Poll Recap: Complementary Therapies

Of the 665 respondents, 220 (33%) said their horses receive chiropractic care on a routine basis.

Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse

Chiropractic. Acupunture. Massage. Does your horse receive any of these complementary therapies? In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers which complementary therapies their horse receives on a routine basis. More than 650 people responded and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 665 respondents, 220 (33%) said their horses receive chiropractic care on a routine basis. Another 66 individuals (10%) said their horses get acupuncture treatments regularly, and 33 respondents (5%) use pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) on their horses routinely. Some 23 individuals (3%) said their horses use vibration plates on a routine basis, while 77 respondents (12%) said their horses receive other types of complementary therapies. The remaining 246 (37%) respondents said their horses do not receive any complementary therapy on a routine basis.

Additionally, more than 80 people commented about equine complementary therapies:

Several people shared the different types of complementary therapies their horses receive:

  • “Chiropractic and acupuncture, plus herbal supplements and healing salve.”
  • “Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, and herbal medicines.”
  • “Masterson Method of integrated bodywork and chiropractic.”
  • “Massage, laser, and Masterson method.”
  • “Light therapy and massage.”
  • “Massage therapy and acupuncture regularly, and chiropractic as needed.”
  • “My distance horses receive chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy as needed.”
  • “All my horses, competition right down to my Minis, receive regular chiropractic care.”
  • “Massage. All eight horses, in the morning when the blankets come off, love a good chest rub.”
  • “Monthly massage. He loves it.”
  • “Yearly chiropractic review to make sure everything is fine (it generally is)."
  • “The Masterson Method.”
  • “Trigger point muscle release therapy.”
  • “Osteopathic manipulation.”
  • “Also cold laser and 'red light' (Infrared) therapy as needed.”
  • “Essential oils (I thoroughly research each one prior to use).”
  • “Reiki.”
  • “Chinese herbal formulas.”
  • “Assisi loop.”
  • “VOM and and Samota visceral release have been of benefit to my hypersensitive Arabian.”
  • “Osteopathy.”

Others said they have used complementary therapies in the past, but their horse does not receive them on a routine basis:

  • “I have used chiropractic therapy in the past but currently not using routinely.”
  • “I have done chiropractic in the past and also massage therapy, but nothing on a regular schedule.”
  • “I've had horses that have received acupuncture and chiropractic in the past, but not my current horse.”
  • “None do now, but I have used chiropractic and on occasion, acupuncture.”
  • “I have done chiropractic periodically. Not routine.”
  • “Chiropractic, but not on a regular basis.”
  • “I have used chiropractic but only on as need basis.”


And some people shared why they do not use complementary therapies:

  • “They're expensive and it's hard to tell if they are making a difference.”
  • “Cost is prohibitive.”
  • “My research and experiments have shown nothing works well enough to justify the costs.”
  • “My horse does not receive routine therapies with little to no evidence to support their claims.”
  • “Cost prohibitive and when I did use it, can't tell any difference at all. So no more.”
  • “My horse is healthy, sound, and not in need of therapy of any kind. I hope he stays that way.”
  • “My horse has no issues at this point that require these services.”
  • “I have never seen the need for it.”

You can find more information about complementary medicine for horses, including how massage can help older horses, how acupuncture works, and how chiropractic care can be beneficial to your horse at TheHorse.com! You can also listen to or download an archived Ask TheHorse Live podcast on complementary therapies to hear an equine veterinarian address user questions about chiropractic and acupuncture for horses.

This week, we want to know: How likely would you be to have colic surgery for your horse if it was necessary? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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