Acupuncture is one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), and has been practiced in China in both humans and animals for thousands of years.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of small, thin, sterile needles into specific "acupoints" in the body to cause a therapeutic change to occur. Pets rarely feel the insertion of the small needles, and some may even fall asleep during their acupuncture visit.
Veterinary medicine routinely uses 173 acupoints located in areas with a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells/immune cells, small blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. Stimulating these acupoints helps to increase blood flow and reduce pain. Some pets respond immediately, while other may require several sessions before they see improvement.
Benefits of Acupuncture
- Pain relief
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Decrease inflammation
- Regulate the immune system
- Reduce fever
- Stimulate appetite and energy
Conditions that may be good candidates for acupuncture
- Back pain
- Hip dysplasia
- Incontinence, diarrhea, or constipation
- Chronic vomiting
- Anxiety or behavioral issues
- Cancer or other end-of-life geriatric conditions
In addition to dry needling with thin needles, other variations may also be used:
Electro-acupuncture: a very small electrical current is passed through the needles
Aqua-acupuncture: a hypodermic needle introduces sterile fluid – like vitamin B12 or saline – into acupoints
Acupressure: instead of needles, hands and fingers are used to stimulate acupoints
Hemo-acupuncture: a hypodermic needle draws a few drops of blood from a vessel to release heat from the body
Moxibustion: warming an acupoint with burned herbs near – but not touching – the skin