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A veterinarian is a medical jack of all trades. She's a physician, dentist, diagnostician, surgeon, psychiatrist, podiatrist, and orthopedist. Today, some are taking on the role of acupuncturist. Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles through the skin at strategic points of the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the life force flows through the body along set pathways, and acupuncture is a way to treat pain by rebalancing this flow of energy through these meridians . Western practitioners view the insertion points as places where the nerves, connective tissues, and muscles are receptive to stimulation that increases blood flow and gives a boost to the body's natural pain killers
The Long and Winding Road of Acupuncture to Today's Veterinarian
Although acupuncture traces its origins back 4,000 years to China, the word was coined in the early 1600s by Willem Ten Ryne, a Dutch physician, who learned of it when he visited Nagasaki. His definition is needle puncture, not unlike that of the Chinese character, Chen, which means to prick with a needle. To trace its derivation back even further, the Chinese looked to the Stone Age when early man used sharp-edged stones or stone knives to puncture and drain abscesses.
The ancient practice took a meandering route to global adoption. Korea and Japan assimilated it into their medical treatments in the Sixth Century. Commercial Commercial brought it to Vietnam sometime between the Eighth and Tenth Centuries, and the Jesuits carried it to France in the Eighteenth Century. From there its spread was, while relatively direct, somewhat cautious. Forward-thinking physicians and researchers studied it in the early part of the Nineteenth Century, but it wasn't until the latter half of the Twentieth Century that it found its way into the United States and Canada, and eventually into select veterinary practices.
Acupuncture Treatment and the Twenty-first Century Veterinarian
Our veterinary office is proud to be among those select few who offer the treatment. While we do not guarantee that acupuncture is the absolute answer to your companion animal's condition, we have found that it reduces pain and works on the central nervous system, and by extension, the bones, muscles, and cardiovascular system. In addition to inhibiting pain and increasing circulation, the procedure quiets muscle spasms, releases neurotransmitters that stimulate nerves and neurohormones such as endorphins, the body's natural answer to pain.
Most pets tolerate the needles quite well. Some even fall asleep once they are all in place! Since it is not a once-and-done treatment, your companion will need to see the veterinarian at intervals, that depending on her condition, may be as infrequent as the typical once a week for a period of four to six weeks, or as frequently as once or twice a week. While we would like to be able to guarantee that your beloved charge's illness will respond to acupuncture, we cannot make that statement with any more certainty than we can that the condition will respond to any prescribed medication.