What is Acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is an ancient medical treatment which uses very small, fine needles inserted at specific points on the body. Acupuncture is part of a system of medicine called Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, TCVM for short. TCVM uses a combination of Acupuncture, diet, herbal medicine, exercise and massage as a means to facilitate healing and re-balancing of the body’s vital energy Qi, Pronounced Chi.
Acupuncture stimulates the body’s own self-healing mechanisms through the release of pain and inflammation relieving chemicals called neurotransmitters, increasing local blood circulation, regulation of the immune system and relief of muscle spasm to name a few.
Acupuncture is an effective and safe way to directly interact with nervous, endocrine and immune systems to achieve improved health without the side effect commonly seen with medications and surgery.
What conditions does it treat?
Acupuncture treats a wide variety of ailments. While most research studies have been done on acupuncture’s effectiveness relieving pain, it has also been used successfully for thousands of years to help with many disease processes including but not limited to:
- Acute and chronic musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain; such as that caused by arthritis, a slipped disk, or a torn cruciate ligament.
- Gastrointestinal issues like inflammatory bowel disease.
- Skin problems including allergies.
- Immune mediated diseases including certain anemias.
- Respiratory issues like asthma.
- Endocrine disease such as diabetes and cushings disease.
- Internal medicine diseases like kidney or liver failure.
- Behavioral issues such as separation anxiety or OCD.
- Neurologic issues including seizures.
- Cancer, while rarely providing a cure, Acupuncture and TCVM can help make the patient more comfortable.
How safe is acupuncture and does it hurt?
Acupuncture is very safe in the hands of a licensed veterinary practitioner. The biggest side effect can be a sleepy pet for 1 to 2 days after a treatment. After this time, the pet generally feels much better than prior to the treatment. On occasion, a pet will be sore for a few days after a treatment has been done. The soreness in a sign of healing and again, the pet will almost always feel significantly better in 1 to 2 days.
95% of pets tolerate acupuncture very well. We always respect the pet’s comfort and tolerance of needling. Acupuncture needles are very fine and nearly hairlike in size. If acupuncture is not accepted, we use other means of treatment including diet change, herbal medicine, physical therapy, massage, and laser therapy.
What should I expect if I schedule an Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine consult?
The first visit generally takes thirty to forty minutes. Acute problems may be treated in as few as 1 visit. Chronic conditions may initially need to be seen as frequent as once every 2 weeks for 3 to 6 treatments; decreasing frequency of visits as the problem has been resolved or well managed. Well managed cases may only require semi-annual or annual visits thereafter.
How quickly can I expect to see results?
Results are usually seen within 1 to 4 visits. If we are not achieving satisfactory results after 3 to 4 visits, we will adjust the treatment plan by adding other modalities such as laser therapy, physical rehabilitation or underwater treadmill as well as by changing medications and/or herbal supplements.