Multi-frequency bioimpedance and myofascial release therapy: An equine “AtlasOrange1” validation study

Adrian Harrison, Vibeke Sødring Elbrønd, Marta Julia Krasnodebska


Background:  Measurable sources of muscle tension include viscoelastic tone, physiological contracture, voluntary contraction, and muscle spasm, and if left untreated, they can over a period of time result in clinical pain as a direct result of increased myofascia tension. Typically, physiotherapy is used to stretch affected muscles, thereby reducing motor neuron excitability, and as a consequence give the patient a sensation of correct posture and movement, thereby facilitating normal movement patterns. However, cases of documented therapy effectiveness are rare.

Methods:  A total of 6 horses with myofascial tension/imbalance issues were selected for this trial. The horses were assessed manually by a qualified Veterinarian and note was taken of regions with high resting myofascial tension as well as movement restrictions. The horses were then measured using a multi-frequency BioImpedance Analysis unit (SFB7) by a technician blinded to the manual assessment. AtlasOrange1, a new form of mechanical physiotherapy massage was used to treat all 6 horses. Treatment was applied directly to two anatomically identifiable myo-fascial regions for a total period of two minutes. Subsequently, the effects of treatment were followed using multi-frequency bioimpedance at an interval of 1, 24 and 48 hours.

Results: Regions of increased myofascial tonus/stiffness were detected manually and noted for all 6 horses. The bioimpedance data was analyzed for centre frequency (fc) and extracellular resistance (Re) and delta values between the right- and left-hand sides of each horse were calculated. Treatment induced a 39% decrease for Re (NS) and a 58% decrease for fc (P=0.003) over 48 hours post-treatment. The mfBIA values were subsequently compared with the findings of the manual evaluation revealing a 94.4% overall agreement.  

Conclusion: We suggest that a high level of resting myofascial tension/stiffness is measureable using mf-BIA, and that it can be relieved with massage forms of treatment like AtlasOrange1.


myofascia, muscle tension, mf-BIA, mechanical physiotherapy

Full Text:


Ajimsha, M.S., Al-Mudahka, N.R., Al-Madzhar, J.A. 2015. Effectiveness of myofascial release: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 19: 102-112.

Anderson, R.U., Harvey, R.H., Wise, D., Smith, J.N., Nathanson, B.H., Sawyer, T. 2015. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome: Reduction of medication use after pelvic floor physical therapy with an internal myofascial trigger point wand. Appl. Psychophysiol. Biofeedback DOI 10.1007/s10484-015-9273-1.

Bartels, E.M., Sørensen, E.R., Harrison, A.P. Multi-frequency bioimpedance in human muscle assessment. Physiological Reports. In Press.

Cho, S-H., Kim, S-H., Park, D-J. 2015. The comparison of the immediate effects of application of the suboccipital muscle inhibition and self-myofascial release techniques in the suboccipital region on short hamstring. J. Phys. Ther. Sci. 27: 195-197.

Dommerholt, J., Grieve, R., Layton, M., Hooks, T. 2015. An evidence-informed review of the current myofascial pain literature – January 2015. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 19: 126-137.

Gajdosik, R.L., Hatcher, C.K., Whitsell, S. 1992. Influence of short hamstring muscles on the pelvis and lumbar spine in standing and during the toe-touch test. Clin. Biomech. 7: 38-42.

Green, S., Buchbinder, R., Hetrick, S. 2003. Physiotherapy interventions for shoulder pain. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2, CD004258.

Harrison, A.P., Elbønd, V.S., Riis-Olesen, K., Bartels, E.M. 2015. Multi-frequency Bioimpedance in equine muscle assessment. Physiol. Meas. 36:453-464.

Licciardone, J.C., Aryal, S. 2014. Clinical response and relapse in patients with chronic low back pain following osteopathic manual treatment: Results from the OSTEOPATHIC Trial. Manual Therapy 19: 541-548.

Masterson, J. 2011. Beyond Horse Massage: A breakthrough interactive method for alleviating soreness, strain and tension. Trafalgar Square Books, ISBN 9781570764721.

Mitsukawa, N., Sugiaski, N., Kanehisa, H., Fukunaga, T., Kawakami, Y. 2009. Fatigue-related changes in fascicle-tendon geometry over repeated contractions: Difference between synergist muscles. Muscle & Nerve, 40: 395-401.

Nescolarde, L., Yanguas, J., Lukaski, H., Alomar, X., Rosell-Ferrer, J., Rodas, G. 2013. Localized bioimpedance to assess muscle injury. Physiol. Meas. 34: 237-245.

Park, K.N., Yi, C.H., Jeon, H.S., Lee, W.H., Ha, S.M., Kim, S.J., Kwon, O.Y. 2012. Effects of lumbopelvic neutralization on the electromyographic activity, lumbopelvic and knee motion during seated knee extension in subjects with hamstring shortness. J. Phys. Ther. Sci. 24: 17-22.

Peck, D., Buxton, D.F., Nitz, A. 1984. A comparison of spindle concentrations in large and small muscles acting in parallel combinations. J. Morphol. 180: 243-252.

Sergienko, S., Kalichman, L. 2015. Myofascial origin of shoulder pain: A literature review. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 19: 91-101.

Stahn, A., Strobel, G., Terblanche, E. 2008. VO2max prediction from multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis. Physiol. Meas. 29: 193–203.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18103/mra.v0i3.124


  • There are currently no refbacks.