Acupuncture is one of the most well-known therapy branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a thousand-year-old system, used to assess disease and imbalances in the body. It includes Acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, dietary therapy, Tui Na (massage therapy) and movement and breathing techniques like Qi Gong or Tai Chi. Pulse, tongue, complexion and a detailed patient history are only a few things used to diagnose the system in the body that is affected. Using that information, practitioners can formulate an individual treatment strategy.
In recent years more and more people are searching for alternatives to modern western medicine, not only for themselves, but more often for their animal companion as well.
Acupuncture is probably the most well-known therapy branch of TCM and is widely used in humans for ailments such as arthritis, skin complaints, chronic pain, digestive issues and many more. Normally humans get between 8-10 treatments as an introduction and then the situation is assessed from there. Animals on the other hand respond much more quickly and in most cases there are only between 1-3 treatments needed to get results. In very chronic cases you may need more treatments but in general animals respond readily to acupuncture treatments. In animals, the ailments that can be treated with acupuncture include acute or chronic lameness, arthritis, eye problems, skin complaints, digestive issues, respiratory problems and many others.
A lot of pet owners are concerned that the pain of the acupuncture will be too much for their pet, or that they will not tolerate the treatment. It is amazing to watch how most pets respond to the treatments and that they seem to enjoy it and relax into it. Not all animals are the same and you will get different responses. During or after an acupuncture treatment, the signs you might see in your pet are change of breathing, closing of the eyes or blinking more frequently, yawning, licking and chewing (specially in horses but also dogs and cats), dropping of the head and changing their stance. Some just fall asleep or are so deeply relaxed that they hardly move.
What Can You Do?
After an acupuncture treatment your pet normally needs between 1 and 3 days off any type of work to ensure the biggest benefit. In bad cases or with injuries, like a muscle tear, the time needed for recovery can be longer. Keep your pet comfortable and make sure they have got fresh water, because after treatments they can be thirstier than normal.