What Is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of certain points on the body to achieve a healing affect by altering biochemistry and physiology. It is a means for the body to heal itself. Acupuncture is very old medicine and has been used successfully for 4000 years by many cultures. Chinese philosophy believes that disease is an imbalance of energy called Qi (pronounced chee). Acupuncture treatments restore the natural balance in the body and the animal heals itself. Acupuncture can be used by itself or in conjunction with western medicine.
An acupuncture point is an area of free nerve endings, mast cells, blood and lymphatic vessels. Stimulation of these points induces the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Simply stated, the central nervous system affects the musclo-skeletal, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. How it works depends on what disease is being treated and what points are being used. With acupuncture endorphins are released which relieves pain and muscle spasms, stimulates nerves and the immune system, reduces inflammation and several other beneficial effects.
What Conditions Can Be Treated With Acupuncture?
- Musculoskeletal problems such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, disc disease, muscle soreness, laminitis, navicular disease
- Neurologic problems such as seizures, laryngeal hemiplegia, facial and radial nerve paralysis.
- Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, ulcers, colic, vomiting and constipation.
- Respiratory problems such as heaves, asthma and cough.
- Endocrine problems.
- Behavioral problems.
- Post surgical analgesia.
- Alleviation of nausea and anorexia for chemotherapy patients.
Is It Painful?
Acupuncture needles are very thin and small. It is virtually painless. The larger needles for large animals may cause some pain as the needle passes through the skin. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain.
Is It Safe?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment in the hands of a qualified acupuncturist and side effects are rare. Occasionally an animal’s condition will get worse temporarily before it gets better. Some geriatric patients may sleep heavily after treatment. These effects are an indication of physiological changes and are most often followed by improvement.