For those of you that follow my social media accounts, you've likely seen that I've been incorporating the Thermotex Equine Far Infrared Heating 12-Pad Blanket in my program. I've had a lot of questions fielded my way about how I utilize the blanket and so today I thought I'd share a blog post with my most frequently asked questions!
What is far infrared?
So how can "heat" help your horse? Far infrared rays are waves of energy that are absorbed through the skin and gently elevate the body's surface temperature which activates the body systems and functions. Far infrared promotes increased blood flow through vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels) which assists in the reduction of inflammation, delivers a pain-reliving effect and provides nutrients, oxygen and and proteins to the area so the body can heal faster. Thermotex is also medical grade - so you can have the peace of mind that the technology that is approved for humans by Health Canada and the FDA are the same technology that goes into the equine line.
Why use Thermotex products? What are the benefits?
Through research, Thermotex products are shown to provide relief from back ache, muscle and joint pain, myositis, tying up, provide early treatment of lung bleeding and provide relief from conditions/diseases such as Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy, Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) and Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). Thermotex products also create ease of breath, reduction in colic symptoms, enhance the respiratory system, increase hemoglobin, act as a diuretic which helps bleeders, reduces lactic acid levels to prevent tying up during competition, increase kidney function and provide shiny hair due to an increase in natural oils.
Although all the above are wonderful, I personally love and want to highlight the recovery that Thermotex provides the performance horse. When horses have build up of lactic acid or increase of inflammation, they are often significantly body sore and that can turn into pain and serious soreness quickly. Thermotex provides pain relief, reduction of lactic acid and decrease of inflammation, these are all things we need to stay on top of with performance horses to ensure that they can continue to feel their best in and out of the arena.
When can I use Thermotex products?
I use my Thermotex in a few different ways depending on where I am and of course each horse is an individual, so whatever works best for them. The Thermotex does, obviously, make them warm and can cause them to sweat. I don't want to dehydrate a picky drinker, or overheat a horse in a muggy barn, so I'm cognizant of temperature when utilizing the products. At a show I'll utilize it a few different ways. If it's a rest day, or the day before we show, I'll throw it on anytime, for the recommended minimum of 30-45 minutes. If the horse is showing that day it's a timing thing. If the horse shows late in the afternoon or evening, I tend to use it more in the morning to warm their muscles up and decrease inflammation from the prior evening being stalled. Thermotex recommends using it four hours before event. If the horse shows super early in the morning, I'll use it more in the afternoon/early evening hours after they show.
That's honestly just due to scheduling and therapeutic preference throughout the evenings. I like to give horses a bath after they show, and then once dry ice their legs and any other areas they may require. Dependent on horse, I also like the use mud/poultice under wraps throughout the night. So by the time that is all said and done per horse, plus the fact we have other horses showing, it can be quite the process.
Secondly, the blanket can cause them to sweat, and I don't want them to be chilly or wet under their blankets. I tend to use Back On Track blankets at night with my show horses, which provide circulatory benefits and are known to "warm up" the body as well. So I don't want to over-do it and have them too hot throughout the night. The sweat patterns are interesting, you'll see them especially in sore areas and if you use the Thermotex regularly throughout the week the sweat areas will reduce in size as soreness is relieved. The above picture is the first time I ever used the Thermotex blanket on Chivas, and you can tell he was body sore. After that, sweat patterns dramatically decreased in size. At home, I generally use the Thermotex after I ride, once the horse is fully cooled off (make sure to get your minimum 15-20 minutes in people!) I've honestly been using the Thermotex Platinum Far Infrared Heating Pad the same way for myself. I lay on it, focusing on hips, back and shoulders, and have noticed a huge difference in my own recovery.
How do I use the Thermotex Blanket?
It's slightly bulky, but the carrying bag is awesome to tote around. The blanket has clips on the chest, belly, around the back legs and tail to make it very secure. I do tie my horse while using the blanket. As you can see in the above photo, there's a hanging chord that you will need an extension chord for, make sure the extension chord is off the ground, and away from the horse so they can't chew, step or harm the chord. Remember that horses are extremely susceptible to electric shock. I keep an eye on my horse at all times when the blanket is on. The blanket comes with a switch that says off, low and high. Thermotex recommends starting your horse on high for 10 minutes, and then switching to low for another 20-35 minutes for a total of 30-45 minutes per session. You can use the blanket longer if desired.
Although I've been using the Thermotex 12-Pad Blanket System, Thermotex also has a Far Infrared Hood, Leggings, Heating Neck Wrap and even TMJ Hood. Basically if you want to deck your horse out in a full on bumble-bee far infrared system, you sure can! Plus, if you want to try out some of the products at a lower price point, this is a great way to start. Next on my list is the neck wrap and leggings... the recovery benefits for the full body would be AMAZING.
Discount Codes & More Info..
I was honoured to have Wendy Docherty, Executive Vice President of Thermotex on the Cutting Edge Podcast. Episode 58 is an even more in-depth discussion of Thermotex and you can listen to it HERE or by searching for The Cutting Edge Podcast on any major podcast app of your choice!
You can learn more about Thermotex at www.Thermotex.com. Plus don't forget to use the promo codes: westerntwist10 for 10% off all equine products and westerntwist30 for $30 off the personal Platinum +free shipping at checkout!