centuries the healing art of acupuncture has been practiced on animals.
The origin of acupuncture dates back to ancient China. The Chinese
regularly practiced acupuncture on horses then gradually tried it on
other farm animals and finally dogs, cats and birds. This form of
healing work is based around bio-energy or Qi (See Shiatsu for a more
detailed explanation of Qi). Acupuncture serves to unblock Qi energy and
in so doing boosts the immune system which aids in self-healing.
Acupuncture causes the body to release endorphins and hormones while at
the same time decreasing inflammation both internally and externally.
The Chinese discovered that animals
have similar meridians and reflex-points to humans. These meridians are
the fields in which Qi energy flows. The meridians are connected with
internal organs, muscular and joint structures, and the nervous system.
Acupuncture points, which lie on the meridians, are areas of the skin at
which the flow of Qi can be affected. When an animal is unhealthy, there
is an imbalance or interference with Qi flow. The acupuncturist
manipulates the animalís Qi by stimulating specific acupuncture points,
which alleviates the blockage or imbalance.
Not until Oswald Kothbauer in
Austria and Erwin Westermayer in Germany began experimenting with
treatment of cattle and horses did acupuncture begin to be recognized in
the west as a legitimate healing modality.
In order for your veterinarian to
diagnose your pet itís important for them to have a thorough
understanding of the bodyís meridians and the relationship of those
meridians to the corresponding condition or illness.
Here is a list of areas that respond
favorably to acupuncture.
This is the area most commonly
treated with acupuncture in western medical practice. Quite a few
veterinarians limit themselves to the treatment of arthritic disorders
or muscular injuries, ignoring the many other conditions and illnesses
which can benefit from acupuncture.
All female reproductive conditions
are acknowledged to respond to acupuncture treatment including anestrus,
metritis, dystocia, retained placenta, agalactia, mastitis and
Impotence, orchitis, epididymitis,
and libido can be successfully treated.
Almost all of the hormonal systems
can be affected, including all of the pituitary functions, thyroid and
parathyroid functions, and adrenal functions. It is also possible to
normalize blood sugar levels.
Anxiety, epilepsy and behavioral
disorders have all responded well to acupuncture treatments.
The skin can tell us if our pet is
getting proper nutrition and how well theyíre disposing of waste through
the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems. If an acupuncturist can
keep these organs and systems in good condition, this will be reflected
in the skin.
Acupuncture is being used to
indirectly influence the performance of a dog or horse. Itís best not to
use acupuncture 48 to 60 hours before a race due to the sedating effect.
After 48 hours or so there is an increase in vigor,
vitality, and a
general feeling of well-being.
Some veterinarians are now
practicing acupuncture with Helium-Neon lasers instead of needles. This
is said to avoid the slight discomfort to the animal that can be caused
by the insertion of needles. In addition, the operator does not have to
learn needle insertion techniques necessary to perform acupuncture. This
form of treatment is safe to tissue and cannot introduce infection.
Electro-acupuncture is used to help
in some specific procedures. Itís used as an alternative when needles or
lasers do not seem to be working.
Another variation on acupuncture is
called aquapuncture, which is the injection of a liquid into the main
acupuncture points. Some veterinarians have found that the effect lasts
longer then the insertion of needles. The liquids used in this technique
are usually homeopathic in nature. This modality takes less time to
perform then acupuncture.
It is always good to keep in mind
that there are still a variety of conditions and illnesses that must be
treated with drugs and/or surgery. The use of acupuncture in conjunction
with drugs and/or surgery can immeasurably improve your companion
animalís chances for a rapid and complete recovery.