Microcurrent stimulation is a non-invasive, yet highly effective treatment modality that is known to provide significant benefits to a diverse range of equine injuries and conditions. In general, microcurrent is used as a versatile recovery aid to address both acute and chronic issues, whilst helping to reduce the associated symptoms.
Much like humans, the equine body possesses an endogenous bioelectrical system that produces natural signals in different areas such as; the brain, skin, muscles, heart, etc. The endogenous electrical signals were discovered many years ago, but now, with modern techniques, the existence of these electrical pathways has become well established. These natural electric signals play a pivotal role in many fundamental processes including; wound healing and repair functions. By applying carefully selected microcurrents that can mimic these signals, healing and recovery could be enhanced for wounds, various conditions, and most types of injuries.
Microcurrent stimulation is also thought to provide a local energy related benefit to the mitochondria within the cells, which are responsible for producing around 90% of cellular energy. Electrical currents appear to provide the cells an additional resource, which in animal tissues has been shown to increase the production of ATP. This process is heavily dependent on the availability of electrons within the mitochondria and the electrochemical gradients across the mitochondrial membrane - thus offering a potential mechanism of action for the application of microcurrents in relation to ATP production.
In its simplest form, microcurrent aims to facilitate naturally occurring bioelectrical processes that are essential to the wellbeing of cells, tissues and body systems. This means that regardless of the type injury or condition, virtually all horses could gain significant benefits and improvements from using this technology.
Understanding the different ways that microcurrent interacts with the body is important for establishing how this unique technology can be best utilised.
There are a number of known localised benefits that can be gained from applying microcurrent stimulation close to the affected area. These include:
● Reduction of inflammation and associated pain.
● Increased production of ATP
● Increased ionic flow and cell membrane transport.
● Restoration of bioelectrical potentials within damaged tissues.
● Accelerated tissue healing.
There are also mechanisms that explain how some benefits of microcurrent appear to be derived on a systemic level i.e the microcurrent is applied to a localised area, resulting in certain benefits which can only be induced by systemically derived responses.
Afterall, when an injury occurs a number of systemic responses are normally invoked as a direct response to a localised stimulus such as the wound itself e.g. immunity responses, growth factor and mediator release, the healing cascade etc. When injuries occur, there is evidence to suggest that not only does ATP provide the vital energy needed by the cells, it also acts as a signalling molecule when released from damaged cells. The role of ATP as a signalling molecule, and its ability to initiate DAMPS (Damage Associated Molecular Patterns) has been well established, and the generation of ATP to a localised area by microcurrent stimulation provides a potential mechanism of action as to how these natural responses could be promoted.
For an improved rate of healing and enhanced tissue repair a combination of local and systematically derived actions are required, and this could be heightened further, by the application of specifically formulated microcurrents.
In practice, this means that whilst the localised placement of the electrode pads is likely to improve the therapeutic outcome, some benefits can still be gained within the body regardless of the exact pad placement positions.
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