Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments; the Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing.
The number of treatments needed depends upon the nature, severity, and duration of disease. A single treatment may be enough for an acute condition, while a series of 3-10 treatments can resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require monthly treatments over a long period of time.
Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner; very few side effects have been found in clinical cases. In fact, over 95% of patients are comfortable with acupuncture therapy; some animals will even fall asleep during acupuncture treatment. Sedation is not recommended before acupuncture treatment as it may interfere with the acupuncture effect. It should also be noted that proper acupuncture therapy may possibly induce distention and a heaviness sensation along with contraction of local muscle.
Numerous studies show that acupuncture stimulation induces these physiological effects:
- Pain relief
- Regulation of gastrointestinal motility
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Hormone and reproductive regulation
- Anti-febrile effect; microcirculation promotion
Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture therapy can be effective for the following conditions:
- Musculoskeletal problems: muscle soreness, back pain, disc problems, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease
- Neurological disorders: seizure, laryngeal hemiplegia, facial and radial nerve paralysis
- Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation, impaction
- Other chronic conditions: anhidrosis, heaving, asthma, cough, uveitis, behavioral problems, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, infertility, hyperthyroidism, renal failure, geriatric weakness, skin problems
- Performance enhancement
- Disease prevention
Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated. Dr. Annemarie Yoder, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, has been practicing acupuncture for many years, improving the overall health of many of her patients.