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On Sunday I had a rep from Equissage come out to our yard to talk to me about Equissage and gave me a little demo of their kit on Scottie. It was a really interesting morning and I feel like I learnt a reasonable amount, although I can’t imagine I’ll be paying out for the kit unless I win the lottery and fancy spoiling myself!
I think that massage/vibration therapy is quite a lot to go into, so instead of writing an essay about the pros and cons of massage therapy, if it works or not and then apply it to Equissage, I thought I would do my own FAQ post about Equissage to hopefully answer your main questions!
What is it?
Equissage is a brand of massage/vibration therapy products, their big blue massage pad being the most recognisable of their products. However the same technology is being used on humans by the NHS and has 57 scientific papers backing up their claims.
What does it do?
The Equissage products basically improve the circulation to specific areas of the horse or the horse as a whole (depending how it is used) to improve the horses wellbeing and performance. It can be used as part of a treatment to improve stiffness or weakness. Or it can be used as part of a training scheme to improve performance. There has been research to show that it can improve strength and stride length in horses.
What did they do?
When they first arrived they asked me a lot of questions about Scottie, what we were doing, what we wanted to do etc. He then asked how much I knew about Equissage, with me admitting to not a huge amount! He gave me a brief history of the company, how long the technology has been around for, I want to say it was 30+ years in people and 20 years in horses. He talked about how it had been scientifically proven and was used by the NHS.
While he was talking he got the hand held machine out and told me to make a tight fist. He placed a marble in the crease between my finger and thumb and he pressed the handheld machine against the bottom of my hand. The marble started to rotate and he explained that this was important as it shows it was just the right amount of vibration. Too much or too aggressive would make the marble bounce and too weak wouldn’t move the marble at all.
After about a minute or so he took the marble and machine away and told me to move both hands. I repeatedly clenched and unclenched both hands and I could feel a massive difference. The hand which had been in my pocket felt really stiff in comparison to the hand which had been on the machine.
We then went into Scottie’s stable where he had a quick feel all over looking for soreness, tension and knots. While he was doing this he asked me about any problems I knew about, if he had a weaker side etc. He also got me to feel any knots he found.
After this he got the back pad out, put it on Scottie and clipped it all into place before turning it on. He said that you can’t over use the pad which turns off automatically after 20 mins, which research has suggested to be the best length of time to use the pad for.
He talked through the different settings and intensities on the pad. The intensity is on a scale of 1-10 and you shouldn’t aim to use a specific intensity, but you should adjust it until you find what one works for your horse. He said that lower intensities can be used to calm down an exciting horse and the higher intensity can gee up a lazy horse. There are 3 settings on the pad, the standard setting, a calming setting which he suggested for using after exercise and a strapping setting, used for improving muscle tone. The difference between the settings is the rhythm and rotation of the vibrations.
He then got the hand held machine out and explained that you don’t have to use the hand held but it works well for pinpointing areas. He says it’s always best to start with it resting just behind the pad because the horse is already used to the vibrations there. He then started to work it over Scottie’s back and neck, explaining how to use it as he went. At one point he got me to stand on the other side of Scottie and put my hand on his hip bone while he put the machine on the other hip bone so I could feel how well the vibration travelled along and through the bone. He then made the point that the machine can reach more places than chiros or physios because of how well the vibrations travel.
While he was doing it he talked about how you need to apply pressure while you do it. If the horse is reacting to it, you are either applying too much pressure of the intensity is too high. He also said that if the horse wont let you do it on an area you want to treat, just try and get as close as you can to it as the vibrations will travel to that point. He also said that the only time you shouldn’t use it is on or close to an open would as improving circulation to a wound will make it take longer to close up. (common sense really!) But once it has scabbed over it’s fine to use.
Once he had finished doing one side of Scottie, it was up to me to do the other side under his supervision. It was a good experience although I he didn’t correct me if I was doing things differently to him and I don’t know if that is significant or not! I don’t feel like I have enough experience to do it on my own if I bought all the gear even though research suggests you can’t do any damage using the equipment.
Finally he showed me how to do the legs. You can either use a leg boot which wraps around the cannon bone much like a brushing boot. You then put the hand held in a pocket on the outside of the boot. You can also do the legs by hand, which he showed me as well. We then had a chat about everything he had done and asked any questions I had and that was the end of the session.
Was the visit free?
How much is the kit?
Everything they used on Scottie plus a spare battery etc came to about £2800. So that’s quite a bit of money! However, you don’t have to buy all the kit together and can just get the pad or the hand held. They also offer payment schemes which I think worked out at about £20 a week.
Is it worth it?
Now this really depends on you. For me personally, no it wouldn’t be worth the price. I don’t have that money and the benefits for me don’t make it a good enough investment to be broke for the next year!
But, there are lots of people this would be a good investment for. If you are competing regularly at a high level, this could be perfect for keeping your horses in tip top condition. Or if you horse is prone to stiffness/weakness in an area where you are regularly having to pay to have treated, it could work out more cost effective to buy the Equissage.
Should I get a free consultation?
Yes, I would recommend you do. You can see for yourself if this technology can do anything beneficial for you and your horse and you can ask the experts any questions you have. Plus it’s free! So apart from 40ish mins out of your day, what do you have to lose?
How can I get a consultation/find out more information?
I found my nearest rep via local Facebook groups, but there is a form on their website where you can request a consultation and there is plenty of information on there too! You can find their website here.