What is medical acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in humans to treat hundreds of different ailments, as an integral component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In the TCM view, acupuncture needles are placed at points that influence the flow of “qi” along meridians (energy channels), and help the body restore balance.
In the last 50 years, a great deal of research has been done on understanding if, how, and why acupuncture is beneficial. Research, anatomy and physiology are the basis of medical acupuncture. This approach sets aside the mystical explanation from TCM and focuses on scientific evidence. For instance, we now know that acupuncture increases intrinsic opioid peptides (morphine like substances that naturally occur within the body) in the central nervous system, directly influencing the body’s reaction to painful conditions. We also know that acupuncture has effects locally, it has effects at the level of nerves entering the spinal cord (which is part of why points along the back are so often used), and it has effects on physiology within the brain itself. It can aide in not only pain relief but also affect pathways that influence internal organ function, such as abnormal gastro-intestinal motility.
What to expect during an acupuncture treatment
- Initially, Dr. Anstaett will thoroughly review your pet’s history with you, perform a complete physical exam, and work with you to make an individualized plan for your pet.
- Every session will start with an exam of the musculature of your pet’s neck, back, and limbs, assessing for areas of tension and pain.
- Everything done during the treatment session is aimed at making this a positive experience for your pet. A calm environment is fostered during the treatment; this allows your pet’s neurologic system to more easily respond to the needle stimulation in ways that down-regulate pain, and encourage homeostasis (physiologic balance). Treat rewards are given upon your approval, as well as plenty of praise and affection.
- Each acupuncture needle is a single use, sterile needle that is very thin (0.12 to 0.2mm in diameter) and flexible, so it bends with your pet if he shifts position or he is moving around during the treatment.
- Needles are placed in a relaxed, never rushed fashion, again to make the experience as positive as possible for your pet. Once needles are in place, Dr. Anstaett will leave them there for approximately 10-15 minutes. Periodically during this period she will stimulate the needles, rotating them back and forth to continue to activate nerves in these areas. During this time, affection, reassurance and treats are given as well.
- Following removal of the needles, Dr. Anstaett will give your pet an all-over massage, for his enjoyment and comfort, as well as to allow the Dr. to re-evaluate for areas of pain and tension, and assess his overall physical and emotional reaction to the treatment.
- Each treatment session lasts approximately 30-40 minutes.
Conditions that may benefit from acupuncture
- Neurologic injury such as intervertebral disc disease
- Musculoskeletal pain such as osteoarthritis and muscle pain
- Cancer pain
- Gastro-intestinal motility disorders
- Urinary bladder dysfunction
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic bronchitis and asthma
- Upper respiratory issues such as chronic rhinitis, upper respiratory infections, and mild to moderate laryngeal paralysis
- Lick granulomas and wound healing
- Adjunctive post operative pain relief
- Dry eye
To schedule an acupuncture consultation, contact AESC at 720.842.5050 today!