The above is a photo of an electrical Faradic medical instrument prevalent at the beginning of the 20th century. Faradic current was considered beneficial in all functional paralyses (where there is no destructive lesion in the nerve tissues), neuralgias, headaches, constipation, rheumatism, anaesthesia (loss of sensation), etc. It has been written that most every early 20th century physician had one in his office. Much medical skullduggery occurred along side the physicians which eventually tainted the entire field! Traveling healers and hucksters sold electric hair brushes, corsets, rollers, salves, etc during this time quickly placing a poor reputation on such devices. Now they are commonly known as "quack devices", even the ones that seemed to help in some cases.
It is simple everyday logic in assuming since electricity and magnetism is one of the fundamental forces of the quantum world of which we inhabit that both should be of significance in our human and veterinary physiology. Electricity and magnetism in medicine have had a long infamous history together. Too bad, but probably not to be totally unexpected! Since the power of electricity was first discovered, amazing medicinal attributes have been applied to its use for the human condition. This may go back into prehistoric times when magnetic lodestones were carried as amulets and electric eels were used to generate currents to treat human afflictions. Static electricity which was a bit less complicated to produce and apply was also employed in more modern times in various medical treatments, but it was in the 1600s that Dr. William Gilbert, physician to Queen Elizabeth , published in England a small treatise on the subject of magnets and was first to coin the word, "electricity". This ushered in the electro-medicall field. At the turn of the 20th century, elecro-medicine blossomed.
I am not going to delve any further into the history of electro-mediicne, but will cut to the chase. In the last few years, some exciting new electrical protocols have been developed in the human sector which can be applied directly to the equine. I will cover a few on this page. None of these devices are torture devices, nor are they unpleasant to use. They seem to offer interesting prospects for improved health. Most of these electrical devices can be put together from spare parts. You don't have to go out and buy an expensive unit, though if you prefer, they often have more bells and whistles than the ones you can easily make at home. I would advise you to first make your own and if you get results, you can always upgrade.
The first comes from a physicist called Dr. Robert Beck who is not to be confused with another electrical whiz, Dr. Robert Becker, who is an MD. The strange part of this connection, both will be vital in what I want to suggest on how to heal arthritic joints though neither are personally connected . Dr. Beck developed a protocol called blood electrification designed to fight infections while Dr. Becker discovered that silver ions driven by a low voltage charge can transform fibroblasts into stem cells. The blood electrifier can offer the racehorse two therapeutic possibilities. One, to fight stubborn infections by treating the blood and the second used in regenerating damaged joint tissue.
In 1990, an important discovery was made at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. It was found that when a low voltage DC current (50-100 micro ampere current) was applied to HIV infected blood by two platinum electrodes, the virus would be deactivated. The current caused the virus to be unable to reproduce. Dr. Beck came along and took this discovery and developed a much simpler device that could be applied to the outside of the body to electrify blood as it flowed in a vein close to the skin. Having the electrodes on the skin posed some problems in getting the necessary voltage actually into the blood stream, but Dr. Beck found a simple alternative. The 50-100 micro ampere current could be re-created within the artery by electromagnetic induction allowing the entire therapy to be applied externally. Beck designed a circuit that varied the voltage with an alternating current (AC) at a very low frequency that produced a 3.92HZ phasic square wave with alternating polarity. This device has become known as a "blood electrifier". The blood electrifier requires two electrodes to be placed on the skin, above an artery. In the human, the wrist artery is most often used, in the horse, there are a number of arteries that can also be utilized which I will discuss later. The electrodes are placed in line, directly over the artery at the point of the strongest pulse.
This blood electrifier should prove useful as a therapeutic machine for the racehorse on several counts. One, it could be used like it is in humans to electrify the blood to combat all sorts of infections. Two, it could be used directly on a joint that has been injected with Colloidal silver to help kill an infection and generate stem cells for regeneration of a damaged joint. Three, it can be used to actually make colloidal silver. It may be easier for most people to just buy a ready made unit, though it can be built fairly cheaply from radio shack parts, if you know electronics or have someone who does.
The Beck Blood Electrifier
LM358 CMOS Operational Amplifier (OP-AMP) chip (generic) U1
2.4 or 2.2 meg ohm ¼ watt 5% resistor R1
150 k ohm ¼ watt 5% resistor R2
100 k ohm ¼ watt 5% resistor R3, R4
100 k ohm linear taper pot, ½ watt Caltronics P-68 R5
150 ohm ¼ watt 5% resistor R6
820 ohm ¼ watt 5% resistor R7
0.1 uF 50 V or higher ceramic capacitor C1
22 uF 35 V or higher electrolytic capacitor C2
18 Volt Zener diodes (NTE5027A), ½ Watt D1, D2
Bulb: 6-12V @ 55mA or, 6.3V @ 0.075 A, Type ML612 or 7377 B1
Bicolor LED Red/Green, RS# 276-012 LED 1
Jack for electrode leads (3.5mm or 1/8" mono-phone jack), Radio Shack # 274-251 J1
Jack for silver wire leads (2.5mm or 3/32" mono-phone jack), Radio Shack # 274-292 J2
3 Alkaline 9 V batteries, type 1604
3 x 9 V battery snaps (clip-on connectors), Radio Shack # 270-325
Miscellaneous. wire, solder, etc.
Box, if used
Bread-board, if used
8-Pin I.C. Socket, if used
Lead wire with 3.5 mm plug, 6 ft., Mouser or Calrad Electronics
Electrodes, stretch elastic, Velcro, cotton flannel, alligator clips, etc.
Special Notes: Ensure the IC chip U1 (LM358) is wired correctly. The location of Pin #1 is shown here:
Example of a simple blood electrifier and electrodes.
FREQUENCY OF USE:
Apply blood electrifier for about two hours daily for at least l month. Use judgment here. The limiting factor is detoxification. Carefully monitor subject's reactions (discomfort, catarrh, skin eruptions, weeping exudites, rashes, boils, carbuncles, etc.) With very heavy infections, go slower so as not to overload body's toxic disposal capability. There may be a danger of stopping too soon if only the weaker pathogens have been dealt with. It is suggested that building up to using the blood electrification device for 6 days continuously to neutralize the longest lived pathogens. Remember to remoisten electrodes regularly. If this detoxing becomes oppressive, treat every second day. Treatments are shown to safely neutralize viruses, fungi, bacteria, parasites and microbes in blood.
Now rotate amplitude control to minimum (counter-clockwise) and plug in electrode cable. If you are using it on yourself, advance dial slowly until feeling a "thumping" and tingling. Tum as high as tolerable but don't advance amplitude to where it is uncomfortable. Adjust voltage periodically when acclimating to comfort level after minutes. It is normal to feel different sensations with time. You may notice little or no sensation at full amplitude immediately, but feeling will begin building up to maximum after several minutes at which time amplitude must be decreased. Typical adapted electrode-to-electrode tissue impedance is on the order of 20000. Typical comfortable input (to skin) is -3mA, and maximum tolerable input (full amplitude) is -7mA. However, this "reserve" margin although harmless is unnecessary and can be uncomfortable. Current flowing through blood is much lower than this external input because of series resistances through skin, tissue and blood vessel walls, but 50 to lOO uA through blood is essential.
If you are applying it to your horse, then you will have to do more guess work. You can see how the horse reacts if it is comfortable or not. You dont want it adjusted so high that you see any muscle twitching or reaction from the horse. It is nice to have a meter on a device for one to get an idea how much current is being generated. Most models don't have that meter, but the one I purchased below does.
Excellent, convenient and vastly superior electrodes, reusable indefinitely, can be user made by butt-soldering connecting wires to ends of 1-1/8" long by 3/32" dia. blanks cut from type 316 stainless steel rods available from welding supply stores (Cameron Welding Supply, 11061 Dale Ave., Stanton, CA 90680.) Use "Stay Clean" flux before soldering (zinc chloride/hydrochloric acid.) Shrink-insulate TWO tight telescoping layers of 3/8" long shrink tubing over soldered joints to prevent flexing/breaking and lead/copper ions from migrating.
PREPARATION FOR USE:
Wrap three or four turns of 100% cotton flannel around rods. Spiral-wrap with strong thread starting from wire side to end. Tightly pinch cloth over rod's end so as to leave no metal exposed by wrapping 6 or 7 turns of thread TIGHTLY just off end of rod, then spiral wrap back to start and tie with four knots then cut off excess cloth at end close to pinch-wraps. Treat end and knots with Fray Check® (fabric & sewing supply stores) to prevent raveling. Saturate before each use in a solution of sea salt (not table salt). Store for reuse. Tape soaking wet electrodes tightly over arterial pulse sites with paper masking, Transpore™ or Micropore® tape or make 1" wide stretch elastic bands with tabs of Velcro® at ends to fasten. Electrodes should closely conform precisely along blood vessels, not skewing ever so slightly over to adjacent flesh. This insures better electrical conductivity paths to circulating blood and insures very low skin impedance. (~2000!:2) Rinse and blot-dry electrodes and skin after each use. NEVER allow bare metal to touch skin as this will cause bums manifested as small red craters that heal slowly. The objective is to get maximum current into blood vessels, not leak it over to adjacent tissue. Therefore never use any electrode with cotton cover wider than about 1/8 inch.
When this is used on humans, the wrist is the site for placement for the electrodes as pictured below (ulna and radial arteries). In the horse, we have different sites. Locate blood vessel paths in your horse, and find a suitable one with a good pulse. There are several anatomical regions on the horse where the vessels are close to the surface. Several sites are used to feel the pulse in the horse and should be equally receptive to applying electrodes. Position: (1) is the lower digital artery on both sides, below the ankle, (2) the radial artery behind the knee, (3) is the Maxillary artery along the lower edge of the jaw bone, (4) the carotid artery in the jugular furrow of the neck, (5) the middle coccygeal artery that runs next to the bottom surface of the tail.
Of these 5 possible arteries, the lower digital artery that runs on each side of the pastern is probably the best choice and most equivocal to the human wrist. It will probably be easiest to detect a pulse in this area and to attach electrodes over the detected arteries using tape, elastic bandage, etc. The first thing is to locate the pulse in that region so you will know where to place the electrodes. You can do one of two things, attach the wet electrodes over the artery on same side or place a wet electrode on each side of the pastern over the lateral and medial digital arteries.
On original blood electrifier design, push momentary SW 2 "test" switch and see that the red and green light emitting diodes flash alternately. This verifies that polarity is reversing ~4 times per second (frequency in NOT critical) and that batteries are still good. When don't light, replace all three 9V alkaline batteries. When the white incandescent bulb dims or appears yellowish, or relay isn't clicking, replace all four AA cells. Zener diodes will extinguish LED's when the three 9V battery's initial 27V drops below -20V after ex:\ended use. Never use any electrode larger than 1-1/8" long by 1/8" wide to avoid dissipating current through surrounding tissue. Confine exactly over blood vessels. Apply drops of salt water to each electrode's cotton cover as needed to keep cotton covers .
Interferential Current Therapy (IFC) & Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
Now if we want to get a bit more sophisticated, there is what physical therapists call inteferential current therapy (IFC) and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) which both can prove very beneficial for rehabbing the racehorse. One will need to purchase an IFC and EMS unit or better yet, a unit that combines the two. They don't always come cheap though there are many older analog type units being taken out of circulation for fancy digital upgrades in hospitals, clinics and offices that can often be had for pennies on the dollar. I bought a very useful unit off of ebay for under $100 and it works wonderfully! It not only does IFC but has a Russian electric muscle stimulation mode which is also very useful in healing muscle and tendon damage.
IFC is useful in all types of pain, upper back pain, arthritic joints, muscle / tendon strains and sprains, degenerative joint disease, and in the promotion of healing in general. This is done by stimulating blood & lymph circulation, increase cell membrane permeability, reduce nerve pain, and relax muscle spasms. IFC will be my preferred therapeutic modality for regenerating arthritic knees and hocks in the protocol which I will present later on. IFC has some aspects that are said to be advantageous for healing. (1) It is less affected by the skin which normally limits electrical stimulation. (2) It is able to generate a low frequency current deep inside of tissue.
The main principle behind IFC is the simultaneous use of 4 electrodes (quadpolar) which will cause an interference of the higher, more comfortable, frequencies. These higher skin level frequencies will penetrate the skin easily resulting in low frequency, biological simulation deeper into damaged tissue. In short, you get the comfort and penetrating efficiency of high frequencies at skin level which is turned into a more therapeutic but less comfortable low frequency deeper in the tissue.
Interferential Therapy will:
1) Manage both acute and chronic pain.
2) Stimulate muscle causing spasm relaxation, retard atrophy, etc
3) Stimulate blood / lymph flow
4) Edema reduction (15 Hz or a 10-25 Hz sweep setting)
5) Stimulate healing and repair by affecting cell metabolism and proliferation.
6) And finally, this is my own theory as you will not find this in any of the traditional literature on IFC. I think it is quite possible that IFC can deactivate, if not actually kill many pathogens like some of the previous mentioned electrical microbe killers on this page! More work needs to be done, but this may be an interesting benefit that goes unreported and appreciated.
There is a Bipolar mode for IFC that only uses two electrodes. The difference is that the interferential affect is generated in the machine and not in the patient's body. Some say this method is just as good as bipolar, but I find this suggestion suspect. The quadpolar should be able to penetrate tissues deeper. However, most machines will have capabilities to do both IFC modes and you can experiment on what you think best. Bipolar mode may be preferred if you are treating more superficial injures.
1) Acute injuries. . . . . . . . 5-10 minutes
2) Chronic injuries . . . . . . 20-30 minutes
Suggested Beneficial Frequencies:
1) Sympathetic nerve . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-5 Hz
2) Parasympathetic nerve . . . . . . . . . 10-150 Hz
3) Motor nerve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-50 Hz
4) Smooth Muscle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-10 Hz
5) Sensory nerve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90-100 Hz
6) Nociceptive fibers . . . . . . . . . . . . 90-150 Hz
7) Analgesia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70-120 Hz
8) Edema reduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35-50 Hz
9) Microbe deactivation . . . . . . . . . . . 4-100 Hz
Suggested Electrode Placement when Treating a Knee problem:
A SImple Cheaper Alternative
One can put together a rather effective alternative to the above more sophisticated design by simply going to a store and buying a common 6 volt lantern battery and if you want a meter on it, buy a cheap multi-meter. The multimeter will act as an on/off switch and allow you to monitor current. Wire these together and you can get by without going to all the trouble of above! But there are some limitations. For instance, there is no switch to reverse the polarity on this simple confifguation. Thus, you will need to switch the electrodes every 5-10 minutes which can be a hassle.
For perhaps under US$10, one can put together a make-shift device that is worth experimenting with until you decide a more expensive unit is worth it. Parts you need:
1) 6 volt lantern type battery
2) a long length of electrical wiring, similar to a common extension cord
3) electrodes (either TENS ones easily purchased or make your own from a simple sponge)
4) multimeter is optional, but it is often nice to see what type of current is being utilized. If used, this meter should be set to "DCA" or "DCmA" setting the dial on the 2000 micro amp setting.
In its simplest form, bare a small portion of the copper wiring and attach each wire securely to each battery terminal on top. If you want to add a cheap multimeter to the circuit, wire the meter into the wire configuration of one side of the battery only. Next, attach each electrode to each wire and apply to the patient after wetting with salt water.
Electrodes may be bought at a supply house and patched into the above simple configuration or you can quickly make some out of sponges and bare copier wire. If you plan to use this unit for actual blood electrification for an infection, you will want to do what was suggested above, made by butt-soldering connecting wires to ends of 1-1/8" long by 3/32" dia. blanks cut from type 316 stainless steel rods .
For using this unit as a regenerative device for injured joints, you can do several things. To make a simple sponge electrode for each wire, simply buy a appropriate sized sponge, slit a deep opening to center of sponge, bare and bend a copper wire from each wire, insert the bent wire deep into the sponge slit. You may then glue the peripheral opening slit shut to keep the wire from pulling out. When you use the DIY sponge electrode, saturate it fully with salt water and place over the horse's region you want to electrify and bandage over to hold in place.
Commercially purchaes TENS electrodes
Electrodes used for blood electrification of arteries.
Here is a YouTube video that shows a IFC machine being used on a human patient and will give you an idea how to place the electrodes:
High Voltage Pulsed Current (HVPC)
This modality is commonly used in physical therapy clinics and should also be of value in equine racehorse rehabilitation. This is High Voltage Pulsed Current or abbreviated HVPC. It would be one of my primary choices in regenerating a bad knee or hock joint in your racehorse. Many multi-functional electro-therapy units have this option. It is sometimes called by various names such as Monophasic symmetric square-wave, etc. but the mechanism and physics are all similar. Waveforms can consist of twin peaks or monophasic (+ or -) . One channel is used with two electrodes (one positive and the other negative). Depending on what you want to accomplish, the "active" electrode (over injury site) will be either positive or negatively charged---though in most cases the positive charge will be used. Generally it is believed in the literature that the positive charged increases macrophages and promotes epithelial growth. A negative charged electrode is believed Increases vascularity, stimulates fibroblastic growth (what we want in regenerating joint cartilage, though if using Colloidal silver paint, positive is needed to drive the silver ions into the joint), collagen production, epidermal cell migration, and last but not least, inhibits and perhaps kills bacterial growth. HVPC is considered the gold standard for wound healing and in that sense may be the preferred modality for bad knees and hocks.
Indications for HVPC:
1. Wound management
2. Pain management
3. Soft tissue edema
4. Muscle weakness
5. Muscle spasm
6. Microbial infections
Suggested Electrode Placement when treating a knee joint problem: