Acupuncture is a medical treatment that involves placing needles in particular anatomical points on the body causing both local and distant healing effects. It is part of a system of medicine developed by the Chinese over 4,000 years ago. It includes the combined use of medicinal herbs, therapeutic massage and lifestyle changes to improve health and treat illness.
The body is divided into multiple 'meridians' or pathways that transport energy called Qi (chee) which is thought of as the life force of the individual. In health Qi runs uninterrupted and free flowing, keeping the body in harmony with both itself and the world around it. Dis-ease is caused by obstructions or blockages in the flow of Qi.
I liken it to the opening and closing of sluice gaits in an irrigation system allowing water to flow where it is needed most. These blockages cause pain, swelling and tenderness in nerves and joints causing arthritis, hip dysplasia and spinal injuries. Functional disorders like liver disease, intestinal inflammation and malfunction can be helped through acupuncture treatments.
The placement of needles in particular points cause the release of 'endorphins', natural pain killers produced by the body that relieve spasms and improve blood flow to the area or organ involved. This relieves the obstruction and allows normal flow and function to return.
The acupuncture points are situated on these 'meridians'. These are the channels that course along the body through specific anatomical regions. Each meridian affects a particular location in the body and acupuncture points are chosen based on the disease process and how it manifests itself.
Abdominal pain and colic can be helped by treating particular points. Many colicky horses will still need to be tubed with mineral oil but acupuncture helps restore intestinal motility and allow them to return to normal function in the intestine. Laminitis (founder) is a condition that is multifactorial in its presentation and very difficult to treat even with the best of conventional approaches. Acupuncture offers another tool in our toolbox to improve the outcome in such a devastating disease. Severe spinal disease and even paralysis have been helped dramatically with acupuncture. Many times when surgery is not option acupuncture can offer real promise in helping these animals.
Combining both acupuncture and chiropractic can improve outcomes and provide long term benefits in the face of chronic disease.