Equine Spa versus Aqua Treadmills

Comparing Equine Spa Therapy and Aqua Trainers or Treadmills.

Aqua Treadmills (or Aqua Trainers) and Equine Spas are often confused. Those familiar with the Aqua Treadmill think the Treadmill has similar therapeutic qualities to an Equine Spa but with the additional advantage of exercise. This is a misunderstanding.

The Equine Spa is not used for exercise. It is specifically designed for the treatment of tendon & ligament injuries, wounds & cuts, sore shins, laminitis, jarring up, hock & joint problems and general stiffness and soreness. It can also be used as a preventative medium both pre- and post-competition. The water is very cold and heavily salinated (for more information please see How Equine Spa Hydrotherapy Works).

Due to the low temperature major muscle groups must never be immersed in the water. The Equine Spa can be used in the acute phase, i.e. the pre-exercise phase, of the injury as well as in the recovery phase when it can be combined with controlled walking e.g. in a horse walker.

In contrast the Aqua Treadmill is never used in the acute stage of the injury and a higher water temperature permits deeper water so the weight of the horse can be partially supported through flotation.

However, the Aqua Treadmill would not be used as the first exercise medium in the rehabilitation of a tendon injury for example. This is due to the impact of flotation on the gait of the horse. Also the tendons and ligaments work by being stretched, building up potential energy and then using this energy to propel the horse forward. When the weight of the horse is partially supported by water the tendons and ligaments work less and the muscles work more.

So, in summary, the Equine Spa therapy is much more of a therapeutic [i.e healing] process for tendon and ligament injuries, joint problems, relieving arthritis, promoting hoof growth, founder, sore shins, cuts, wounds and general swellings and stiffness. If there is inflammation, heat, pain, or swelling the Equine Spa is the ideal therapy.

The Aqua Treadmill is not a Spa with a Treadmill it is more of an exercise medium with some therapeutic elements especially in the recovery or post acute phase of the injury.

"I have seen first hand the beneficial effects on the healing process in both a suspensory branch lesion and on a superficial digital flexor tendon lesion.

The healing process proceeded more rapidly and with a better fibre pattern, as confirmed on ultrasound, than would have occurred otherwise.

I am excited about using this modality in the future for the management of soft tissue injuries."

Brendan W. Furlong, M.V.B, M.R.C.V.S. of New Jersey, USA

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