What is Acupuncture?

Veterinary AcupunctureWHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE? 

Acupuncture is a medical art developed over 2,000 years ago.  The acupuncturist places needles at specific sites on the body called acupuncture points, and may also incorporate hands-on techniques to facilitate the healing process.


The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body over its surface.  These channels (or meridians) course like blood vessels and lymph vessels, flowing through the body, irrigating tissues with nourishing life force.  Any obstruction in the flow of these channels acts like a dam that backs-up flow in one part of the body and depletes it in others.  The modern scientific explanation of acupuncture is that by placing needles in precise points on the body, one can influence the nervous system to release neurotransmitters and hormones that will help the body regain optimal function.  These improvements, produced with the help of acupuncture, stimulate self-healing and promote harmony in the body and mind.


The World Health Organization recognizes that acupuncture is helpful in a broad range of medical conditions in humans; similar successes have been found with animals.  Examples of health problems treatable with acupuncture include digestive disorders, respiratory ailments, musculoskeletal conditions, neurologic problems, immune systems disorders, and many others.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 3.35.25 PMHOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL MY ANIMAL NEED? 

The number of treatments required varies between animals.  For long-standing problems, weekly treatments for several months may be recommended whereas in acute situations, fewer visits often suffice.  We generally suggest an initial trial of four treatments spaced at weekly intervals, to see if acupuncture will be helpful for your animal.


There are rarely adverse effects to acupuncture treatments.  Occasionally, symptoms may worsen for a day or two, as the energy in the body is being redirected and internal healing begins.  You may notice a small bruise at needle locations, although with animals, you are unlikely to see anything.  Although there are no reports in contemporary veterinary literature of injury or infection in animals resulting from acupuncture, in rare instances it’s possible that puncture of an organ or vessel could take place.


Veterinary patients seem to feel the needles being stimulated when initially placed, but few mind the needles once they are in place.  Acupuncture needles are disposable, thin, and designed to penetrate the skin quickly and easily.  Most animals appear relaxed and at ease during treatment and after acupuncture.