What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical practice that is thousands of years old. The first documented use of acupuncture dates back to China around the 200 BCE. Acupuncture is becoming more widely used in the veterinary field as a primary and ancillary modality for the treatment of many conditions in almost all species.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of a very thin needle into a very specific point on the body. These specific points are highly vascularized (a lot of blood flow) and highly innervated (a lot of nerve fibers), making them effective in promoting homeostasis, immune system balance, healing and pain relief. By effecting all of the major systems of the body, acupuncture acts as a "reset switch" to promote a return to normal homeostasis.
While acupuncture has local effects near the acupoints, it primarily effects the central nervous system, which in turn impacts musculoskeletal, hormonal, cardiovascular and the autonomic nervous system for a global effect on the body.
What Conditions Respond to Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has proven useful in managing a variety of conditions in veterinary patients. Most notably, acupuncture may be used alone or in conjunction with conventional therapies.
Acupuncture is a powerful treatment modality that can be used for the following conditions:
~ Decreased performance/Enhancing performance in the competitive horse.
~ Musculoskeletal disease such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, back pain, obscure lameness, intervertebral disc disease and chronic injuries.
~ Neurologic disorders such as epilepsy, traumatic nerve injury and certain types of paralysis.
~ Gastrointestinal conditions such as nausea, colic, diarrhea and constipation.
~ Hormonal/Metabolic disease.
~ Respiratory issues such as heaves (RAO, COPD)
~ Immune system dysfunction.
~ Skin problems such as wound healing, lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis.
Is Acupuncture Painful? Is it Safe?
For most patients, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Most animals become relaxed once the needles are in place and they may even become sleepy.
Acupuncture relies on the body's own healing capacity, and no drugs are administered, acupuncture is one of the safest treatment modalities available when practiced by a trained acupuncturist.
Typically treatments last thirty (30) minutes at weekly intervals for the first few weeks. However, length and frequency of treatments varies for each individual case. Depending on the severity of the condition being treated and the degree of response, treatments are usually tapered off to every few weeks or every few months. Some acute conditions warrant more frequent treatments, even daily or twice daily for hospitalized patients.