Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice of insertion of needles into specific points on the body which are areas of concentrated nerve endings and immune system cells.
Stimulation of these points by various methods (needles, vitamin injections, laser, electro-acupuncture) activates pain-associated brainstem regions and helps improve healing and pain control. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.
In western medical terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Studies have shown that acupuncture stimulation induces the following physiological effects:
- Pain relief
- Promotion of tissue healing processes
- Regulation of gastrointestinal motility
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Antifebrile effects
Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture therapy can be effective in the following conditions:
- Musculoskeletal problems: muscle soreness, back pain, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, degenerative myelopathy, traumatic nerve injury, chronic pain
- Neurological disorders: intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), seizures, laryngeal hemiplegia, and facial and radial nerve paralysis
- Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation, and impactions
- Respiratory problems such as feline asthma
- Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
- Other chronic conditions: asthma, cough, uveitis, renal failure, chronic liver diseases, behavioral problems, infertility, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and geriatric weakness
- Quality of life, maintenance, performance enhancement, prevention of disease, and hospice care
- Any condition may potentially benefit from acupuncture!
For more information, learn more from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, American Association of Veterinary Acupuncture, and Acupuncture for Animals by Dr. Steve Marsden.