What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the act of placing a needle into the body at specific points. Acupuncture is over 3000 years old. Acupuncture is also used as preventive treatment against various acute and chronic conditions in animals. Since then acupuncture has evolved into what it is today. In modern times acupuncture and herbal medicine is taught in medical schools and research is ongoing to better understand the neurophysiologic basis of acupuncture.
What Happens When the Needle is Inserted?
Local effects of Needling
- Capillary dilation and immune activation
- Tissue repair activation
- Local and supraspinal control
- Reduce inflammation
- Normalize circulation
- Release of met-enkephalin, B-endrophin, Dynorphins
- Increased serotonin levels.
How Does it Feel?
An acupuncture needle can feel different to different individuals. The feelings elicited by a needle can vary from a pinprick, a dull ache, a cramp, or a sensation of a “traveling” impulse. Humans report a sensation of warming, tingling, numbness, or heaviness and can have a red flare around the needle. Often individuals don’t even feel the needle. Most animals tolerate acupuncture very well and progressively relax throughout the treatment.
Is It Safe?
Acupuncture needles are disposable thin stainless steel needles that are sterile and individually wrapped. It is one of the safest therapies utilized if practiced by a competent acupuncturist. Side effects are rare. Because acupuncture balances the body’s own system of healing and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely, if ever, develop.
How Does This Help Control Pain?
The stimulation of acupuncture points causes a release of endogenous opioids and improves circulation through vasodilatation due to the release of substance P and histamine.
Conditions in which to Consider Acupuncture
Musculoskeletal and neurological
- Arthritis and hip dysplasia
- Intervertebral Disk Disease
- Nerve injuries/paralysis
- Muscle soreness
- Back pain
- Tendon injuries
- Lick granulomas
- Wound healing
- Irregular cycles
- Hemorrhagic Follicles
Urinary tract disorders
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder
Numerous other conditions have responded to acupuncture as well.
Acupuncture is a complementary medicine treatment and should not replace traditional western medicine treatments but can be used to lower the dosages needed in some disease states and sometime eliminate the need for drugs. There are a few conditions in which acupuncture can be harmful or delay the diagnosis of. Because of this, it is important to always have a good western medicine diagnosis prior to acupuncture treatment!
How long does a treatment last?
The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient. Treatments may last up to 30 minutes. Frequency of treatments depends on what is being treated. Treatments can range from once weekly to twice yearly depending on what is being treat. Typically, a series of treatments give best results.