What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific point(s) on the body resulting in a therapeutic effect. The ancient Chinese described the vital energy inside all bodies as Qi (pronounced "chee"), of which there are 2 opposite forms: Yin and Yang. When animals (or humans) become sick or experience pain, there is a disruption in the normal flow of Qi, and Yin and Yang become out of balance. Acupuncture is then used to restore this homeostasis, and help the body in healing itself.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Research in recent years has shown that acupoints are located in areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, arterioles, and lymphatic vessels. They have further shown that the stimulation of acupoints leads to a release of beta-endorphins, serotonin, as well as other neurotransmitters - allowing for pain-relief when treated appropriately.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The vast majority of patients are very comfortable with acupuncture therapy. Due to the relaxing effect it has, some animals will even fall asleep during treatment. Sedation is not needed or recommended as it may interfere with the acupuncture effect. A proper treatment may cause contraction of local muscle which can be temporarily uncomfortable, but most animals tolerate it quite well.
How many treatments are needed?
The number of treatments needed depends on the nature, severity, and duration of disease. Acute conditions may be resolved in a single treatment. Chronic diseases can require a series of 3-10 treatments spaced anywhere from 1-4 weeks apart. Some degenerative conditions may need monthly treatments over time.
When is acupuncture indicated?
Clinical trials have indicated that acupuncture therapy can be effective in the following conditions:
Musculoskeletal problems: muscle soreness, back pain, disc problems, arthritis, and degenerative joint disease/dysplasia
Neurological disorders: seizure, laryngeal hemiplegia, facial and radial nerve paralysis
Gastrointestinal disorders: chronic diarrhea, gastric ulcers
Other chronic conditions: asthma, behavioral problems, Cushing's disease, hypothyroidism, infertility, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, geriatric concerns, and skin problems
Performance enhancement and disease prevention
Acupuncture is cautiously used or contraindicated in pregnancy, infectious diseases, open wounds and fractures.