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In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine the body is seen as an integrated energetic being in which vital energy flows along channels, merdirans, throughout the body maintaining health and life.  Disruptions in this energy flow leads to disease processes and/or pain.  Acupuncture is the ancient practice of stimulating points along the meridians, acupoints, to promote healthy energy flow and thus, the body’s own healing abilities.

Today very fine, sterile needles are used to activate acupoints to encourage energy flow.  Sometimes needles are stimulated with a fine electric current, electroacupuncture, for a more powerful effect or, injections of saline and, or Vitamin B-12 may be given in acupoints for a longer lasting effect.  It is thought that the central nervous system is stimulated by activation of acupoints to release chemicals leading to changes which encourage the body’s natural healing abilities.   

Documented research of the effects of acupuncture is tricky as pets with the same conventional diagnosis may have different imbalances or, pattern diagnosis and thus, different treatment plans. However, some interesting papers have come out including one noting the effect of electroacupuncture stem cell release: https://stemcellsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/stem.2613

Tui-Na Acupressure Massage

Tui-na massage is a form of traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate acupoints that involves the use of pressure and movement to promote relaxation, reduce pain, improve circulation and to address imbalances leading to health issues.  It can be used in place of acupuncture in sensitive pets and some techniques can be practiced at home as “homework.”

Veterinary Medical Manipulation (Chiropractic)

Veterinary Medical Manipulation, like Chiropractic care in humans involves focused, gentle small movements to help relive restrictions in normal joint function.  When the body is restricted from full range of movement, not only is activity compromised, but neurochemical communication between its parts is blocked as well.

Chinese Herbal Therapy

Just as different acupoints affect the body’s energy flow, over thousands of years changes observed after consumption of different parts and preparations of plants (fruit, seed, leaves and roots) were discovered to have variable effects on energy flow through the body.

Today, prepared combinations of herbs are prescribed in pill, powder, liquid and even treat forms for picky patients to help reestablish balance within the body.

Chinese Food Therapy

Individual whole foods have similar effects on energy in the body as acupuncture and herbs. Foods, categorized by color, taste, temperature, and even cooking method and used to correct the imbalances found in the Chinese medical pattern diagnosis.

Treatment can vary from simply choosing prepared pet food containing recommended protein and vegetables, addition of cooked foods to the current diet, or entirely home prepared pet pet food.

As fresh food is always healthiest, I encourage you to check out BalanceIt.com for veterinary nutritionist guided home-cooking for pets.