By Kim Kizzier Sherrodd
By now, most of the horse world has seen, used or even owns some type of laser therapy devise. Laser, infrared and photonic therapy has become very popular for healing purposed for people and animals. I have been using multiple sources and devices of infrared, low level laser and photonic therapy in my therapeutic bodywork practice and in my day to day life for about 15 years now and couldn’t begin to list the multiple successes I’ve seen. I have photonic torches, low level lasers, infrared sauna, Back on Track (wearable infrared) products and they are all awesome. Recently, I was asked to look into a new product that is a wearable laser and also portable and easy to use with no wires or tubes and I said, “Wow, now that sounds like something I need to learn about”.
John Stephan from Spectra Therapy, a company out of Michigan has come up with a solution for our busy life problem by offering low level laser therapy in wraps of various lengths, sizes and types that can then be covered and left on the affected body part safely for extended periods of time up to 2 days. The wrap is easily attached to a small (2.5” x 2” x ¾”) laser device that delivers the light frequency into filaments in the wrap and thus into the body allowing treatment without the need for an attendant to be standing by. The laser device Spectra Therapy calls the A100 Impulse Unit is programmable for two prescribed frequencies, duration of treatment and intervals between treatment times. The A100 is powered by a rechargeable battery.
Stephan describes the intervals of laser as working like a pump in the body and comments that the off time is just as important as the on time. He originally began developing this technology when working in human vascular medicine and was focused on diabetic related leg complications such as foot ulcers and neuropathy. The laser light when working in the on-off cycles lowers blood density and drains the used protein in stagnant and injured areas thus reducing edema and increasing circulation. The cycle of light therapy removes toxins and debris in the system. When a leg is wrapped, the filaments are treating a large enough area to be treating veins, arteries, tissues and the meridians that travel through that area. Stephan remarks that with this treatment and the positive effects on the blood and lymph, it is actually the treated blood flowing through the damaged area that is causing the healing and not the laser light.
About 4 years ago, when still in human health, John’s grandson had a horse with some leg swelling problems and they had the idea to try the laser filaments on the horse. The results were so impressive that John’s focus has since been directed toward the equine world with great success. Horse owners and trainers have reported great success in treating suspensory injuries, bowed tendons and splints; decreasing healing time and reducing swelling and atrophy. Again, the results are especially effective when the injury is treated soon after the accident and repeated throughout the healing process. Many trainers find that using the Spectra Therapy filaments a couple times a week works very well as a preventative measure to keep both legs and bodies performing at their best and most comfortable condition.
Spectra Therapy recently developed and offers an even easier application for legs called Quick Laserwrap made of soft fleece with a foam center that can be quickly secured for use on lower legs, knees, hocks. The small A100 unit easily attaches to the quick wrap and can be turned onto a Blue or Green mode. The user manual describes in more detail the recommended mode for each use but the Blue mode will deliver laser light for 12 minutes and turn off for 20 minutes repeating for up to 12 hours. The Green mode will run for 12 ½ minutes and turn off for 2 hours repeating for up to 12 ½ hours.
The longer Laserwraps can be used along horse’s back to prevent inflammation and pain, around the belly to aide in pain from ulcers or tension that can lead to colic symptoms, or around the poll and even into the *TMJ area.
Jennifer Hallman of Windemere Equine Center tells about a horse they had that came in from playing in turn-out and was 3-legged lame. After 2 weeks of hydrotherapy and stall rest, the horse was no better so they called their veterinarian who diagnosed a hind leg suspensory and prescribed a veterinary protocol. Still, after 3 months there were no results and the horse continued to be walking on its toe. That is when Hallman learned about Laserwrap and after two weeks of treatment, the horse was trotting sound.
Peggy Pfeiffer from Pfeiffer Farms, LLC remarked about her Laserwrap experience when they purchased a race horse broodmare at a sale. The mare had been previously raced but then developed a very big leg from an undisclosed injury and hadn’t run in 3 months. They brought the mare home and used the Laserwrap for 3 days at which time the swelling was virtually unnoticeable. So, they went ahead and put the mare back in training for 5 weeks and sent her to the track. She began winning and even won one race event by 6 lengths.
Jenni Martin McAllister, 2014 FEI World Cup Show Jumper uses and supports Spectra Therapy Laserwrap to keep her horses sound and minimize stocking up in the legs. Jenni likes to use Laserwraps when trailering and has also used them for treating suspensory injuries.
Oxygen, Blood Flow and Recovery.
According to Spectra Therapy research, the LASERwrap will activate the lymph system with the 3 treatment, two-hour session applied to the leg (or other area of treatment). The lymph system then works to remove toxins and the used proteins (or waster) that are causing the edema and then flushes them out of the body through waste channels. The area is then replenished by freshly oxygenated blood cells. In addition to the phenomenal healing effects on the treated area, Spectra Therapy shares another very key benefit of using the Laserwrap on legs stating the positive effects on the entire body’s recovery after exercise.
Every minute, about 70 pints of blood pass through a horse’s front legs. So, when the leg is treated with the Laserwrap for 12.5 minutes, that means 840 pints of blood have been positively charged with laser energy. The Detroit Medical Center validated that Spectra’s Laser therapy improved oxygenation of blood supply by 10.7% when used on legs. When treated 3 times (two hour of application) both morning and night for 72 hours the blood density is reduced as the laser photons activate neutrons in the blood and soft tissues, dramatically improving blood and lymphatic flow. The now separated blood cells pass through the lungs and are able to absorb more oxygen for distribution to the body (versus blood cells that are clumped together) and this will affectedly help with the removal and disposal of lactic acid, hastening the recovery process.
Spectra Therapy is available in various kits that can include strips 3” wide with one or two filaments, net wrap (when not using the quick wraps), 1 or 2 A100 units, and quick wraps. The kits are affordable and range in price from $700 – $1500 depending upon needs. The filament strips and quick wraps can be ordered separately and used with the A100 unit(s) as desired. Spectra Therapy is continuing to develop additional wraps for use on horses, people and dogs which will all be able to be used with the A100. Stephan said that they are in the process of developing several new quick wraps for use in different anatomical equine body areas such as hocks and knees.
You can view additional information about Spectra Therapy at www.spectratherapy.com or call 1-248-524-6300 to learn more.