Well we've welcomed an exciting new modality to Equestrian Performance! Photobiomodulation therapy or Laser therapy has got a wealth of valuable uses and is currently being used on a wide variety of conditions in my clients from Kissing spine post operative rehab to Sacroiliac dysfunction, wound healing and general muscle tightness.
When I was looking to expand my toolbox, I wanted to add something that was tried and tested and could accelerate healing. I consider the manual therapy side of things to be my most valuable tool. Being able to use my hands to assess and treat the horse is so important! However, there are certain structures that I wasn't able to reach or affect with my hands on treatment, and that prompted me to look for more!
Laser Therapy has been researched in depth for many years, and the benefits are widely accepted in both human and animal medicine. Below are some effects of laser therapy
Modulates nociception and reduces pain (Chow, David and Armati, 2007)
Stimulation of wound healing (Pessoa et al., 2004; Rodrigo et al., 2009; Byrnes et al., 2004; Gal et al., 2006 and many many more)
Cellular proliferation (Hu et al., 2007)
Production of transciption factors
Reduction in Inflammatory response (Meirrelles et al., 2008., Rabelo et al., 2006; Rodrigo et al., 2009)
Laser therapy has also been accepted to increase cellular metabolites and signalling molecules including ATP, Reactive Oxygen Species and Nitric Oxide (Hu et al., 2007; Baptista et al., 2011; Annunziato et al., 2002; Lubart et al., 2005).
What does this all mean?
Laser therapy is extremely useful in modulating cellular activity to accelerate healing. It is indicated for pain relief, wound healing, arthritis, post-operative treatment, muscle spasm, tendon and ligament injury and much more. If your horse is battling with pain or injury, then laser therapy can most likely help.
Spectravet lasers are world renowned with leading Therapists around the globe using these devices. Their devices have been used in research as well and offer cutting edge technology. Their team is superb and I am lucky enough to have been trained and regularly converse with Heidi Richardson (New Zealand) who is a Radiographer and Equine Therapist. I feel really privileged to have the first one in Southern Africa, so please don't hesitate to get in touch for more info!