What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a method of health care with roots in ancient China. Its techniques have been developed and refined through at least 3000 years of continuous use. Acupuncture today is recognized throughout the world as a safe and effective form of medicine, which requires extensive training for its proper practice.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Science has learned much about how and why acupuncture works. Research has proven the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of many canine diseases. We know that acupuncture points can be located by measuring the electrical potential of the skin. We know needling non-acupuncture points does not produce the healing effects of acupuncture. The meridians are generally found along the courses of nerve and blood vessels, and the acupuncture points are associated with certain types of nerve endings.
The stimulation of nerve endings by the needles creates a set of responses in the body, which are unique to acupuncture. Acupuncture prompts the production of neurochemicals called endorphins by the brain, and the release of hormones including cortisol by the pituitary and other glands. These substances are part of the body’s own defenses against pain and inflammation.
Tradition states that acupuncture works by adjusting the flow of vital energy in the body. This energy, called “Q” (pronounced “chee”) flows through channels called meridians, and it is on these 14 meridians that 365+ acupuncture points are located. The meridians and their branches form a network which unites and relates all the body’s organs and functions. Disease is seen as a disruption in the movement of Qi. Disease is seen as a disruption in the movement of Qi. By stimulating the acupuncture points that are in or associated with the affected areas or functions, we can restore balance and resolve the disease.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture can relieve the symptoms and lessen the discomfort of many canine health problems. The following is a partial list of canine problems which long clinical experience and modern research tell us can be treated or supplement treatment with acupuncture therapy.
-Acute musculoskeletal inflammation
-Acute or chronic vomiting
-Acute or chronic back pain
-Acute or chronic neck pain
-Recurrent urinary infections
What does evaluation/treatment consist of?
The majority of dogs go through a typical sequence of responses during a treatment. At the onset, they may be apprehensive, followed by a deep, almost sedative relaxation. As the treatment is coming to an end, they may be slightly uncomfortable. Then, the needles are removed. Most dogs tolerate it well and the session may last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Depending on the treatment intensity, the patient may be fatigued for a day or two. Excessive exercise following treatment is not recommended.
The frequency of treatments and the duration of time between sessions depend on the dog. As mentioned before, each animal is a unique being and will heal at different rates and tolerate the therapy differently. Therefore each set of acupuncture points, as well as the frequency and duration of treatment, is developed for each individual patient. Average therapy consists of two to eight treatments separated by 14 to 30 days.
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Acupuncture can be used as the primary therapy, combined therapy, or backup/alternate therapy. If you’re interested in exploring acupuncture for your pet, please call our office and schedule an appointment for your pet to be evaluated by Dr. Natalie McLaughlin, DVM.