Equine Electro-Acuscope / Myopulse / Myoscope Therapy
No matter what activities horsemen and their animals engage in, injuries will almost inevitably occur. Pinpointing the exact location of the injury and recognizing associated complications is often extremely frustrating. Treatment of physiological problems can consume a large amount of the time we spend with our equine athletes. Although a sore horse is always bad news, we bring the horse industry good news about a computerized electronic instrument which can relieve much of the frustration with injury detection, as well as reduce treatment and recovery time.
The Acuscope has been referred to as "the best kept secret in equine therapy". The instrument has successfully treated common equine problems such as pulled muscles and ligaments, inflammation, abscessed feet and nerve paralysis. It is particularly successful in relieving or greatly reducing the swelling and pain of tissue damage occurring from athletic injury. In addition, the Acuscope has proven effective in the treatment of conditions thought to be life threatening or crippling, such as laminitis, navicular problems, deep puncture wounds and deteriorating coffin bone.
The Electro-Acuscope is ClassII instrument approved for use on humans. It has been used in doctor's offices, physical therapy practices, and hospitals since 1976. The Acuscope has been successfully used by many sports medicine clinics and is especially well-known for its success in treating professional athletes such as football player Terry Bradshaw, PGA player Fuzzy Zoeller, The New York Knicks, and the U.S. Olympic water-skiing and track and field teams.
In equine therapy, the Acuscope has been used for approximately ten years. More and more top owners, trainers and riders are discovering the benefits of Acuscope therapy and relying on the instrument's impressive results on a regular basis. Ann Broussard, Joe Heim, Talmage Green, Martha Josey, Kathleen Zins and Clarence Picou are among the nation's top trainers and competitors who are familiar with the Acuscope's versatility and benefits when used on horses.
People have interpreted the results of Acuscope therapy saying: "The Acuscope healed . . ." this or that condition. The fact, of course, is that the Acuscope does not heal, rather, it assists the body in healing itself by improving the circulation of blood and oxygen in the involved area and normalizing the electrical circuitry in the nerves and muscles of damaged tissue.
In order to adequately explain how the Acuscope works, it is appropriate to begin by considering certain fundamental aspects of living tissue. The body is made up of a vast number of cells. In many ways, these cells act like tiny batteries, storing and releasing energy, doing their work of taking in nutrients, releasing waste products, repairing and reproducing themselves, etc. Each cell, like any battery, has a measurable electrical charge which must be maintained in order to function properly.
Energy flows constantly between all cells throughout the electrical circuitry of the body. When damage or trauma occurs to living tissue, there is a disruption in the electrical capacity of the involved cells and after an initial surge, there results a measurable decrease in the production and flow of energy through the electrical network of the involved tissues. This condition is generally accompanied by pain in the area and often results in the body's inability to completely repair itself. Thus, lengthy rest periods and inactivity are often prescribed in order to attain eventual restoration of normal function.
At this point, the Acuscope is frequently introduced. The treatment has been likened to putting a "jump start" on the dead battery of a car. Since the instrument ' has both feedback and therapeutic functions, it actually provides auditory and numerical readouts which indicate the locations where tissue is damaged, unhealthy. Once abnormal areas are located, the Acuscope can then treat the tissue according to its needs. An experienced therapist can interpret the sounds and numbers which reflect the amount of conductivity passing through the tissue between treatment probes and can determine a course of therapy based upon these readings. Swelling and inflammation are translated into high numbers on an LED display along with corresponding high-pitched tones. The Acuscope readings tell the therapist where the problem is most severe; it can pinpoint precise areas of excessive heat and fluid in acutely damaged sites. It can also identify tissue which has become chronic, i.e., an area of deficiency in an energy-depleted state. Low numbers and tones reflect tissue which is unable to complete the healing process and incapable of returning to a normal, healthy condition without assistance. In addition, the Acuscope can help locate problem areas in other parts of the body which have become sore or painful as a result of compensating for the original cause.
For example, an all too common condition such as a bowed tendon will initially cause the horse to refuse to bear weight on the leg with the bow. Acuscope readings will initially reflect the excessive electrical activity in the area resulting from the heat and inflammation in the traumatized tendon. immediate treatment to the involved site can help the problem heal more quickly. A horse with a bowed tendon which has not received Acuscope treatment will spend a prolonged amount of time with the majority of its weight shifted to the opposite leg. Bearing more weight, unevenly distributed, the muscles and tendons of that opposite side become strained and sore. Eventually, this can result in certain muscles overdeveloping and others atrophying because of the favoring of a limb, thus causing secondary complications in the course of recovery. With Acuscope treatment, these muscles can be maintained in a much more comfortable, healthier state. Because the original problem heals faster, chronic tendinitis can be prevented and these other compensating areas will not have to endure the increased load as long.
Acuscope therapy is a modality applied primarily for pain relief, to improve soft tissue function, and to increase range of motion. The Acuscope differs from other electrical stimulation devices in that it delivers its treatment in micro-amps. Most nerve stimulation devices (ordinary TENS) produce milliamperage current designed to bombard the tissue and simply block pain signals from reaching the brain. The Acuscope, in contrast, generates only the level of current required to gently encourage nerve and muscle fiber to return to conduction of normal electrical impulses. In contrast also, ordinary TENS devices provide only temporary relief, whereas a series of Acuscope treatments has a cumulative, long-term healing effect.
The Acuscope's therapeutic capabilities go well beyond the treatment of horses which are 'off" or just 'not quite right". Acuscope therapy is not just a "tune up" for performance. Its advanced and sophisticated technology has been used extensively over the past ten years, by and under the supervision of many veterinarians to deal with the most serious injuries and acute life threatening conditions of the equine athlete.
In numerous recent scientific studies, microcurrent stimulation has been proven to have a profoundly beneficial effect on living tissue. Microamperage (below I milliamp) is the naturally occurring level of current generated by cells throughout the body. In technical terms, some of the benefits of microcurrent stimulation at the cellular level are: opening of voltage-sensitive calcium ion channels, normalizing cell membrane potential, restoring the sodium pump function, enhancing protein synthesis, and increasing ATP production. (Ngok Cheng, et al; 1976.) With this in mind, it is easy to understand why supplying the kind of current naturally occurring in healthy tissue promotes regenerative metabolic activity.
Another unique feature, which sets the Acuscope apart from other electrical stimulation devices, is the micro-chip circuitry that is designed to scan and monitor the tissue. Other electrical stimulation units (milli- and micro-amperage alike) gather no feedback and produce only a simple fixed output according to preset specifications. The Acuscope reads neurological impedance (resistance) in the circuit created through the tissue placed between the two probes. Based on the information it gathers, the unit is programmed to calculate appropriate corrective waveforms. Acuscopes used on horses are specially calibrated to take into account their level of conductivity which is higher than Human's. Computerized circuitry picks up abnormalities in nerve fiber impulses (input) and modifies its infinitely variable square wave signal (output) appropriately. Its self-correcting mechanisms continually adjust the current until normal patterns are being conducted without resistance through the tissue between the probes. The readings then tell the therapist when an area has been successfully treated and the probes can be moved to another location. This feedback modulated procedure eliminates the possibility of overtreatment or harm to the tissue.
Therapy sessions can take from 10 to 30 minutes, depending upon how many areas are treated. For example, treatment of tight neck or shoulder muscles with a roller bar may take approximately 12 to 15 minutes. A stiff or inflamed hindquarter or leg treated with taped-on electrodes may take up to 20 minutes. A complicated condition with several areas of involvement requiring a variety of applications may take longer. However, it is well worth the effort.
Remarkably, results are usually noticeable immediately, with continued improvement over the next few days. Within a week, most conditions will have progressed dramatically. Chronic conditions may take several treatments before initial results are observed; yet Acuscope treatment is known to resolve serious conditions which would otherwise never improve. Enhanced alertness, calmness, definite changes in gait, coordination, and balance are typically some of the immediate results along with reduction of pain, swelling, and relief from muscle tightness. It has been consistently observed that the animal becomes extremely relaxed from this pain-free procedure. Many interpret their horse's reaction as "appreciative" and "happy to be having his treatment". Frequently owners and trainers comment that "you can see the relief in his eyes". A typical response by the horse is to lower his head, bend a rear leg and give "a deep sigh of relaxation.
In addition to Veterinarians, there is a steadily increasing group of people who have been trained by qualified instructors to use this equipment on horses. After participating in an extensive training program, one can become a Certified Equine Therapist. Acuscope therapy complements traditional veterinary procedures to ensure a quicker recovery for the horse. "The best kept secret in equine therapy" is no longer a secret and is becoming well-known as a highly respected form of therapy.