AAH Lights and How They Keep Tao Dancing
Two months ago, I started using AAH Lights to help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with Tao's arthritis. He has arthritic changes in both stifles and was diagnosed over three years ago, aged only eight. I was offered injections into his joints to relieve his symptoms, but wanted to see whether it could be managed with a change in supplements, exercise and regular physio appointments first because I knew that once he started having injections, the clock would start ticking. For three years, these changes to his care kept Tao comfortable and at the beginning of this year, he was the strongest he had ever been. My goal was for us to learn the piaffe over the summer, but in late Spring he started to show signs of pain. He was pinning his ears and refusing to go on the right rein or to trot forwards. For the first time, physio made no difference and Tao continued to say 'no' to everything.
I spent hours researching the types of joint injections on the internet and realised that it would be quite risky for Tao to have the steroid injections just as we were heading into summer, when he is always on the rotund side and as exercise was really limited, this year was even more of a risk. My vet did a test to see whether Tao had EMS or Cushings, two conditions that would increase the risk of laminitis with the injections. They came back clear, so I had the green light for Tao to have the injections, but something still held me back. I searched for alternative therapies that might help and that would buy us more time. I read about the amazing success of Red Light Therapy with conditions like arthritis and contacted Sharon Katze of AAH Lights, who kindly agreed to help us. We received a Photonic Light Therapy Package shortly afterwards and I began treating Tao. Red Light Therapy is a safe, natural and non-invasive way to promote healing and control pain. I'd read on the website that:
''Red and near-infrared can penetrate tissue because they are not blocked by blood or water as much as other wavelengths. This wavelength is used in medical settings for burn treatment, wound healing, joint and muscle pain, sports injuries etc....Photonic Therapy works because the bodys tissue can absorb this type of light at a cellular level, converting it to cellular energy (known as ATP). Many studies have shown that this energy accelerates activity in the mitochondria (the part of the cell that generate protein, collagen and healing materials), as well as improving blood flow in the area being treated, speeding healing and minimising pain.' - www.aahlight.com
I watched the helpful videos on the AAH Light website and followed the clear photos in the booklet that comes with the lights. During treatments, Tao stops eating and slowly goes into a state of relaxation as I move around his body and use the light on the meridians marked by the booklet for 'Stifle Problems'. One of the joys of horses is that they give very honest feedback - lots of yawning tends to occur! He certainly appreciates the treatments and slowly, I've got my Tao back. We spent the summer just going on relaxed walks around the farm every day and now he is back in the arena twice a week (photo below from 2 weeks ago). No more pinned ears or refusal to play/go on the right rein. He has even been offering a very uphill and collected canter this week at liberty, which is particularly hard on him because of the strain on his stifles. I am really happy with the lights (I also have green and blue attachable heads) - I've been using them on myself as well as on friends and family for an array of ailments. I, myself, have particularly found the green light really useful for periods of anxiety (I am a worrier, especially when it comes to Tao!) , it really does help and I feel a sense of calm wash over me. I've used this on Tao too and have noticed a similar effect.
My plan going forwards, is for Tao to have the injections in February, when he is at his best weight and the grass has no goodness. It will be the safest time, and the hard ground of the summer hopefully won't affect him so much with the extra support. I will have my trusty lights to help keep pain and inflammation to a minimum and hopefully give us many more years of gentle hacking and playing together.