What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been around for nearly 4000 years. It originated in China as a means for treating disease in humans and animals. Much of the explanations pertaining to acupuncture refer back to Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM philosophy for treating disease. Because of this it can be difficult to interpret or explain how acupuncture works, because much can be lost in the translation and differences in cultural philosophies. One of the explanations offered is that acupuncture is treating an imbalance in the energy field or Qi in the body, by stimulation of key points in the body with very thin needles. The term “Qi” is commonly used today when explaining eastern medicine, but does not necessarily offer a clear explanation of what is actually happening.
Dr. MacLellan has been trained in “medical” acupuncture, or scientific based acupuncture at Colorado State University. Medical acupuncture is an evidence based modality for treating many different conditions. Of special consideration is the use of acupuncture to stimulate the body’s own endorphins (natural chemicals found within the body) and neuroregulatory pathways to relieve pain. By introducing a very fine needle to certain points in the body that have been found to contain nerve bundles, chemical pathways are triggered and the information is passed along through the nervous system to effect the response desired. These points have been extracted from human acupuncture points that were identified by the early Chinese healers many years ago, and continue to be researched and modified today. In simple terms the effects of the stimulation of these points can lead to increased blood circulation, relief of muscle spasms, calming effects on the behavior of the animal, hormone release, pain control and a truly “natural” method for the body to heal itself.
What are some of the uses of Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been known to treat many different types of medical conditions. In some cases, acupuncture is the owners or patient’s last efforts for trying to control a painful condition that does not respond to traditional methods.
All types of conditions and disease can be treated with acupuncture, but some conditions are better treated with surgery, pharmaceuticals/herbs, or chiropractic manipulation. Each patient is given a thorough physical exam and history evaluation, to determine if acupuncture is the right treatment for them. Appropriate diagnostics such as blood tests, radiographs, ultrasound will be recommended if deemed necessary. If necessary further workup/treatment may be necessary at your regular veterinarian’s.
Acupuncture is used together with western medicine, chiropractic care, and nutritional intervention to treat the “whole body” and is truly complementary. Acupuncture is both diagnostic and therapeutic.
Trigger point therapy:
Trigger points are un-natural points found on the body that may be a result of over stimulation of the muscles, or nerves. They can be a result of an injury, stress, or lack of exercise, causing very sensitive spots that when initially stimulated cause intense pain. Acupuncture is used at these “trigger points” in the muscles and break the pain cycle, enabling the muscles to relax and the pain to stop.
Sterile acupuncture needles are used at specific acupuncture points located on “meridians” that were identified by Chinese practitioners thousands of years ago. This is called “dry needling” . There are specific medical conditions and organs that respond to the points being stimulated. These points have anatomical designations or names that do not necessarily correspond to the organ or condition being treated. For example GV 20 is a point on the head that is used to calm the animal, GV stands for Governing vessel meridian. BL 60 is a point that is used for pain control and is on the Bladder meridian, and is located at what would be our ankle. Because of the thousands of years of practice and research that has been done, we know that even one point stimulated can have an effect in another part of the body with a positive response and treatment.