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THE HEALING ARTS: Animal Magnetism.

By Allen M Schoen Dr of veterinary Medicine .M.S.

When one thinks of magnetic therapy for animals, one might envision those classic horse shoe magnets pulling a dog off the ground, but actually there has been quite a bit of scientific research documenting the benefits of magnetic therapy. Magnetic therapy has enjoyed a recent resurgence as a safe, simple and inexpensive method that produces positive results without harmful side effect. The most recent review of magnetic therapy for animals is by D Hudson in the textbook Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, Principles and practice. Magnets are thought to work by means of magnetic lines of force, measured and quantified in units called gauss.

There are two classifications of magnets, permanent (or static) magnets and pulsed electromagnetic field magnets (PEMF). Normally permanent magnets are taped over an effected area on an animal for a period of time. A  relatively new addition to permanent magnets are bipolar magnetic strips or pads that can be taped on to a patient. These have been made for both animals both large and small as strips that are wrapped around injured or Arthritic joints or tendons, as blankets for horses and dogs as well as magnetic bed pads for older dogs.

Therapeutic permanent magnets usually range from 200 to 3000 gauss. The earth's magnetic field is 0.5 gauss for comparison. The most recent addition to the field of magnet therapy are bipolar magnets. Bipolar magnets are magnets where the north and south face are laid down parallel to each other side by side. Both the north and south poles come into contact with the skin.

There are different theories as to what is the best approach to applying magnets. Some recommend placing one specific pole, north or south on the injury. Advocates of this approach recommend using the north pole for healing injuries and the south pole for stimulating growth in tissues. Most veterinary practitioners recommend using the north pole only on the skin. Though many people use Bipolar magnets with out any problem.

The big questions for our friendly pets are 1. What are they used for and 2. How do I use them? Magnet therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other modes of therapy, both traditional and natural.

Sometimes static magnets are used over acupuncture points, apparently helping to stimulate the points. The main indications for magnet therapy seem to be muscluloskeletal problems such as Arthritis in joints such as elbows, knees and as well as with back problems and hip dyplasia. I have a few clients who have used magnetic blankets for their old Arthritis dogs and claim that it has made a big difference in their pain relief and energy levels and their ease of getting up and down and walking better. Many of my horse patients have definitely improved with magnets on their backs and around tendons. They can be used in horses for tendon and ligament injuries.

The challenge with animals is how to keep the magnets on when they are always moving around. Manufacturers have developed  magnetic beds that the dog or cat can lie on. Magnetic rugs have been developed to wrap around horses these seem to work quite well. They have also made magnetic strips that you wrap around a particular joint. This works well in horses. For our smaller animal companions the magnetic beds or blankets are probably the best.

There you have the positive and negative of animal magnetism. Until next time let the electromagnetic force be with you.


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