Electro-Acuscope and Treating Horses
By Deborah Powell 2002
The Electro-Acuscope is a brand name for one of many microcurrent instruments and has a companion instrument called the Myopulse. Later models of the Myopulse were changed and are now called the Myoscope. They were one of the first direct copies of the original microcurrent units marketed by Dr. Wing. Promoters of the Electro-Acuscope distanced themselves of this connection by not elaborating on what is was, focusing on fancy advertising jargon to describe what the product did. The distributors were successful in marketing their unit to the point that categories of alternative therapy were created such as the one found in the book, "Alternative Medicine by Deepak Chopra" (Revised Edition pg 196).
Listed as an alternative therapy, the Electro-Acuscope's only hint to being a micro-stimulator is the statement, "Uses a much lower electrical current than a TENS unit." The goals of the marketers of the Acuscope apparently wanted to create the illusion of having a unique instrument thereby making it difficult to compare to other equipment using the microamperage range. To be fair, the majority of content is good information and is appropriate to all microamperage units with the exception to a few notations I have added for clarification.
It states as follows: Electro-Acuscope reduces pain by stimulating tissue repair rather than by stimulation of the nerve or causing muscle contractions (1). The current is continually adjusted to match the resistance from the damaged tissue in order to facilitate the repair process (2). The skill of the practitioner is of considerable importance for it effective use. (3)
- It does stimulate the nervous system, but will not stun the nerve sheath as a millampere (TENS) unit can.
- The instrument senses resistance and compensates to maintain the chosen current level. The instrument does not make a distinction of the quality of the tissue.
- The knowledge of the practitioner is beneficial; however note that just using microcurrent is the key element.
Continued Excerpts: Because of its prolonged effects on tissue repair, the Electro-Acuscope can be applied to a broad range of clinical conditions such as muscle spasm, migraines, TMJ, bursitis, arthritis, surgical incisions, sprains and strains, neuralgia, herpes roster infections (shingles), and bruises.
Steve Center MD has added the following uses: treating local skin infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, and carpal tunnel syndrome, but predominantly uses it for, "acute and chronic pain, mainly of musculoskeletal origin from automobile accidents, lumbosacral (lower back) sprains, shoulder strains and sports injuries."
George Godfrey, MD (founding member of the American Trauma Society of the American College of Surgeons and Medical Director of Atlantic Industrial College of Surgeons in Atlantic City, NJ) is quoted, "The most impressive results are found in the severe muscle contraction headaches associated with injuries to the muscles of the upper chest, upper thorax, and neck."
The same sort of implied uniqueness crosses over to the equine world. Articles in NE Equine Journal (97), Performance Horse (99), So. Cal Ride Mag (01), Morgan Mag (98), and many others have helped create name recognition for the Acuscope brand. In fact, until recently the owners of this equipment really did not known that any other instruments utilizing microcurrent existed! It was always referred to as Electro-Acuscope Therapy.
Joel Rossen DVM (small animal vet) was the first animal distributor for the Acuscope/Myopulse and helped the initial spread of equipment to the equine industry.
After his departure, the equine distribution was well on its way. A couple of horse gals, one a barrel racer in California and the other in the thoroughbred racing in LA, became authorized trainers and sellers of the equipment. Later on, another trainer was added and is in Oregon. The equipment they were selling was the old two-box system, one had GSR reading capabilities and the other box had polarity control and a slightly different waveform.
While all other units on the market with matching or better specifications were quickly dropping in price, distributors of the Acuscope/ Myopulse system maintained a price of $7500.00 per box, which was the initial introductory price in 1978. Additionally, the equine trainers charged $1600.00 for a 5-day course to teach you how to use the equipment. This training teaches you little about the equipment you are using, mostly where to put brass plates (electrodes), how to do point work with the probes, and how to use electrode rollers. At the training, the trainers share the conditions that they have been successful with and the protocols they like. Each trainer’s teachings vary greatly. The training material issued is very outdated, but the Anatomy Chart Book is nice. The trainers are all horse savvy people and have used the equipment for many years. They all have therapy businesses and when you train with them, "you usually work on their client's horses."
Eventually there was even an association formed (now defunct) called the ATA (Acuscope Therapists of America) formed by members trained to treat animals. They had two conferences to bring members together for information sharing. From telephone interviews of 50 of the ATA group they told a common story. Each experienced good results from hiring someone to do the treatments and was caught up in the emotion of witnessing these vast improvements and wanted their own equipment. They were told there is "no like equipment" and without doing serious research they were unable to make comparisons to other products and knew of only the selective information provided by the distributors. With such a large investment (up to $20,000) they were told they could quickly recoup their costs by providing treatments to paying customers. The majority of Acuscope owners found the equipment too bulky and too burdensome to pack around to various barns. Some said they were getting longer arms and were having more pain than their patients!
So, some would sell their equipment and a new therapist would emerge. A lucky few had circumvented the Equine Distributors and bought a lighter weight model called the 70C for less money, this group had a higher rate of satisfaction with their purchases. A few Acuscope Therapists actually have successful careers working full time with veterinarian referrals. If they had a facility for haul-ins and or a large barn to keep them busy, the chances of success were much better. Most work on horses and dogs, some have found working for a doctor’s office a great way to supplement their animal therapy income and gain experience. With many of these therapists now having 20 years of experience, (with their multitudes of satisfied loyal customers as proof), this group by far, are the most knowledgeable and experienced in the treatment of animals with microcurrent.
Some of us, myself included, have moved on from the Acuscope world. We knew there had to be better ways to do these wonderful treatments. The result is, we found better treatment methods (like getting rid of brass plates) and found affordable, modernized instruments. Shortening training sessions with updated materials has made learning microcurrent therapy easy. This has opened the door to many. As a result, today anyone can treat his or her own animals with great success. At any major horse function (i.e. barrel racing, cutting, reining, and racing, western pleasure, and jumping), it’s just about impossible to NOT find someone doing microcurrent treatments.
Copyright © 2002, Matrix Therapy Products Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.
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