Back on Track (BOT) products are widely used in several disciplines, including Dressage and Eventing. Many riders feel that the products are essential to the recovery of their horses, especially after a strenuous ride or competition. Let’s take a look at the science behind BOT’s Welltex technology and the benefits it can provide.
Far Infrared Radiation (FIR) is a region in the infrared spectrum of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of 15 m – 1 mm. Due to black-body radiation, or the thermal electromagnetic radiation within or surrounding a body in thermodynamic equilibrium with its environment, black body objects with temperatures between -450° and 152° Fahrenheit will emit FIR. This type of radiation can be delivered in several ways: through saunas, ray devices, and FIR emitting ceramics and fabrics. FIR emitting ceramics have existed for decades, but more recently this ceramic material has been incorporated into fibers which can then be woven into fabrics. Based on the First Law of Thermodynamics, it is understood that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore, the energy needed to create FIR emission from fabrics, or a garment must come from the body itself. Energy from the body is transferred into the fabric so the fabric’s temperature becomes high enough to emit FIR back into the body. The heat can be transferred through objects by radiation, convection or conduction, depending on the conditions. At an optimal wavelength of 8-10 m, FIR can penetrate 1.5 inches below the skin. This optimal wavelength will increase cell migration; however a smaller wavelength will actually inhibit it. Any temperatures above 98.6° Fahrenheit will also inhibit the biological effects of FIR.
Studies show that the optimum time a body should be exposed to FIR is 30 minutes. This radiation follows a normal distribution, so the benefits peak at 30 minutes and then begin to decrease.
In several studies done by Ting-Kai Leung, a Taiwanese researcher, it was discovered that FIR radiation improved cell viability, reduced inflammation and delayed the onset of muscle fatigue. FIR-treated cells had significantly higher survival rates than untreated cells because of the defense mechanism the far infrared waves provide during the irradiation process. Signaling pathways are activated and the resulting activated transcription factors make it easier for cells to repair themselves post-exposure. The newly activated transcription factors lead to long-term effects on the tissues, providing pain and swelling relief. FIR also promotes epithelial cell migration which leads to improved mitochondria function in cells. The mitochondria are responsible for energy generation and cell growth and are a major part of tissue repair.
FIR causes vasodilation, increasing the availability of oxygen to treated cells and allowing more immune cells to flock to injured tissues. Along with the improved mitochondria function, the vasodilation can help reduce inflammation and heal damaged muscles and tissues.
Back on Track products and Welltex technology:
Back on Track’s newly created Welltex technology contains the ceramic material needed to emit FIR. The ceramic particles are only chosen if they can support a FIR wavelength of 8-10 m. They are melted into the threads of the fabric of the BOT Welltex products and can’t be washed out. To keep the wavelengths of the FIR longer, BOT products have been designed to keep temperatures between the products and the body low. They will not trap warmth through insulation, unlike other products on the market. Buyers are warned to use the products carefully on hot days because the temperature of the air can have adverse effects on the Welltex materials, and the products may not perform as expected.
BOT claims that their products can improve gaits, decrease inflammation, and diminish pain. Although proving the improvement of gaits is subjective, BOT did perform a study suggesting that after using their products, test horses had better gaits. Whether that study is accurate or not, science has definitely proved that the use of FIR in the Welltex materials will decrease inflammation and help to eliminate pain. Since FIR also causes vasodilation, the increased blood circulation can relieve muscle tension and improve performance. Muscles, joints and tissues require adequate recovery time before more training, and FIR speeds up the recovery process quite a bit. Without enough recovery, the stressed muscles, joints and tissues are more likely to be injured. By helping the body to recover faster before it is worked again, BOT products can help prevent injuries.
In order to see results, the products must be worn for at least 30 minutes to reach the peak of the normal distribution and provide optimal results. BOT products can of course be worn for a longer period of time, so long as the temperature between the body and the product does not exceed 98.6° Fahrenheit.
The Welltex line includes horse, dog and human products.
After hearing so many great reviews, I purchased the Royal Quick Horse Wraps in 2017 and began using them daily on one of the older horses I was riding. At age 20, she had mild arthritis in her legs and back. Over the past few years I have acquired a Therapeutic Back Pad, Mesh Sheet, Hock Wraps, Bell Boots and several Dressage Saddle Pads. I use the products before and after I ride (during, in the case of the saddle pads) for 30 minutes. When I started using the wraps and sheet consistently on the older mare, I had no trouble keeping her sound despite her arthritis. It was easier to collect her, and I felt that she was swinging through her back more than I had felt before using the BOT products. Even while training piaffe and passage, I never detected soreness or swelling the next day.
I also use the wraps and back pad on younger horses, taking particular care to note changes in performance and recovery. With some horses I feel that the trot in particular becomes more flowy and easier to sit. After a hard training session, the use of BOT products reduces filling in the legs and prevents excessive soreness the next day. Despite using them in warm weather, I have never had an issue with the products trapping heat.
My retired gelding suffers from arthritis and laminitis, and he benefits from the products too. When the pain in his feet prevents him from being turned out, I use the Royal Quick Wraps and Bell Boots to keep him comfortable in his stall. He is more likely to be sound after a day of stall rest if I use those two products.
Apart from the BOT horse products, I have two products I use on myself, and another I use on my dogs. When I finish a ride or a workout, I spend an hour in my Long Johns and T-shirt. Two of my dogs have hip dysplasia, and knowing how well BOT works for the horses, I purchased Mesh Dog Coats for them. They worked so well I even started using a blanket on my younger dog after he goes on a run with me to help him recover faster!
I am very pleased with the success I’ve had with Back on Track’s products, and plan to continue using them on all of my horses, dogs, and myself!
Readers, which Back on Track products do you own? Do you have a favorite? What benefits have you seen after using the products?
Stay safe everyone!