What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles in specific locations on the body. Through the insertion of small acupuncture needles in specific acupuncture points, neuropeptides (biological substances) are released in the brain, which has a wide range of influences on the body. It can release specific endorphins, a body’s self-produced painkiller and thus relieve pain from neck, back or other joint injuries. It is a great modality especially in providing quality of life to our geriatric patients.
How Does it Work?
Acupuncture produces a physiological response. It can provide pain relief, stimulate the immune and nervous systems, increase microcirculation and decrease inflammation. Acupuncture can also gel restore balance between organ system for optimal health and overall wellbeing.
What Does It Help Treat?
Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of symptoms, some of the conditions include:
- Degenerative joint disease
- Neurological disease (seizures, disc disease)
- Cardiovascular and respiratory disease
- Renal disease
- Skin disease
- Post operative healing
- Behavioural issues
Is it Painful?
As it mainly involves the insertion of specifically designed needles, you must be wondering whether it will hurt your dog. When the needles are inserted, your dog may feel mild pricks, however it is basically painless. In fact your little pet should feel comfortable and relaxed while undergoing this therapy.
Is it Therapy Safe?
It is one of the safest forms of treatments to cure certain diseases. You can say that it has almost no side effects except drowsiness for one to two days after getting the treatment. However, to get it done effectively, one of the most important requirements is to find a properly trained veterinarian.
Types of Acupuncture
Dry Needle – most commonly used technique utilizing sterile,
disposable needles of varying lengths and widths.
Moxibustion – Moxibustion works by warming the acupoint and produces physiological responses.
Moxa sticks are crushed and dried leaves of the herb Artemisia argyi rolled into a cigar shape.
The herb is burned and then placed over an acupoint without touching the skin or singeing the hair.
Electro-acupuncture – wires are attached to the needles and connected to an electroacupuncture machine.
When this is turned on, it controls the frequency and amplitude delivered to each acupoint and provides a
more effective stimulation.
Applications of Acupuncture:
Geriatric Medicine – Acupuncture is used to manage pain in geriatric patients thereby avoiding the use of pain killers with side effects. It is also used to treat mobility issues associated with arthritis or neurologic weakness. It is also a way to effectively manage pain in geriatric patients that are too weak to undergo conventional therapy or surgery.
Sports Medicine – Acpuncture is used to treat a variety of tendon, ligament and muscle injuries by increasing blood flow which promotes healing. Pain Management: Acupuncture stimulation produces an analgesic effect, generally called acupuncture analgesia. The release of β-endorphins may be one of the pathways in which acupuncture relieves pain.
Sedation – Last but not least, acupuncture can be highly effective in sedating and calming some patients. I have even used acupuncture sedation to remove skin growths in a 15 year old dog. She continued to sleep for half an hour after the procedure!
Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of various painful conditions in animals. These conditions include painful cervical, thoracolumbar, and lumbosacral conditions from disk herniations, trauma and degenerative joint disease, chronic lameness, degenerative joint diseases and colic.
Precautions should be used in the use of acupuncture in weak and debilitated patients, pregnant animals and animals with cancer.
For more information contact Phoenix Rising Integrative Veterinary Care