Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical technique that primarily involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to help to bring the body back into a state of equilibrium.
Acupuncture has been used in people and production animals by the Chinese for at least four thousand years. Since the 1970s the technique has become better known in Western countries and has been applied to domestic animals like cats and dogs with great success.
Nowadays, acupuncture is becoming well accepted by both the medical and veterinary professions as an alternative treatment that in some instances gives results far in excess of regular Western medicine.
How does Acupuncture work?
The Chinese have developed highly complex theory to guide the practitioner of acupuncture. This theory has been refined through careful observations of the patterns of disharmony in humans and animals over millennia.
Acupuncture from a Chinese perspective influences the flow of energy (Qi) through energy meridians that run between the internal organs and close to the surface of the body. By selecting certain combinations of acupuncture points the functions of the internal organs and structures along the meridians can be improved.
Much research has been carried in recent years to try to explain the mechanisms of acupuncture from a scientific, Western viewpoint. It has proven to block painful stimuli at the level of the spinal cord and also cause the release of a number of other natural substances in the body that help to relieve pain and inflammation (for example endorphins—natural morphine-related chemicals), and to influence brain neuro-transmitters and a variety of hormone levels.
The needles are very sharp so their insertion is not very painful and the release of endorphins often makes the animal relax during treatment.
What conditions can Acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can be used alone or in combination with other treatments to control a wide variety of disorders. It is particularly useful for conditions of the musculoskeletal system such as arthritis, lameness, spinal disease and muscular pain. It can also be used to treat diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal, cardiac, respiratory, reproductive, urinary and immune systems as well as skin conditions.
Acupuncture is very safe and does not have the side effects sometimes seen with drug therapy. Pam Short was certified as a Veterinary Acupuncturist by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 1995 and has since built a strong reputation in the field. She now receives referral cases from all over Sydney.
Mark Hocking has also been using acupuncture at GVH since completing the International veterinary acupuncture society course in 2001.
What does Acupuncture treatment involve?
This brochure provides some background information as an aid to clients who are considering acupuncture treatment for their pet. The treatments are generally well tolerated by the animal and are normally performed in a consultation room with the owner present.
Each treatment lasts 10-30 minutes and most frequently occur at weekly intervals. Some animals will improve rapidly after a treatment, others may get a little worse for about a day before improving and others will need several treatments before any improvement is noted.
The number of sessions involved is dependant on the problem being treated. If you have any questions relating to Acupuncture, Pam Short or Mark Hocking will be very happy to discuss them with you.