Massage Pad – Summary of Test Results

Clinical Trials – Equilibrium Therapy Massage Pad

Equilibrium Products are dedicated to creating carefully designed products that improve the well-being and comfort of the horse. All Equilibrium products are thoroughly researched, tested and quality checked.

The Equilibrium Therapy Massage Pad has been independently tested by Myerscough College in Lancashire.

The results, following 6-weeks of testing, show that the massage pad offers significant benefits to working horses – improving back flexibility, promoting relaxation – and that it can help increase stride length.

There were two parts to the study:
1) The horses were measured for signs of stress / relaxation immediately before, during and after the application of the massage pads over a six-week period

2) The horses were assessed in terms of flexibility and suppleness. There were two groups of horses – a treated group and a control group. The control group wore the massage pad, but the massage pads were not turned on.

Test Methods

Back flexibility was assessed using the the ‘Arch Dip Test’. The Arch & Dip test is a reliable and proven indicator of back flexibility (Pelham & Schobesberger 2006). It involves the use of pressure stimulus to generate a reflex in the horses’ back. Pressure applied to a specific region in the spinal area results in the horse ‘dipping’ away from the pressure, with a more flexible back allowing the horse to exhibit a greater ability to dip away from the source of the pressure. The arch test involves the application of pressure to the horses’ midline, in order to stimulate an upwards arch reflex in the horses’ back away from the source of pressure. Similarly, a more flexible back allows the horse to exhibit a greater ability to arch the back upwards away from the source of the pressure.

As a measure of relaxation, the horses also had their heart rates monitored.

Results

Reducing Stiffness

Massage therapy helps to reduce back stiffness caused by injury and long term chronic conditions such as arthritis. It does this by increasing the blood supply to the effected muscles and removing the build up of toxins. Test results demonstrated an overall improvement in back flexibility of approximately 46%.

Stride Length

The trial showed that the stride length of the Treated horses increased over the period of the test by 12cms (approximately 4.75″), whereas the Control group showed little improvement. Horse owners know that a small change in stride length can make a major difference to the way of going in the horse.

Promoting Relaxation

Using a heart rate monitor, horses treated with the EQUILIBRIUM Therapy Massage Pad had a consistently lower heart rate than those in the control group during the treatment.

Improving Performance

Tension is often one of the most common reasons for poor performance, and by increasing relaxation and improving back flexibility; the negative effects of tension can be reduced. Relaxed muscles will assist with flexibility and movement in particular for competition horses performing dressage movements and jumping technical fences.

Conclusion

The results after 6-weeks of testing indicate that:

1) the horses’ welfare may improve because the horse is more relaxed; and,

2) the performance of the horse would be expected to improve because the horses’ back muscles are showing greater flexibility.

Relaxed muscles will assist with flexibility and movement in particular for competition horses performing dressage movements and jumping technical fences.

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