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Acupuncture

An alternative way of looking at pain, disease, and health.

Acupuncture is a technique that is part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that has been used for over thousands of years to treat pain and disease. It has been endorsed as a medical treatment option in humans by the National Institute of Health since 1995. Acupuncture points are specific points over the body located along pathways called meridians. According to TCM, meridians are the channels by which energy flows throughout the body. Disruption or blockage of this energy flow can cause pain or disease. Acupuncture is used to re-establish energy flow and to restore the body to a balanced state. Despite the artistic language that is often used to describe it, acupuncture is a very scientific and evidence-based therapy. An acupuncture treatment involves placing needles in acupuncture points to cause specific changes in the local tissues, and throughout the body. Many research studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters and hormones. It also causes the release of endogenous opioids (the body’s own pain relievers) and cortisol (the body’s own anti-inflammatory agent). Acupuncture has also been shown to stimulate the nervous system, increase blood circulation, increase lymphatic flow, and decrease the body’s inflammatory response. The end result is that acupuncture can help reduce or eliminate pain, reduce inflammation, promote healing, stimulate or regulate the immune system, and treat other disease processes. Acupuncture may also be useful for treating behavioral problems.

Acupuncture can be useful in the treatment of:


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Is acupuncture safe?

A: Acupuncture is very safe, and side effects are very uncommon, when treatments are performed by a qualified veterinarian. The most common side effect is lethargy or tiredness for 24 hours after the treatment.


Q: Will it hurt my pet?

A: Acupuncture needles are very thin, much smaller than needles used to give injections. Most animals are very comfortable with the placement of acupuncture needles, and have no reaction to needle placement. Some animals have more sensitive skin, and will experience brief sensitivity with needle placement. Many animals fall asleep during the treatment.


Q: How many needles are used per treatment?

A: The number of needles and location they are placed may vary per treatment, even with the same patient. The number placed depends on patient age, response to previous treatment, and other factors.


Q: How long do the needles stay in?

A: It depends. The average treatment lasts about 20-30 minutes, but treatment times vary based on patient tolerance, the disease that’s being treated, and many other factors.


Q: When will I start to see results?

A: Some animals show improvement with the first treatment, however it may take 4-6 treatments before significant improvement is seen.