What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. For thousands of years, the Chinese have utilized this modality of medicine for treatment and even prevention of ailments. Acupuncture can be used alone or along with traditional Western medicine. More recent research with humans utilizing functional MRI studies (fMRI) have confirmed positive responses with acupuncture. While it is not able to cure every condition, it has many instances where it can be utilized with positive results. What conditions would respond to acupuncture treatments?
1. Musculoskeletal conditions such as intervertebral disc disease, arthritis, traumatic injuries (especially to nerves)
2. Respiratory problems
3. Dermatologic problems, such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
4. Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea
5. Some reproductive problems
Consult with your veterinarian to discuss how acupuncture may fit in with your pet’s wellness plan.
How does acupuncture work? From the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society:
Although acupuncture has its roots in ancient times before modern scientific methods were available with which to study it, many important studies have been done to indicate how acupuncture works and what physiologic mechanisms are involved in its actions. Using functional MRI (fMRI), to examine 15 different points, the basic tenets of acupuncture have been proven. Those are that acupuncture is based upon the point selected, the method of stimulation, and the duration of stimulation. Stimulation of these points result in specific changes in the central nervous system. It was shown that acupuncture points that have pain relieving properties associated with them tend to activate specific pain-association brainstem regions. The National Institute of Health developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.
In western medical terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture’s physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be conducted to discover all of acupuncture’s effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.
Choosing A Veterinary Acupuncturist
A veterinarian must take additional training to become a certified veterinary acupuncturist. Dr. Adams has undergone training through CuraCore Medical Acupuncture course based out of Colorado.
This course focuses on the medical aspects of acupuncture, as well as the science behind the treatments and how they can benefit your pet.
Additional information regarding acupuncture can be found at www.ivas.org.