Origins of Acupuncture
Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use it as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along with or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in all animals. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use is increasing. Read more about it on the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
How does it work?
It stimulates nerves, increases blood flow, relaxes muscle spasm (often using a method called “Henpecking”), and causes the release of pain relieving endorphins and the anti-inflammatory steroid, cortisol. Acupuncture has been used for more than 5000 years, and thus has many explanations for its mechanism of action, but none that completely satisfy the scientific community; further study is necessary.
Is it painful?
For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless and once inserted there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy; when first noted though, this might be a bit scary, but is a normal response to acupuncture.
- Fear of thunderstorms (Dr Jan demonstrates the use of needles in order for the owner to perform preventative acupuncture in the face of a storm)
- Fears and phobias
- Ear inflammation
- Intevertebral Disc Disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Lick granulomas
- and others…
Dr Jan uses acupuncture for the treatment painful conditions, especially arthritis, in dogs and cats. When used in conjunction with Laser Therapy and electrostimulation, it is part of her Integrated Pain Management Treatment Protocol; a multimodal approach, with the aim of decreasing then eliminating the need for pharmaceuticals.
Number of treatments
This depends on the severity of the problem, as well as the duration. A lick granuloma might require one or two treatments, whereas chronic spinal pain may require ongoing treatment.