Charlotte and Asterios
Charlotte Jorst, of Skagen Stables, with Asterios

The Electro-Acuscope/Myopulse Therapy System has been referred to as "the best kept secret in equine therapy". The instruments have successfully treated common equine problems such as pulled muscles, strained tendons 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 bones.

The Electro-Acuscope is FDA approved for use on humans. It has been used in doctor's offices, physical therapy practices, and hospitals since 1978. The Acuscope has been successfully used by many sports medicine clinics and is especially well-known for its success in treating professional athletes. Although the Acuscope has been primarily recommended for orthopedic, neurologic and arthritic discomfort, the instrument's use is not limited to pain relief. In equine therapy, the Acuscope has been used for over twenty years to treat a vast number of conditions and injuries.

Molly with Go Be Quick at the Reno Rodeo
Molly with Go Be Quick at the Reno Rodeo

The Acuscope 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. 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 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.

Mesa and Junior
Mesa Leavitt with
Juniors Genuine Doc

At this point, the Acuscope is frequently introduced. Since the instrument has both feedback and therapeutic functions, it actually provides auditory and numerical readouts which indicate the locations where tissue is damaged and 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, and 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 injured leg. 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 accelerate the healing process. A horse with a bowed tendon which has not received Acuscope treatments will spend a prolonged amount of time with opposite leg bearing the majority of the weight, which can cause secondary conditions from overcompensation where the muscles/tendons/ligaments of that leg will become strained and sore. With Acuscope treatments, these secondary complications can be prevented by keeping the body balanced, comfortable, and in a healthier state.

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' treatments in micro-amps. Most nerve stimulations devices (TENS) produce milli-amperage 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. Also in contrast, ordinary TENS devices provide only temporary relief, whereas a series of Acuscope treatments have a cumulative, long-term healing effect.

Renate Finley, from Texas, with DJS Dundee
Renate Finley, from Texas, with DJS Dundee

The advanced and sophisticated technology of the Acuscope has been used extensively over the past twenty 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, micro-current therapy has been proven to have a profoundly beneficial effect on living tissue. Micro-amperage (below 1 milliamp) is the naturally occurring level of current generated by cells throughout the body. In technical terms, some of the benefits of micro-current therapy 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. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why supplying the kind of current that naturally occurs in healthy tissue promotes regenerative metabolic activity.

Another unique feature, which sets the Acuscope apart from other electrical stimulation devices, in the micro-chip circuitry that is designed to scan and monitor the tissue. Other electrical stimulation units 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 or electrodes. 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 higher metabolic rates than those found in humans. Computerized circuitry picks up abnormalities in the 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 therapists when an area has been successfully treated and the probes can be moved to another location. This feedback modulated procedure eliminates the possibility of over-treatment or harm to the cells.

Wincento, owner is Kristen Roberson of Sheridan Creek Equestrian Center
Wincento, owner is Kristen Roberson of Sheridan Creek Equestrian Center

Remarkably, results are usually noticeable immediately, with continued improvement over the following few days. Within a week, most conditions will have progressed dramatically. Chronic conditions may take several treatments before initial results are observed, yet Acuscope treatments are known to resolve serious conditions which would otherwise never improve. Enhanced alertness, calmness, definite gait changes, 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 non-invasive procedure. Horses are often observed relaxing through a treatment by lowering their head, giving a deep sigh of relief, bending a rear leg, licking and chewing, and yawning.

Horses are started with an initial series of three treatments within a 72-hour period. This is to ensure a proper introduction to the therapy system, as well as create a strong base for long-term results. After the initial treatments are completed a follow-up program is suggested depending on the needs of the individual horse.