What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture may be defined as the stimulation of a specific point on the body with a specific method, resulting in a therapeutic homeostatic effect. The specific point on the body is called acupoint.
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. A great number of studies indicate that stimulation of acupoints induce release of beta-endorphin, serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Therefore, acupuncture for pain relief is well supported by these scientific studies. As more studies are conducted, the mechanism of this ancient therapy will be better understood.
What can be treated with acupuncture?
Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture therapy can be effective in the following conditions:
- Musculoskeletal problems: muscle soreness, back pain, disc problems, arthritis, degenerative joint disease.
- Neurological disorders: seizure, laryngeal hemiplegia, facial and radial nerve paralysis.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation and impaction.
- Other chronic conditions: heaves, asthma, cough, uveitis, behavioral problems, cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, infertility, hyperthyroidism, renal failure, geriatric weakness, skin problems.
- Performance enhancement and prevention of disease.
How safe is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner. Very few side effects have been found in clinical cases.
How long does treatment last?
Each session may take 20 to 60 minutes.
How many treatments are needed?
It depends upon the nature, severity and duration of diseases. A single treatment may be enough for an acute condition. A series of 3 to 10 treatments can resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may need monthly treatments over time.
Does acupuncture hurt?
A proper acupuncture therapy may induce distention, and heaviness sensation along with contraction of local muscle. Over 95% of patients are comfortable with acupuncture therapy. Some animals will fall asleep during acupuncture therapy. Sedation is not recommended before acupuncture treatment as it may interfere with the acupuncture effect.
Why is acupuncture frequently combined with herbs?
Sometimes the application of Chinese Herbal Medicine is chosen by the knowledgeable veterinarian as a support for the acupuncture, or on occasion, in lieu of it. Herbs are frequently used in situations that have not responded to traditional western veterinary medical practices.
Are there any contraindications for acupuncture treatment?
The use of acupuncture is not indicated for fractures, pregnancy, open wounds and infectious diseases.
Who is qualified to perform veterinary acupuncture?
Only licensed veterinarians are eligible to practice acupuncture in most states in the USA.
Modified from the Chi Institute www.tcvm.com FAQ for Veterinary Acupuncture brochure.