This past week saw a lot of healing activity as Debora and I worked on several horses with the PEMF machine (see earlier post). Since I already know how to use the machine, I'm just learning how to use it on a horse instead of a human. Honey, who is a new arrival to Wings, was worked on every day last week to try and jump-start her healing, on the advice of Kari from Valley Equine Massage. Her back end was so locked up with spasms that she didn't react when Debora ran her thumbs down either side of her spine on the hind end. Normally, a horse's hind end will curl under with an involuntary response. The PEMF causes muscles to twitch, similar to a TENS machine but much stronger. During the first few minutes of the first session, Honey's muscles did not twitch at all! I've never seen that happen.
After about 10 minutes of therapy, her muscles began to twitch slightly...progress. I'm happy to report that after several treatments, her muscles began to react more and more to the PEMF, and by Friday they looked to be twitching normally. After her sessions she was walked for about 10 minutes to get some movement in the muscles and joints. I noticed that she groaned a bit, kind of like a human will when getting a massage on sore muscles. It was a good sign that things are loosening up.
We did this therapy on a couple of the older rescues as well, and I noticed that they were moving easier afterwards. I don't have enough experience with horses to always recognize when they aren't moving properly, unless they are obviously limping. I think it takes a lot of time with horses to notice the more subtle problems.
Laura Weise is a Wings volunteer who lives in Stevensville and will be bringing you stories of life at the barn.