Alternative Medicine and Acupucture
According to ancient Chinese medical philosophy, disease is the result of an imbalance of chi, or life force, in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy, and thereby assist the body to heal disease.
In Western 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 to discover all of acupuncture’s effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.
Acupuncture is indicated mainly for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis and pain. For companion animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may potentially be treated with acupuncture:
Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis or vertebral disc pathology
Minor sport injuries
Skin problems, such as lick granuloma
Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea
Selected reproductive problems
-Used with permission of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society
Dr. Elaine Hughes has been practicing veterinary acupuncture for 5 years and was certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in February, 2010. She uses an integrative approach to treatment, using acupuncture, supplements, exercises and medications as appropriate. Acupuncture treatments are initially administered once weekly for 3 weeks, with needles being in place for approximately 30 minutes each session. About 75% of dogs with degenerative joint disease (i.e. arthritis) and intravertebral disc disease appear to benefit from acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture is especially helpful for pain relief in animals that cannot tolerate prescription pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs.
Please contact Dr. Elaine Hughes with any questions regarding acupuncture and whether it could be beneficial for your pet.
For more general information regarding veterinary acupuncture, please visit www.ivas.org.