Acupuncture is part of the Chinese system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM includes acupuncture which most Americans are familiar with and also herbal medicine, exercise, diet (nutrition) and a form of manipulation known as tui-na.
Acupuncture is part of the Chinese system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM includes acupuncture which most Americans are familiar with and also herbal medicine, exercise, diet (nutrition) and a form of manipulation known as tui-na
The word acupuncture was derived from the Latin words acus, meaning “needle” and pungare meaning “to pierce”. Acupuncture is defined as the technique of inserting specialized needles into specific locations on the body to treat various diseases or painful conditions.
Acupuncture is believed to have originated in China however there has been some evidence indicating it was used as far back as the Stone Age and evidence has shown its use in China, India and Tibet. Regardless, it flourished in China and eventually spread from there to the Western world. Veterinary acupuncture was used in China during the Shang and Chow dynasties (2000-3000BC). In 650 BC the first veterinary textbook, Bai-le’s Canon of Veterinary Medicine by Sun-Yang was based on acupuncture.
In the western world, the use of acupuncture has only become popular for animals in the past three or four decades. Interest grew as results were observed. In 1974 the Acupuncture Society of America assumed the task of overseeing and regulating the practice of acupuncture in the US. One year later, the organization became the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
As an overview, TCM evaluates the animal as a whole and bases its findings on the harmony or lack of harmony found in the animal and the environment. Sickness is not a function of the pathology (disorder) of the organs but rather a symptom of a disharmonious relationship of the animal to its environment.
There are several acupuncture techniques that can be used. The most common method is dry needling – where an acupuncture needle is inserted into a specific point and left there for 15-20 minutes. An electric current can occasionally be sent through these needles for a different type of stimulation. Another technique used is called aquapuncture and it is where a hypodermic needle is used to instill a small amount of liquid, generally Vitamin B or saline, into an acupuncture point for a stimulation that lasts until the liquid is absorbed (20min to an hour). Sometimes the needles may be warmed using an herb known as Moxa – this is used in arthritis or other conditions that are worse in colder climates or the winter season. Acupressure can be used to stimulate an acupuncture point without the use of a needle in those animals that are intolerant of even the fine acupuncture needles.
Because acupuncture has been shown to increase blood and lymphatic flow to tissues, stimulate nerve function, increase the release of neurotransmitters and pain modulators and influence the inflammatory responses.