Ceramic Therapy for Horses
Updated December 7, 2022 | Reviewed by Dr. Andris J. Kaneps, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACVSR
Fabrics that are interwoven and fused with ceramic textiles have heat-reflecting properties. This means that the fabric utilizes the body’s own energy being naturally expelled by harnessing it and reflecting it back onto the horse.
Harnessing Light through Ceramics
The light is reflected as long-wave (or far-infrared) radiation – a wavelength that's just beyond the visible spectrum. Unlike ultraviolet rays that can have damaging effects on the skin, infrared energy safely penetrates the skin and gently warms tissues.
This long-wave infrared radiation is proven to cause blood vessels to dilate. When blood vessels dilate, it increases blood circulation and aids in the transport of oxygen and nutrients. By promoting the body’s natural healing processes, ceramic therapies may improve recovery and help decrease inflammation.
Ceramic-infused products can also provide pain relief through an increase in nitric oxide (which works along the same pathways as opioids do, however to a much smaller extent). Studies in humans have shown that ceramic fiber textiles reduce muscle pain, promote recovery and enhance circulation after exercise.
Effects of Ceramic Therapy Products on Horses
 measuring the impact of ceramic blankets on the biomechanics of the horse in motion found these products to be effective in enhancing performance and supporting well-being. The study measured locomotion through stride length in the front and hind limbs, as well as the protraction of the hind end.
They found improvements in stride length and protraction. This is attributed to the far-infrared emitting fibers helping relax the back and hind end muscles, allowing for greater freedom of movement.
Ceramic therapy for horses – products like leg wraps, saddle pads, blankets, bandages, and neck wraps – are infused with these fibers. So, their benefits won’t wash out in the laundry. Although, due to their heat-reflecting abilities, manufacturers recommend they are air-dried and not put in the dryer.
Benefits of Ceramic Therapy Products for Horses
- Increases blood circulation
- Reduces pain
- Improves recovery
How to Use Ceramic Therapy on Horses
- Horses may adjust to these wearable ceramic therapies differently. It is recommended to slowly introduce the item by having the horse wear it for 1 - 3 hours per day. Then, gradually increase the number of hours based on your horse’s response over the course of several days or weeks.
- Worn in weekly or monthly intervals rather than constant use.
Examples of Ceramic Therapies in the Barn
- Ceramic blanket worn on a horse for 30-60 minutes prior to exercise with chronic stiffness or back issues to encourage circulation, or post-exercise to aid in recovery. May also use an exercise rug (quarter sheet) during riding or exercise in cold weather.
- Worn during training as polos or a saddle pad.
- Helpful in lessening edema in stall-bound horses.
- University of Reading – Department of Agriculture, The effects of Back on Track rugs on equine locomotion, April 2013