Acupuncture in the treatment of animals

Acupuncture was first used in the treatment of animals over 3000 years ago in Asia. An elephant was found to have a stomach disorder similar to bloating, and was healed by the placement of slender needles at specific points on his body. Since that time acupuncture has been used all over the world to alleviate many kinds of health problems for many different species.
Acupuncture has been used all over the world to alleviate many kinds of health problems for many different species. It was first developed in Asia between two and five thousand years ago.

How does it work?

Acupuncture is based on the concept that qi (pronounced chee) flows through and is a part of all living things. Qi is a Chinese word that has been translated as “breaths,” “life force,” or simply “energy.” The literal translation is difficult to pin down since written Chinese uses pictograms to encapsulate ideas, and we all know how many words a picture is worth! Ancient Greek provides us with a more familiar concept: “pneuma.” “Pneuma”  is used to form the words pneumonia and pneumatics. The common element in these concepts is the movement of something that can neither be seen nor measured directly. The effects of that movement are observable, however.

Qiflows through all living things: nourishing, warming, uplifting, and providing a basis for all the functions of life. Acupuncturists have mapped out the flow of Qi in channels that they call meridians. There are specific places along these channels called acupuncture points which, when stimulated, enhance the body’s natural healing capacity. The result is vitality, tranquility and robust health.

Restoring Balance

When stress, injury or other trauma blocks the flow of Qi, the homeostatic mechanisms of the body are interrupted. The result is visible, familiar symptoms such as lameness, illness and pain. Acupuncture treats the source of the problem along the meridian channels, effectively moving theQi through the body in such a way as to restore health and eliminate pain. Acupuncture works with the body, enhancing the capabilities of systems already in place, particularly the immune and endocrine systems. With physical balance restored, generally emotional equilibrium and happiness follows.

Commonly asked questions about acupuncture 

What actually happens during a treatment

The individual reactions to acupuncture needles are many and varied. Sometimes that reaction is visible and sometimes not! During the treatment, your animal friend will begin to relax and may even enter a quiet, sleepy state for a short time until the needles are removed. The shifts in energy level and symptoms may be seen during or after the treatment, or sometimes the next day.

Can I still see my Veterinarian and continue medications?

Absolutely. You can and should continue to work with your veterinarian while using acupuncture for your pet. Acupuncture enhances and complements other medical treatment, facilitating a smooth return to balance and health.

To find an animal acupuncturist in your area visit the international veterinary acupuncture site  or

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