A team of five physically disabled riders attended Para-Dressage training for one week at the South Bucks Riding for the Disabled Center in the United Kingdom. These riders were given the opportunity to use the BEMER 3000 during that week. None of them had any prior experience with or exposure to the BEMER.

The Riders

The riders had different disabilities and different levels of impairment.
The most disabled rider is a Cerebral Palsy Spastic Quadriplegic i.e. he has spasticity in all four limbs. In addition to this he has arthritis in his hips and has one hip that dislocates. He is wheel chair bound and performs walk only dressage movements when horse riding.
Two of the other riders also have cerebral palsy but more mildly and in different forms. One has Athetoid Cerebral Palsy and struggles with the co-ordination of her movements and her balance. The other is also spastic but mainly in her legs with very limited involvement of her arms.
One rider was involved in a motor vehicle accident which has left her with limited use of one side of her body i.e. she is hemi-plegic.
The other rider has a spinal cord injury also as a result of a motor vehicle accident. He has limited use of the muscles and limited sensation in his lower limbs and also uses a wheelchair. When riding he trots and canters.
The opportunity to use the BEMER on this trip was great as these young riders (they are aged between 13 and 21 years) had to deal with fatigue not only from traveling and walking long distances but they were also riding twice a day when some of them only ride once a week at home. There was the added nervous tension of riding unfamiliar horses and receiving instruction from someone whom they did not know. They were also travelling without family members.

The BEMER Program

All of the riders were instructed from the start of the trip that it would be compulsory for them to make use of the mat twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. The coil mat was used on level 3 each session. We arrived in the U.K on the Sunday and made use of the mat for the first time that evening. In addition to the two sessions on the coil mat, the intense applicator was also used where necessary.
The rider with the spinal cord injury arrived with a wound on his foot, that was approximately 3cm long and it was a deep wound. He had just completed a course of anti biotics to treat the infection in the wound and had an anti bacterial ointment to treat it while we were away. When it began to bleed after being bumped we decided to treat it with the intense applicator. We used it on P1 on Monday morning, P2 that evening and P3 every morning and evening for the rest of the week. By the Wednesday morning the wound looked much better and at the end of the week the sore had reduced to about 1cm wide and was only skin deep. His mother say that those wounds usually take him weeks and sometimes months to heal, she was so impressed that she continued to bring him to use the BEMER once we returned from the U.K.
The rider with the arthritis in his hips takes medication for joint mobility and to reduce his pain levels two or even three times a day when he is riding a lot. He had his medication morning and evening on the Monday and was still struggling with pain so decided that he was going to take his medication with him to the stables to use mid day too. On the Monday evening we started using the intense applicator on his sore hip morning and evening on P4. On the Tuesday morning he was in pain but the pain levels had begun to reduce before he even took his medication. On the Wednesday morning he used medication for the last time. He had not used it again even a week after he returned, despite the discomfort of the flight and he has been riding.
Another rider really battled with sore muscles in her thighs from riding without stirrups which she is unused to. She initially used the intense applicator on P2 on the Tuesday evening and then at her request we used the applicator on each thigh again each evening but on P3.

The Rider’s Response to the BEMER Use

Each rider was asked to prepare a short report on the training that they received and to include in that a comment on their use of the BEMER 3000. These are the responses that were received.
“The BEMER showed a remarkable change in my pain level and I would definitely benefit from it” – wheelchair bound rider with arthritic hips
“The BEMER helped with general stiffness, pain and concentrated pain as well” – Cerebral Palsy rider who used Intense applicator on her thigh muscles
“The BEMER made a big difference to my sore and also I did not get stiff after riding which I normally do”
“It was very relaxing using the BEMER”
A point of interest for me was that the one rider did not make any reference to her use of the BEMER so perhaps she felt that it had no effect, which is fine, but what I find interesting is that I have roomed with this young rider before and she is difficult to wake up in the morning and grumpy for the first half an hour or so. The BEMER was placed on her bed each time because it was closest to the plug point. I asked her to roll over, moved the BEMER mat under her each morning and then she did the first session. I never had a problem getting her up to give the next person a turn and she was her usual cheerful self right away!
My perception is that the BEMER mat made a significant difference to the energy levels and comfort of our riders but that the difference is made gradually and almost unnoticeably and you only realize it’s effects when you look back or compare to previous similar experiences. The Intense Applicator on specific areas had a relatively rapid and remarkable impact.
Tracey Cumming
Team Manager/ Coach
September 2006