Horses, just like humans, are prone to wounds or severe tissue injuries that might affect the ligament, muscles, or tendon. You should act immediately when your horse gets wounded, as ignoring this will result in more severe repercussions.
Conventional medical treatments usually entail surgery or medications. Aside from being expensive, such treatments make healing more challenging. This means spending thousands of dollars for medical treatment, which is unavoidable, especially if your horse regularly participates in competitions, shows, and events.
Light therapy, also referred to as phototherapy, is a non-medical treatment that you may consider as an alternative to conventional treatment options. Read on to learn five essential things about light therapy for horses.
What Is Light Therapy?
Light therapy combines invisible infrared light with visible super-luminous light to treat skin issues as well as ligaments, bones, tendons, and muscle complications. This treatment provides additional nutrients and oxygen to the injured tissues and stimulates the blood supply in the affected area. In addition, it minimizes inflammation, promotes the excretion of waste products from the horse’s body, and stimulates the lymphatic system.
This treatment is also known as red light therapy due to the often-visible red light. Other terms for light therapy include the following:
- Cold laser therapy
- Soft laser therapy
- Low-power laser therapy
- Photonic simulation
Specialists may use any of the terms listed above to specify how light is used for treatment. For example, light therapy is known as photobiomodulation when used for photosynthesizing. But most horse owners generally refer to this process as light therapy. This treatment is administered using light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that generate light wavelengths that pass into the body’s tissues at various depths, stimulating mitochondria production.
How Does Light Therapy Work?
Light therapy uses specific wavelengths of light delivered to parts of the horse’s body with an injury. This light gets absorbed by photoreceptors in the cells, triggering the body’s natural processes on a cellular level, such as boosting blood flow.
With increased blood flow, blood effortlessly reaches different parts of the horses’ body, boosting the reach of nutrients and oxygen. The availability of more oxygen and nutrients helps reduce pain, promote the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues, and get rid of degenerated or dead cells. In addition, it may enhance cell function and overall efficiency.
What Are The Applications Of Light Therapy?
There are numerous uses of light therapy regardless of whether you’re using wraps, pads, or handheld units for the treatment, maintenance, or prevention of injuries. Some common horse ailments or conditions for which light therapy is reportedly beneficial include the following:
- Muscular injuries such as tears and strains
- Tendon injuries
- Ligament injuries
- Joint pain either due to overuse injury or osteoarthritis that caused cartilage degradation
- Back pain relief
- Connective tissues injuries, such as strains and sprains of tendons and ligaments
- Neuropathy and neuropathic pain
But for light therapy to be effective in treating any of these conditions, it needs to be administered regularly to kickstart the body’s natural healing mechanisms. This treatment option is effective for long-term and chronic to acute conditions that affect horses. Light therapy is also a non-invasive recovery treatment, making it less stressful for your horse during recovery.
How Often Should Light Therapy Be Administered To Your Horse?
You need to know the recommended frequency of light therapy before administering this to your horse. This treatment may be given daily for maintenance or injuries. Each session should last for 20 to 30 minutes and is usually done once or twice daily.
The ideal times when light therapy should be administered are as follows:
- Use Before Exercise: Administering light therapy before working out is recommended because it relaxes the tensed tendons, joints, and muscles. This is especially ideal if your horse is suffering from a sore, tense, or stiff neck or back because it helps it warm up and loosen up before going out to the arena.
- Use After Exercise: Your horse’s body typically undergoes wear and tear after intense training, exercise, or competition. Light therapy best addresses this by aiding their recovery and preventing soreness and inflammation. It also helps ensure your horse remains relaxed.
What Tools Are Used During Light Therapy Sessions?
You may choose from various tools to administer light therapy to your horses. But before purchasing any device, you should ensure they’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
You may seek the advice of your veterinarian as to the best light therapy device. The available options are as follows:
- Cluster Lights: It features multiple lights on a single portable handheld gadget. It’s perhaps the most popular device used for light therapy sessions. This comes as no surprise because it does an excellent job of dealing with inflammation and minimizing persistent pain in larger areas.
- Laser Pens: It’s used for targeting particular trigger points or injuries. For this reason, it’s ideal for treating a small area.
- Light Pads: These devices are designed for local application and are often used to treat leg and back issues. Place light pads directly on the affected area following a training session to speed up your horse’s muscle recovery.
Light therapy is a convenient option because this treatment can be administered to your horses in your stable. However, you should do exhaustive research on the gadget to find out if it’s made by a reliable manufacturer. Remember that the device’s price will vary depending on the type and brand. Therefore, take the time to compare the features of different brands to see which device best suits your horse.
You can be sure that your horse may get wounded or injured at some point, particularly if it participates in equestrian competitions. In such situations, you might want to consider light therapy as an alternative treatment option. It has become quite popular because it’s non-invasive, unlike conventional medical treatment.
Refer to the comprehensive information given above about light therapy for horses so you can decide if it’s a viable treatment option for your horses.