Acupuncture is the technique of painlessly piercing the skin with very thin needles at specific points to prevent or treat disease. Acupuncture is a method of care with roots in ancient China. Its techniques have been developed and refined through its use over the last 3000 years and is recognized as a safe and effective form of medicine which requires extensive training for its proper practice. Research has proven the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of canine and feline diseases.
Acupuncture needles are placed in specific points based on the surrounding anatomy. The existence of these acupuncture points can be located by measuring the electrical potential of the skin. These points correlate to areas rich in free nerve endings, capillaries and similarly active foci. It has been shown that needling non-acupuncture points does not produce the healing effects of acupuncture. The stimulation by the acupuncture needles creates a response in the body that prompts the production of chemicals and hormones in the brain. These substances are used to enhance the body’s own defense against pain and inflammation.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the needles are said to release and move the body’s vital energy or “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). Qi flows through channels called meridians and it is on these 14 meridians that the over 365 points are located. Disease is seen as a disruption in the movement of Qi along these meridians. By stimulating acupuncture points, balance can be restored to resolve diseases. Needles are left in for variable times, usually between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on the effect desired.
Acupuncture treatment can be used for many different conditions. Musculoskeletal conditions (e.g. arthritis, disk disease, chronic neck pain) are among the most commonly treated. However, many more ailments can be addressed. These include: epilepsy, asthma, IBD, Wobbler disease, post-operative pain, hepatitis, urinary incontinence and cancer. In order to start therapy, a certified veterinary acupuncturist must assess your pet for the appropriate treatment plan.