Dino Gets MagnaWaved

"Oh yeah. That's the stuff." - Dino
The hot new alternative therapy these days is MagnaWave, the trade name for PEMF - Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields. It uses big loops to send electromagnetic pulses through the body that allegedly work wonders. According to its devotees, MagnaWave is supposed to do all sorts of magical things for bodies, including but not limited to healing lameness, improving the immune system, increasing uptake of medication, relaxing muscles, and promoting healing and increased circulation. Interestingly, it's also FDA approved for treating depression in humans. From the MagnaWave website, during a session: 

"The blood oxygen is increased, lymphatic system is activated and acupuncture points are stimulated. This process reduces pain and inflammation and promotes healing. The Oxygenation of the blood helps relieve inflammation, all pain is caused by inflammation, if we can relieve the pain and swelling, the body can begin to heal naturally."

The claims are extravagant and ring of something that's too good to be true, but when a barn buddy told me her friend and MagnaWave practitioner was offering $60 sessions at our barn, I signed Dino up. 

It certainly couldn't hurt, it might make him feel good, and even if it did diddly-squat, I wouldn't be out too much cash. It seemed like a win-win situation. 

The practitioner asked a few basic questions about Dino before she started - any trouble spots in his body, what I did with him, his age, what I hoped to get out of the session, etc. I pointed out the areas that always showed tightness and muscle knots during bodywork: Dino's poll, flanks, and the base of his neck, which gave us a few areas to focus on during the session. MagnaWave will also cause some trouble areas to "light up" with muscle fasciculations, which can be a way to pinpoint areas that may need further diagnostic work by a vet. I thought that was a pretty interesting way to use the system. 

Dino, in short, LOVED the MagnaWave. Within a minute or two of the machine turning on his eyes and ears went to half mast and he started licking and chewing. His entire body relaxed, and he went into Zen Pony Mode. There was some activity in the fascia over his back when we worked on that area, but nothing so much as to be concerning, and the practitioner said that was typical of most horses even if they didn't present with any back pain or soreness. After a 40 minute full-body session focusing on the points that often held tension and muscle knots, Dino was basically putty. He was so, so relaxed. 

By the time our session was done it had cooled off enough that riding became a possibility again, and I tacked up to take my very relaxed pony for a spin. One of the neat things about MagnaWave is that there is no recovery time associated with the therapy. A horse or human athlete can go straight from a therapy session to a workout. 

So. Relaxed.
When I got on, Dino felt very mobile and loose in his back, which was nice to feel. He was, however, TOO RELAXED. He did not want to do the thing, he did not want to work, he wanted to bask in the zen glow of his MagnaWave sesh. So I made him walk, trot, and canter around until he stretched at all three gaits and then we were done. If I do this for him again, I'll make sure not to ride him afterwards! 

The day after his session I did do a full-intensity dressage ride, and Dino came out swinging. From the moment I got on he felt very loose and through over his back, and gave me some really nice work despite it being super, super hot and humid. The MagnaWave didn't magically transform him into a 10 year old GP pony, but it did seem to help him feel loose, strong, and comfortable in his body. 

Does MagnaWave do everything it claims to? Who knows. And on a pony with no real soundness issues other than typical old-man occasional creakiness, (*KNOCK ON WOOD*) I really didn't expect it to have any kind of dramatic effect. But it absolutely made Dino feel good during the session, and seemed to improve his overall relaxation, flexibility, and ability to use his body during work. At the price I paid, it's definitely worth it to do this for him once in a while, even just to make him feel good during the session as a "thank you" for everything he does for me. 


  1. Love your review and approach to the magna wave. I can't imagine that it's really as magical as they claim. But hey, if it makes your pony feel that happy and zen, why not if you can swing it?

  2. glad you got Dino all fixed up. I would like to try Magna Wave on me. My damn aches and pains are killing me.

  3. I recently did a literature review of PEMF after watching & talking to a practitioner, being my usual skeptical self. And you're right, it's not magic & it is not going to fix all the thingz that the manufacturers claim. It is, essentially & functionally, a massage or a larger scale TENS unit. It is fatiguing soft tissues to relax them, which can certainly be helpful for things like muscle tension & associated soreness & it is able to reach deeper into large muscles more quickly than someone's hands can. I can also see an application that the practioner mentioned, which is breaking up intestinal impactions. It's very expensive around here though -- I can do a lot of free massaging myself for $100!

    However, it's not going to regrow nerves, provide magic healing powers to injuries (& after seeing it in action, I would not put it on a soft tissue injury), fix hoof abscesses, & other such things. Research studies have found no significant beneficial effects on healing that would be applicable to horses.

    If I found a sale, like you did, I would consider it for a horse with back/HQ tightness. I just wish these companies would quit with the ridiculous marketing -- instead of making obvious money grabs & playing on consumer emotion & false hopes, try some more forthright honesty & focus on what does actually work, which is how you build long term respect (I know, I know, it's all about making the money as fast as possible, sigh).

  4. I have been lucky enough to have a MagnaWave therapist right in the neighborhood and she gives us treatment at half price ($20). I get it twice a week to help my UC (reduces ulceration), Mom for her knees. Roscoe got it to help his chin injury and a body treatment that made him awesome the next day. Right now she is treating an injury on DaVinci's leg twice a week and we saw an immediate reduction in swelling and he is more comfortable. To be truly effective for injuries you have to treat often which can be tough money wise. But for general body maintenance we get them done every month or two. My dogs absolutely love when she comes. One will sit on my lap and get treatment at the same time as me. The other sat in a loop for his own treatment for 20minutes. Our therapist is great about giving the first session free so that people can experience it and make a decision. Just like anything, not everyone will benefit. She does not promise anything and lets the treatment speak for itself. I have known about PEMF for a few years, but only tried it at a clinic early this year. They did warn that some horses are energized after and some don't want to work. Glad Dino enjoyed his session.


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