Acupuncture for Animals

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Acupuncture history, theory and practice

The Three Emperors
from 'The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine' - Veith

Main Site (over 600 pages of information and opinion):

Acupuncture originated in Ancient China, possibly about 4,000 years ago. The oldest known medical text book, the 'Huang-Ti Nei-Jing Tsu-Wen', which outlines the theory and practice of acupuncture as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), was written in Q & A format.

Sharpened spikes of bone were probably the first acupuncture 'needles' but early experiments might have been with the effects on pain and illness of finger pressure in certain places, possibly a chance discovery at first (acupressure). Needling would probably have developed from there on.

The model of the world and of the body is different in Traditional Chinese Medicine from that accepted in modern times in the UK. However, using the constructs that were worked out then can still result in reliable predictions of responses. There is more than one way to explain natural phenomena.

The theory upon which we base our veterinary acupuncture work at the AVMC is that energy (balance of yin and yang - negative and positive) flows throughout the body, following definable routes known as 'channels' or 'meridians'. The rhythmical flow of energy follows a 24-hour cycle (circadian rhythm). If the normal balance or the normal and regular flow is interrupted or disturbed for any reason, whether through trauma or other 'pernicious influence', then disease (dis-ease) will follow.

The Ancient Chinese worked out charts of these acupuncture channels or acupuncture meridians in humans. Along each of these meridians are situated a series of acupuncture points. These have been well-established for humans and there has been broad consensus, down the years. In animals, however, there are horse acupuncture charts and dog acupuncture charts but these and the horse acupuncture points and dog acupuncture points are less broadly agreed.

The work of the acupuncture vet is to restore energy balance, flow and rhythm to the body, to enable it to carry out its healing processes. Any potential obstacles to recovery must be removed and diet must be optimised for the patient. The ancient practitioners also used spinal manipulation, as an integral part of their treatments.

In the interests of best hygiene and disease control practice, we use pre-packed, disposable, sterilised needles. This is especially important now that 'bluetongue' has reached the UK.

Equine Acupuncture - Canine Acupuncture - Feline Acupuncture -

The veterinary acupuncturist must attempt to restore balance, flow and rhythm to the patient's body, to enable it to heal itself. Needling (or other point-stimulation) may be performed at places in the body that are far removed from the perceived site of the problem. Acupuncture point stimulation is rarely done alone at the AVMC. We also use of internal medicine, whether using herbs or integrated homeopathic medicine and make such alterations to lifestyle and diet as are necessary to remove healing obstacles and appropriately nourish the body. Chiropractic manipulation, done at the same time, also appears to be an essential bed-fellow. This is clearly a truly 'holistic' practice, rooted in a culture thousands of years old.

Some Western interpretations of acupuncture use simple needling, without the holistic foundation that was an integral part of this ancient form of medicine. Whether using ancient philosophy or modern holistic practice, we believe it to be essential to explore diet, lifestyle and internal medicine, along with chiropractic manipulation and needling, for best results.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, some of the ancient remedies do not fit in with the philosophy of the AVMC. At the AVMC, we avoid animal-unfriendly or ecology-unfriendly remedies or methods. Whatever the perceived medical benefits of body parts from rare animals, for instance, we do not use them. However, we do otherwise admire the very exhaustive holistic approach that is embodied in TCM.

Christopher Day is a holistic vet and acupuncture vet with more than 40 years of experience in the field of holistic veterinary practice.

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Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre
Chinham House
Stanford in the Vale
Oxfordshire SN7 8NQ
Tel.: 01367 710324
Fax: 01367 718243
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