What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the four main components of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), the other three being herbal medicine, food therapy, and Tui-na (medical manipulation). Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin sterile needles into specific points (acupoints) on the body in order to cause a therapeutic effect. Modern research shows that acupoints are located in the areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles, and lymphatic vessels. Most acupoints are motor points, and many studies show that stimulation of these acupoints induces the release of beta-endorphins, serotonins, and other neurotransmitters.
How long does each treatment take?
Each session may take between 45-60 minutes; the first session usually takes longer than follow-up appointments, and can be up to 75-90 minutes.
How soon can we expect results?
Some results can be seen immediately, but others will require several treatments. Generally a minimum of 3 to 5 treatments 1-2 weeks apart for chronic conditions are needed before one can expect to see notable improvement.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Very rarely. Acupuncture is not painful because acupoints are stimulated using very fine needles. Over 95% of patients are comfortable with acupuncture therapy. Due to the relaxation effect, some animals will fall asleep during acupuncture treatments. In general, sedation is not needed before acupuncture treatments.
What physiological effects are induced by acupuncture?
Studies have shown that acupuncture stimulation induces the following physiological effects:
- Pain relief
- Promotion of tissues healing processes
- Regulation of gastrointestinal motility
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Hormone and reproductive regulation
- Antifebrile effects
When is acupuncture recommended?
- Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture therapy can be effective in the following conditions:
- Musculoskeletal problems: muscle soreness, back pain, osteoarthritis, and degenerative joint disease
- Neurological disorders: seizures, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), laryngeal hemiplegia, and facial and radial nerve paralysis
- Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation, and impactions
- Other chronic conditions: cough, collapsing trachea, renal failure, chronic liver diseases, behavioral problems, infertility, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, geriatric weakness, and skin problems
- Quality of life, maintenance and enhancement, and hospice care
- Performance and enhancement and the prevention of disease