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Alternative therapies have been used in both human and animal medicine for thousands of years. Ancient healers believed they could draw diseases out of the body using magnets, so magnetic therapy was born.
Today, more and more horse owners turn to magnetic therapy to complement traditional veterinary treatments. Magnetic products contain static magnets sewn into the material, including blankets, boots, wraps, and bands.
Magnetic horse blankets typically have numerous magnets fixed over strategic points of the body. Manufacturers claim they stimulate blood flow, aid tissue repair, reduce muscle tension, and accelerate healing from musculoskeletal injuries.
With so much conflicting evidence out there, it’s hard to decide whether magnetic horse blankets are real therapy or just some glorified humbug.
In this article, we have examined the current evidence for and against magnetic therapy for horses:
What is Magnetic Therapy?
Magnetic therapy is a form of alternative medicine that involves the placement of weak static magnets over specific areas of the body. Believers claim the magnets provide various health benefits ranging from pain relief to disease prevention.
There are several explanations as to how the magnets achieve their desired effects. Some people claim they increase blood flow by interacting with iron molecules in the blood. Others believe the magnets boost cellular activity by altering their electromagnetic field.
Let’s take a look at what these claims are worth in the eyes of science.
Over the past few decades, scientists began investigating whether magnets have any physiological effect on their wearer. There have been numerous well-conducted studies on the subject, the majority of which came to the same conclusion: magnets make no difference to the health and healing of individuals.
Too Weak to Penetrate the Skin
Unfortunately, research has shown that therapeutic magnets are far too weak to even reach the tissues and organs they are supposed to stimulate. Not even the powerful magnets of MRI machines are able to exert a measurable effect on the human body.
For comparison, magnets used in equine therapy range from 600 to 2,000 gauss, while the magnets inside an MRI are 5,000 to 30,000 gauss strong.
No Interaction With Blood Iron
Studies comparing blankets with and without magnets found no difference in blood flow between individuals. This is likely because iron molecules are bound to hemoglobin in the blood and cannot interact with magnets.
No increase in blood flow also means there is no improvement in tissue healing and repair. Current research suggests that magnets have no more than a placebo effect on their wearer, which comes from the individual’s belief in the treatment.
Bioenergetic Fields Not Recognized by Science
Many believe that the bodies of all living beings are surrounded by so-called “bioenergetic fields” that can be altered by magnets. However, science has so far failed to detect the existence of such fields. Sadly, this invalidates any claims of health benefits from magnets altering these fields.
While science doesn’t currently side with magnetic therapy, there have been countless reports of magnets having noticeable effects on both humans and horses. After all, wearing magnets has never done anyone any harm, so why not try it and see for ourselves?
Alleged Benefits of Magnetic Horse Products
If you are a horse owner wanting to experiment with magnetic therapy, you are in luck because there are many products on the market incorporating magnets.
You can try anything from leg wraps and boots to blankets, magnetic strips, and even mats! Some products come with batteries and coils that make them awkward to use, but the majority have magnets that never run out.
Although no health effects have been found by science, many horse owners still swear by magnetic products. Alleged benefits include:
- Improved tissue healing (muscle & bone)
- Stronger tendons after recovery
- Arthritis pain relief
- Reduction in nerve firing (general pain relief)
- Postoperative pain relief
- Vasodilation (improved blood flow)
- Improved oxygen flow to tissues
- Reduction in swelling and inflammation
- Reduction in muscle tension and soreness
- Quicker recovery from muscle fatigue
- Increased muscle relaxation
- Reduced edema
- Disease prevention
- Improved immune response
How Do Magnetic Horse Blankets Work?
Magnetic horse blankets are becoming increasingly popular, especially in competitive circles. Many sports horse owners use them during their everyday routine or to speed up their horses’ recovery. But the million-dollar question is, how do they work?
Magnetic horse blankets supposedly work by the magnets inside the material exerting an effect on the horse’s body. Magnets are thought to stimulate blood flow which helps warm up muscles and promotes recovery.
While all this sounds really promising, science has once again let down those who want to believe in magnetic therapy for horses.
A 2014 study published in the Equine Veterinary Journal investigated whether static magnets affect blood flow, skin temperature, and pain threshold in the back muscles of 10 healthy horses. The scientists also looked for any changes in behavior resulting from wearing a magnetic horse blanket.
The study found no differences in physiology or behavior between active and placebo magnetic blankets. However, since the sample size was limited to 10 horses, further studies with a much larger sample size are needed for conclusive results.
Does My Horse Need a Magnetic Horse Blanket?
Assuming they work, magnetic horse blankets actually make for a worthwhile investment. Any horse can benefit from a magnetic horse blanket, from happy hackers to competition horses and senior equines.
The product’s application varies greatly depending on the type of horse, the level of work, and the owner’s belief. Some people put them on for a few hours a day for maintaining back health. Others use them before and after exercise to reduce warm-up and cool-down time.
There are also many who invest in a magnetic blanket to help their horses recover from a musculoskeletal injury. However, keep in mind that there is no alternative to veterinary care, and magnets should only be used in conjunction with proven medicine.
Magnetic Horse Blanket User Guide
To help you get the most out of this product, we have gathered some tips and info about how to correctly use a magnetic horse blanket.
First of all, as with any blanket, you must make sure you’re buying the right size for your horse. Luckily, most online shops will have a helpful measuring guide with instructions on how to measure your horse.
When fitting the blanket, ensure your horse can move around comfortably, but the straps are not hanging too low. If you’re going to turn your horse out, remember to choose a blanket appropriate for the weather conditions.
Most magnetic blankets are safe for your horse to wear on his own, but some will require supervision. Depending on the type of blanket, you might need to gradually increase the time your horse is wearing it for.
Never put a magnetic blanket on a horse during exercise, as there is a risk of overheating. On the other hand, magnets are perfectly safe to use during rest, sleep, traveling, or on the field.
5 Best Magnetic Horse Blankets
As mentioned above, there are many different magnetic horse blankets on the market, which can make it difficult to choose. In the list below, we have gathered some of the most popular and best value products available to horse owners:
Benefab Rejuvenate SmartScrim
The SmartScrim magnetic horse blanket is among the top choices of equestrians when it comes to magnetic products. It incorporates 90 magnets of 1100 gauss each placed over key acupuncture points.
The blanket also features a lightweight and breathable mesh made of fabric that emits far-infrared rays to help keep muscles warm and relaxed. It’s ideal for use prior to warm-up as well as after exercise to relax the back muscles.
The manufacturers claim SmartScrim promotes blood and oxygen flow to muscles, improves recovery time, and minimizes pain and stiffness. The blanket is available in black only.
Dura-Tech Magnetic Sheet
Similar to SmartScrim, the magnetic sheet from Dura-Tech uses 90 unipolar Neodymium Magnets that provide low to medium penetration. The sheet has been designed to reduce muscle soreness from exercise, promote healing and alleviate arthritis-related pain.
The product comes in a variety of sizes and offers a choice of white or blue fabric. The blanket’s material is lightweight mash that is ideal for use in stables and outdoors during the summer months. It fastens with a surcingle closure and hind leg straps.
Equilibrium Magnetic Horse Rug
If you’re looking for something a bit warmer, Equilibrium might be your perfect choice. This unique magnetic blanket allows you to move the magnets wherever you want, depending on your horse’s needs.
The blanket features six powerful VITAflex magnets with alternating poles, contrary to the standard magnets that only have one pole. This allows the magnetic fields to penetrate deeper into the horse’s body, enhancing their effect.
The Equilibrium Magnetic Rug also has a detachable neck for when the weather turns milder. Its strong yet breathable material ensures your horse is safe and comfortable at all times.
Equine Magnetix® Magnetic Horse Rug
This magnetic horse rug from Magnetix has over 80 Neodymium magnets of 2,000 gauss each, making it one of the most powerful products on the market. The blanket’s magnetic field covers all major muscle groups and stress points of the horse.
Use the blanket before and after exercise, in the stable, and while traveling for maximum efficiency. The magnets may help reduce stiffness and muscle tightness and provide a relaxing experience for your horse.
The product is available in blue only with light blue or navy spots.
Professional’s Choice Magnetic Blanket
The Professionals Choice Magnetic Blanket is super-lightweight and incorporates over 80 static magnets covering strategic points. It’s perfect for use all year round and easily fits under other blankets.
This stylish magnetic blanket fastens with a nylon surcingle and elastic leg straps.