Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions and effects when stimulated. It has been practiced by the Chinese and other Eastern cultures for thousands of years and can be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses.
Acupuncture can be used as a sole therapy but is often used in conjunction with conventional medicine. It is very safe in animals and side effects are rare.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s repair mechanisms. It helps regulate inflammation and causes release of natural endorphins and opiods. It stimulates nerves, improves blood flow and oxygenation to tissues. It can relieve muscular spasms. Although many physiological effects have been studied there are many more still unknown.
Pain is the most common indication for acupuncture in veterinary medicine. Often this is chronic pain related to arthritis, but it is also beneficial for spinal problems and other musculoskeletal conditions. It may also be beneficial to patients for gastrointestinal disease, skin problems and epilepsy to name but a few.
The needles used in acupuncture are very thin and as such it is well tolerated by the majority of patients. Needles are placed and can remain in place for a few minutes to 30 minutes depending on the case. 4-6 treatment sessions, usually weekly are often required initially with follow up sessions varying from case to case – each patient has an individually tailored program.
If you are interested in whether acupuncture may help your pet please contact the surgery.