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Background: Measurable sources of muscle tension include viscoelastic tone, physiological contracture, voluntary contraction, and muscle spasm, and if left untreated, they can over a period of time result in clinical pain as a direct result of increased myofascia tension. Typically, physiotherapy is used to stretch affected muscles, thereby reducing motor neuron excitability, and as a consequence give the patient a sensation of correct posture and movement, thereby facilitating normal movement patterns. However, cases of documented therapy effectiveness are rare.
Methods: A total of 6 horses with myofascial tension/imbalance issues were selected for this trial. The horses were assessed manually by a qualified Veterinarian and note was taken of regions with high resting myofascial tension as well as movement restrictions. The horses were then measured using a multi-frequency BioImpedance Analysis unit (SFB7) by a technician blinded to the manual assessment. AtlasOrange1, a new form of mechanical physiotherapy massage was used to treat all 6 horses. Treatment was applied directly to two anatomically identifiable myo-fascial regions for a total period of two minutes. Subsequently, the effects of treatment were followed using multi-frequency bioimpedance at an interval of 1, 24 and 48 hours.
Results: Regions of increased myofascial tonus/stiffness were detected manually and noted for all 6 horses. The bioimpedance data was analyzed for centre frequency (fc) and extracellular resistance (Re) and delta values between the right- and left-hand sides of each horse were calculated. Treatment induced a 39% decrease for Re (NS) and a 58% decrease for fc (P=0.003) over 48 hours post-treatment. The mfBIA values were subsequently compared with the findings of the manual evaluation revealing a 94.4% overall agreement.Conclusion: We suggest that a high level of resting myofascial tension/stiffness is measureable using mf-BIA, and that it can be relieved with massage forms of treatment like AtlasOrange1.
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