Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Equines
We ask a lot of our equine athletes, and just like any athlete, injuries will occur. There are many treatment options for horses, depending on the type of injury. Alternative therapies are gaining popularity among horse owners as more studies show the benefits. An increasing number of veterinarians are using red light therapy with LED lights to help speed up the recovery of horses with a wide variety of injuries and ailments.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is a low-level light therapy within the therapeutic window, which has been shown to penetrate layers of skin and tissue, repairing, renewing, regenerating, healing damage. Pain is alleviated, and inflammation is reduced.
The therapy is administered using LED bulbs. The light wavelengths penetrate the body’s tissue at different depths and stimulate the production of mitochondria. This enables the cells to perform faster and more efficiently, ultimately speeding up recovery and healing time. The light produces endorphins, increases lymphatic drainage and circulation, relaxes muscles, increases antibody and collagen production, and regulates serotonin levels.
While the wavelengths stimulate the mitochondria, they also increase collagen production. Increasing the collagen production in the horse will help rebuild connective tissues damaged from an injury and reduce scarring.
LED lights are very safe and do not cause burns or tissue damage. The light panels can be used in most settings, making this therapy easy for horse owners to do on their own at home.
What is Red Light Therapy Used for?
Red light therapy is used for many ailments in horses, including:
- Muscular injuries
- Tendon injuries
- Ligament injuries: soft tissue injuries are prevalent in horses and can be caused by damage or overuse of the joint/muscle.
- Muscles Recovery
- Back Pain: Back injuries and back strain are pretty common for competitive horses. These injuries can be very challenging to treat with traditional medicine because the source of the pain can be hard to pinpoint accurately.
Light therapy has been associated with faster healing time from injuries. It can also be used in conjunction with other treatments during rehabilitation after an injury, surgery, or downtime to help reduce inflammation and repair damaged tissue.
What Tools are Used for Red Light Therapy?
There are multiple products used to administer red light therapy for horses. Most of these products are mobile and can be used by the horse owner. Make sure to consult your veterinarian before starting any type of therapy for your horse.
Laser pens are used on horses for targeting specific injuries or trigger points. This is an ideal tool for wound treatment or a small pinpointed area.
Cluster lights are relatively common tools for red light therapy. They contain numerous lights on one portable hand-held device. This tool helps to assist with pain relief and inflammation reduction in larger areas.
Light pads are designed specifically for local application and are ideal for back and leg issues. The pad fastens to the horse for the duration of the treatment and is not moved around. These are ideal for in-stall treatments and great for muscle recovery after training sessions.