Static magnetic blankets often claim to increase blood flow, reduce muscle tension and tenderness, and be beneficial in both prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries in horses. However, there are no studies that confirm the beneficial effects of magnets on muscles of the back in healthy horses.
Research in Sweden set out to investigate whether static magnets sewn into a blanket affect back muscle blood flow, skin temperature, mechanical nociceptive threshold and behavior in healthy horses.
Ten healthy adult horses were evaluated for blood flow by photoplethysmography, skin temperature by use of thermistors in conjunction with digital infrared thermography, and mechanical nociceptive threshold by algometry. Horse behavior was filmed during the procedure and scored on an ethogram. Measurements were performed repeatedly for 30 minutes to establish a baseline. Thereafter, a blanket with active, static magnets (900 gauss) or placebo magnets was placed on the horse and measurements were performed for a 60 minute treatment period and a 30 minute post-treatment period.
Blood flow in muscle, skin temperatures, mechanical nociceptive thresholds and behavioral traits did not differ between active and placebo magnetic blankets. Skin temperature increased similarly during both active and placebo blanket treatment.
In healthy horses, magnetic blankets did not induce additional effects on muscle blood flow, skin temperature, mechanical nociceptive threshold and behavior when compared with nonmagnetic blankets.
For more information on this research, click here.
Summarized by: Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota.