Acupuncture is the treatment of conditions or symptoms by the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to produce a desired healing effect. Modern research shows that acupoints are located in the areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles and lymphatic vessels. Most acupoints are motor points. A great number of studies indicate that stimulation of acupoints induces release of beta-endorphin, serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Therefore, acupuncture for pain relief is well supported by these scientific studies. As more studies are conducted, the mechanism of this ancient therapy will be better understood.
Vital Energy or Qi
The ancient Chinese discovered that the health of the body depends on the state of Qi (pronounced chee). Qi is the life force or vital energy. There are two opposite forms of Qi: Yin and Yang. Physiologically, Qi flows throughout the body 24 hours per day, maintaining a balance of Yin and Yang. When the flow of Qi is interrupted by any pathological factor (such as virus or bacteria), the balance of Yin and Yang will be lost and consequently a disease may occur. Pain is interpreted as the blockage of Qi flow (or no free flow of Qi). Acupuncture stimulation resolves this blockage, freeing the flow of Qi and enabling the body to heal itself. Homeostasis is restored when Yin and Yang Qi are in balance.
Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture therapy can be effective in the following conditions:
- Musculoskeletal problems: muscle soreness, back pain, disc problems, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease.
- Neurological disorders: seizure, laryngeal hemiplegia facial and radial verve paralysis.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation and impaction.
- Chronic conditions: anhidrosis, heaves, asthma, cough, uveitis, behavioral problems, cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, infertility, hyperthyroidism, renal failure, geriatric wellness, skin problems.
- Performance enhancement and prevention of disease.
Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner. Very few side effects have been found in clinical cases. Each session may take 20 to 60 minutes. A single treatment may be enough for an acute condition. A series of 3 to 10 treatments can resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may need monthly treatments over time. A proper acupuncture therapy may induce distention and a heaviness sensation, along with contraction of local muscle. Over 95% of patients are comfortable with acupuncture therapy. Some animals will fall asleep during acupuncture treatment. Sedation is not recommended before acupuncture treatment as it may interfere with the acupuncture effect. Only licensed veterinarians are eligible to practice acupuncture in most states in the USA. Dr. Linda Bender is certified in veterinary acupuncture by the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.