Acupuncture is the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body called acupoints, causing a stimulation resulting in a healing of the body. Acupoints are located in areas of the body containing high densities of free nerve endings. There are about 365 acupoints in dogs and cats. The ancient Chinese discovered that the health of the body depends on the state of Qi (pron “chee”), which is the life source or vital energy. Veterinary acupuncture encourages healing by correcting energy (Qi) imbalances in the body. Acupuncture does this by stimulating the release of pain relieving and anti-inflammatory hormones within the body, improving blood flow and oxygenation, and more – all to promote self healing.
Acupuncture can be divided into: dry needle acupuncture, electro acupuncture, aquapuncture, and moxibustion.
Dry needle acupuncture – As our pets vary greatly in size, acupuncture needles of varying sizes are used to produce the therapeutic flow of Qi in the body. The needle alone is the only form of Qi stimulation in this therapy.
Electro acupuncture – In this form of acupuncture therapy, a small electric current is passed between a pair of place acupuncture needles. In so doing this form of acupuncture can produce a deep and more profound healing effect.
Aquapuncture – Instead of the use of dry acupuncture needles, an injection of a therapeutic substance, such as vitamin B12, is placed into an acupoint. This produces a more prolonged stimulation of the acupuncture site which enhances the healing response.
Moxibustion – This practice involves the burning of moxa, a prepared herbal product. The burning moxa produces heat, which when placed near an acupoint, serves to warm the area and enhance the flow of Qi. There are specific conditions where this form of therapy is used.
Conditions which can benefit from the use of acupuncture:
- any painful condition
- any weakness
- neurologic problems
- digestive problems (such as vomiting, diarrhea, inappetite)
- respiratory problems
- back and neck problems
- eye problems
- oral conditions (such as gingivitis, stomatitis)
- masses, swellings
- ear problems
- skin problems (including infection, itchiness, rashes)
- renal failure
- urinary problems
- liver disease
- hormonal problems
- any condition not responding well to standard medical care
- most chronic conditions