Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat disease and promote health in animals and humans. It is a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. TCM is a complex system of medicine in which the energetic forces in the body must be brought into balance to treat and prevent disease. Vital energy, called “Qi” (also spelled “Chi”) flows through the body on pathways known as meridians. If Qi does not flow freely, pain and illness can result. Herbal medicine is another important part of TCM as is Tui-na, a form of therapeutic massage, and food therapy, in which diet is used to prevent and treat disease.

Acupuncture in its traditional form involves the insertion of “dry” needles, which are sterile metal needles much smaller than a hypodermic needle, into specific points on the meridians called “acupoints.” In scientific terms, this results in the release of endorphins from the brain, immune system stimulation, an increase in blood flow to the area, and pain reduction from activation of the body’s own opioids. The effects of acupuncture may begin almost immediately but can sometimes last for weeks. Acupoints may also be treated using heat (moxabustion), electrical stimulation (electroacupuncture), finger pressure (acupressure), injection of sterile fluids such saline, B-vitamins or blood (aqua-acupuncture), or injection of air (pneumo-acupuncture).

Although acupuncture is minimally invasive and comparatively safe, it is considered to be a medical procedure and should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian who has completed advanced training.

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