Equine Therapist Kallemeyn Uses Oils, Massage and PEMF Therapy
BY KATE CROWLEY ROSENBERG
Most days, Alissa Kallemeyn of Lewisville can be seen behind the wheel of a Freightliner hauling feed for LB Pork. In the evenings, she pursues her passion: equine massage therapy.
Kallemeyn, 20, is the owner of Keep’em Running, an equine massage therapy practice that provides pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy and Raindrop essential oil treatments.
She began working with horses at a young age when her parents gave her a pony. “She was a registered miniature pony. I still have her. I got her when she was 2 and now she’s 14.” They started in halter classes, but graduated to driving. “I did a lot of driving with her. She still drives and I’ve had two foals out of her. She has a foal on her right now. Born yesterday. Just a little feller.”
Eventually, she acquired a horse, which was when she was inspired to take up massage as a career. Kallemeyn competed in Western Saddle Clubs Association (WSCA) games and cattle work events, and her horse needed some extra care.
“My horse was fairly underweight and hadn’t had much attention when I got him. He was going to start hurting and breaking down a little faster than normal because of the poor nutrition he’d had. So I basically wanted something extra for him. And then he started having a little bit of muscle issues, so that’s where the oils came in. I started looking at something different for that instead of filling him full of drugs to mask the pain. I wanted to heal it instead of cover it up. So I started with massage in 11th grade,” she said. “
Kallemeyn received her certifications over the next few years in massage therapy, Raindrop oils and PEMF from Leda Mox of Armstrong Equine Massage in Becker, MN. “It’s a field where you put a lot of money into it but the results you get back are crazy. It’s fun to watch the progress and see what a simple massage can do for a horse.
“Raindrop massage is just a series of essential oils down the spine and around the hoof that I massage in,” Kallemeyn said.
“I’ve used it on my thoroughbred gelding for his back legs because they are always swollen because of the muscle and tendon breakdown in them. For about a week after that there is no swelling. And it’s a huge toxin release out of the body.” Eventually, her horse came out of “survival mode” and began putting on the weight. “He looks really good right now.”
“Peppermint is used a lot in horses for muscles to reduce inflammation and help muscles heal faster,” Kallemeyn said. ‘Peace and Calming’ is an aromatherapy blend used for reducing anxiety, and is combined with finger pressure on acupuncture points. “Each individual oil has its main purpose, but all the oils usually have a wide range of what they can help with.”
The Raindrop Essential Oil treatments include use of such oils as peppermint and eucalyptus in generating pain relief on injury sites, and to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. While some essential oils have caused FDA concern, others are well known in the medical field by their predominant chemical compound. One example is methyl salicylate, or oil of wintergreen, which is the main analgesic in the deep heating liniment known as Bengay for treating joint and muscule pain, and as an antiseptic agent in Listerine mouthwash.
Kallemeyn works on horses from St. Peter to the Iowa border, but hopes to expand her range. Normally, she sees two to five horses per visit. Back and hind leg injuries are the most common injuries she sees. Most of her clients are gaming horses, “because a lot of gaming horses are really driving and really pushing with their back end. Especially barrel horses. They really get down and they dig around those barrels. Even pleasure horses have to drive and push off their back end to get them looking good.” The horse then compensates and strains other muscles.
Kallemeyn usually applies only one therapy to a horse, but has, on occasion, pulled out all the stops. “In a standard massage I sometimes use a just a single oil, like if it has a respiratory issue, there’s single oils that can help with that respiratory issue. If I use that in a standard massage it enhances what that massage does and overall helps out that horse,” she said.
“(This Spring) There was a (palomino mare) that was in an accident—she got scared and landed on a truck basically,” Kallemeyn said. “She had essentially every major bone in her body out of place which is very painful. Even when you put a halter on her face you could tell she wanted it off because just that little bit of pressure hurt.” Kallemeyn used both the PEMF and Raindrop oil massages on her. After three weeks of therapy, she was pronounced 100 percent sound by a veterinarian and a chiropractor, Kallemeyn said. “She was a barrel horse and they didn’t think they’d ever put a saddle back on her, let alone have her back in a real pen. They haven’t had her back in a race but she’s been in a lot of training and a lot of drills and she’s handling it just fine. She has no lasting effects from that injury—whereas she should have. She had a head injury, neck injury and rib injuries.”
PEMF was critical in the treatment of another of her patients. A bay mare she worked on got caught in a fence and sustained a pelvis/back leg injury. “Her last option was surgery and they weren’t riding her anymore... She was so rough to ride because she couldn’t move her legs right. That horse is now back running games and in the show pen,” Kallemeyn said. “That one I’ve been pretty happy with. We did three treatments on her and I have videos of her from the first time I saw her until now and she is a completely different horse.” Kallemeyn said the bay showed recently and her owners were, “very happy with how she did.”
PEMF has also been used in human medicine. According to the Johns Hopkins website (hopkinsmedicine.org), electromagnetic therapy does have a place in standard or conventional medicine. It is used when shocking a heart to reestablish a rhythm after cardiac arrest, for increasing bone growth, and in treating certain types of pain with a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, or TENS. Some PEMF devices are FDA approved and have been proven through clinical studies to increase fusion rates in neck surgery from 87 percent success to 93 percent success.
“I can feel the current when I’m working with it. It does make muscles jump and move when I’m working with it,” Kallemeyn said. The result is increased blood flow and better oxygenation.
Eventually, Kallemeyn would like to build a large animal rehabilitation center. “In that facility there would be an area where I could swim them. Swimming is huge for muscles and neurologic conditions for getting the coordination back,” she said.
Kallemeyn is a member of the Lewisville Fire Department and an Emergency Medical Responder. She is the wife of Dylan Kallemeyn and the daughter of Scott and Heidi Voyles of Lewisville. She has a flock of 25 registered purebred Suffolk sheep and recently returned from the National Suffolk Sheep Show in Lebanon, Indiana where she had two of her entries place in the champion ewe drive early this month.
Prospective clients can reach Kallemeyn through her Facebook page or at 507-236-5898.