Good Vibes: Vibration Therapy Not Physiologically Beneficial, But Could Help Horse’s Mental State

Vibration therapy has been gaining in popularity in horses involved all disciplines, with claims that it can do everything from help performance, prevent injuries and speed rehabilitation. Four universities studied the physiological effects that whole-body vibration (WBV) has on horses of different classes. The results showed little physiologic benefits, but made researchers wonder if there were pain relief and metal benefits to the devices.

Michigan State University tested the effects of WBV on things like flexion test scores, heart rate, stride length and lameness. The control group of horses received one 30-minute treatment and others received three weeks of treatment, with five, 30-minute sessions a week. No difference between the groups was identified, but it was noted routinely that the horses who used the WBV consistently had better behavior and were more relaxed.

Texas A&M studied the effects of WBV on specific muscle metabolites in yearlings that were on stall rest. These horses stood on a vibration plate for four months, five days a week, at 30 minutes per day. Using blood serum, it was determined that the vibration plate does not provide significant muscular benefits.

Middle Tennessee State University studied WBV and bone density in healthy, exercising horses. Study horses were exercised for 45 minutes a day on a machine and treatment horses stood on the vibration plate for 45 minutes, 5 days a week. Multiple cannon bone X-rays were then taken. It was determined that in normal horses that WBV does not increase mineral content of bones, but it may decrease pain, as indicated in a decrease in heart rate.

Otterbein University studied the effect of WBV on hoof growth. Using two different trials, it was determined that WBV does not increase hoof growth.

Read more at the University of Minnesota.



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