What is acupuncture? Acupuncture is an ancient technique that originated in China thousands of years ago to prevent and treat illness and relieve pain. This treatment regime involves inserting extremely fine needles into specific points on the body and is fast gaining widespread acceptance as an alternative therapy for people and animals.
How does it work? Acupuncture is believed to produce an abundance of good health effects by enhancing or restoring the natural flow of energy (qi) in the body. According to acupuncture theory, qi circulates along meridians, or pathways. Each of these meridians links to internal organs and organ systems. Acupoints are the hundreds of spots along the meridians where needles can be inserted to stimulate the flow of qi, primarily affecting the muscular, skeletal, hormonal and cardiovascular systems.
A growing number of practitioners have discovered that animals benefit from acupuncture similarly to the way humans benefit from this treatment. Besides relieving pain and muscle spasms in animals, it stimulates their nerves and defence system, and provides numerous other health benefits. Simply put, acupuncture makes an animal relax and feel good. Acupuncture naturally stimulates the immune system by releasing various hormones, which improves an animal’s response to injury and stress. It promotes blood cell production and increases the circulation, rhythm and stroke volume of the animal’s heart.
What can it treat?
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries
- Degenerative, arthritic joints
- Digestive disorders eg, colic, inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Respiratory problems, nasal discharge, cough, wheeze, heaving.
- Nervous disorders including traumatic nerve injury Is it painful?
How will my animal react? Acupuncture is usually performed with ultra-thin, sterile, disposable stainless steel needles. They occasionally experience a brief moment of sensitivity as the needle penetrates the skin in certain areas. Once the needles are in place, most animals relax. In fact, they often fall asleep during treatment. When an animal is nervous or sensitive to needles we use laser acupuncture instead.
Is it safe? Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available when practised by a competent acupuncturist. Side effects are rare. As treatment balances the body’s healing system, and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely develop.
VetCare recommends Acupet for animal acupuncture.