Could This Ancient Treatment Help Your Pet?
“It does not matter whether medicine be old or new, so as long as it brings about a cure. ” - Jen Hsou Lin, DMW, Ph.D
Acupuncture is an alternative healing modality that has been used to treat illness and alleviate suffering for thousands of years. Not only has it entered the mainstream for people, it has become a popular treatment option for pets too!
It is said that animals in China have been treated with acupuncture for well over 3000 years. In the last few decades, this ancient practice has been adopted by many veterinarians in the west as a non-invasive, drug-free way to help achieve better health outcomes for beloved pets. We’ve noticed more and more pet parents have become curious about how this age-old therapy could benefit their four-legged friends. So, we’re covering all your animal acupuncture questions below.
How does acupuncture improve pet health?
The goal of acupuncture is to promote the body to heal itself. From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine perspective, it encourages healing by correcting energy imbalances. Like people, cats and dogs have around 365 key acupuncture points in their bodies. During an acupuncture session, a number of these points are selected with the pet’s medical concerns in mind. Paper-thin needles are then inserted into these points to help bring the energy flow back into balance and to create positive physiological responses. These responses include a release of muscle tension, improved blood circulation and lymphatic flow. They also work to stimulate your pet’s nervous and immune systems to help activate the body’s natural healing mechanism.
There are a myriad of success stories, but acupuncture also stands up well to scientific investigation. Studies have found that acupuncture sessions can create actual changes in the brain and nerves of patients! Various scans have found that needle insertions can induce the release of endorphins (feel-good, pain relieving hormones) and stimulate neuromechanical mechanisms that diminish pain and promote healing for your pet.
What will an acupuncture session look like for your furry friend?
Because every four-legged family member is different, sessions are designed to suit their individual needs. It’s comforting to know that most animals don’t seem at all bothered by the sensation of the needles. In fact, some don’t feel them and some even become quite sleepy and relaxed once the needles are in place. This is because pets often experience a release of tension during treatment and the relaxation effect of this can then cause them to drift off.
When it comes to treating a pet’s dis-ease or discomfort, results are often more effective when acupuncture is used in conjunction with mainstream methods, but it can be used as a standalone treatment, depending on your pet’s circumstances. This modality is particularly helpful where western treatment options have been exhausted, are unaffordable or prohibited by a pet’s age or constitution.
If you would like to know more please feel free to contact the Sunset Vets team at [email protected].