Acupuncture is a safe natural alternative therapy that enlists the body’s healing mechanisms to maintain homeostasis and manage disease processes. Numerous professional athletes, such as David Cone, Matt Hasselback, Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber, have taken advantage of the healing effects of acupuncture. There is compelling evidence that it activates the body’s natural pain inhibitory process, has local inflammatory effects, provides relief from muscular trigger points and interacts with the autonomic nervous system to affect internal organs. Free nerve endings, small arterioles and veins, lymphatic channels and numerous white blood cells have been shown to be located at acupuncture points to mediate the effects of acupuncture in the body. It works primarily through effects on the central nervous system but also affects the musculoskeletal, hormonal and cardiovascular systems. When a needle is placed in an acupuncture point, it causes a release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones (such as natural endorphins in the body) to relieve pain. It also relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves, stimulates the immune system, increases blood flow and decreases inflammation.
Acupuncture is performed with sterilized thin, filamentous stainless steel needles. It is not painful and the patient feels the needle only as it goes through the skin. Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available when practiced by a competent veterinary acupuncturist.
Since the effects of acupuncture are often cumulative, a course of treatment over a period of weeks is generally recommended. In addition to needles, there are many ways of stimulating an acupuncture point. Stimulation with heat (moxibustion), electrical stimulation (electroacupuncture), injections of dilute solutions into acupuncture points (aquapuncture) and infrared light therapy are common modalities that are available at Atlantic Coast Veterinary Specialists. These procedures often enhance the duration and effect of the acupuncture depending on the condition being treated. Acupuncture is commonly used for:
- Pain control
- Musculoskeletal disease including post-operative orthopedic surgery, osteoarthritis, trigger point therapy, and joint dysplasia
- Neurologic disease including intervertebral disk disease, FCE, seizures, neuropathies, vestibular disorders, and to improve the comfort of patients with degenerative myelopathy
- Gastrointestinal disorders causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain
- Dermatologic disorders such as allergic dermatitis, chronic skin disease, and otitis externa
- Behavioral problems
- Cardiovascular and Respiratory diseases including rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, chronic coughing, circulatory disorders, and asthma
- Urogenital disorders such as urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, and chronic kidney disease
- Immune stimulation
- Oncology patients – to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and improve overall vitality of the patient
- Geriatric patients – especially those who have reached the end of the line with conservative Western medical treatment
Acupuncture can be successfully combined with conventional veterinary treatment. In many cases, integrative medicine will provide the best clinical outcome. It can also offer geriatric patients with chronic debilitating conditions a treatment option other than euthanasia. At Atlantic Coast Veterinary Specialists, we understand that providing the best possible quality of life for your pet is important. Our acupuncture service is committed to helping you achieve this goal in a caring and compassionate way.
Click here to learn more about veterinary acupuncture.