control box; the use of splitters allows the system to be really flexible as the rug or pecdominal pad can be used with 4 leg wraps at the same time. However we have opted to have each piece of equipment as stand-alone versions so that several horses can have their daily therapy at the same time.
The Pecdominal Pad is another excellent piece of kit from the FMBs Activo-med stable. It can be used alone or with the rug, as well as 2 or 4 leg wraps.
The PEMT and massage combination makes it the perfect pre-exercise warm-up and cool-down tool for horses that are prone to tightness in the shoulder and/or chest areas and for helping target-treat muscle injuries and bruising incurred through falls or hitting fences. It is also very useful for horses that have had gastric ulcers but still present sensitivity when girthed. As with all FMBs products, there is the flexibility of a range of settings to suit the individual and as it runs off the standard control box we can use leg wraps or boots at the same time. The Pecdominal Pad is another valuable addition to our tackroom
These also come with options of just massage, just PEMT or both. 2 or 4 boots can be run from the rug or as a stand-alone piece of equipment to suit individual needs.
The leg wraps fit superbly; no slippage downwards or around the leg even if the horse moves around. The cable length from the boots for the control box is amply long enough even for the largest of horses and therefore allows freedom of movement during a treatment without risk that cabliing is being stretched or strained.
Some leg boots are heavy or have a very uneven weight distribution which is not ideal for certain leg injuries. These boots - or leg wraps as FMBS refer to call them - are very lightweight and have an even weight distribution.
What a great innovation these are for aiding in conditions ranging from bruising and concussion to degenerative conditions and injuries to the tendons and ligaments within the hoof capsule.
Available as a stand alone piece of equipment with its own control unit, the boots can be used as an add-on to the rug. And again with a generous cable length to permit movement during treatment.
The boots have a sturdy rubber base which provides support and protection to the sole and are suitable for use with both the shod and unshod horse.
The boots can be used for mild or recovering laminitic cases to help the circulation.
As is typical of the FMBs range this Wave Light Pulse (WLP) product with a built-in Pulsed Electromagnetic spool also has options in that there is a version that allows for massage at the same time.
The intensity and frequency can be adjusted (along with the time) to suit the injury being targeted.
The laser is ideal for working on a specific injury site where a more intense form of therapy is required, Although it has to be hand-held the laser is great when time is short as a therapy session just takes minutes.
This product runs off the same control box as the rugs, etc.
The benefits of using magnets to manage and relieve pain have been acknowledged for centuries so FMBS offer this stand-alone therapy in a mesh rug.
18 pockets on the rug allow magnets to be placed in the common areas where problems arise namely the shoulders, hindquarters, withers, along the back and over the hips.
For additional therapeitic benefits hot and cold inserts for the pockets are also available.
For more information of the range of products available from FMBs Therapy Systems which includes dry and water-treadmills, spas and vibrating floor pads, please visit the website www.fmbs.co.uk as there is much on offer - and there are finance packages available as well as ty-before-you-buy and rental options.