Author: Dr. Matt Miller
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. Through the use of small needles inserted at specific points across the body, acupuncture is focused on promoting the body’s natural healing responses to help with the management of pain and other diseases. Studies have shown that acupuncture points themselves are areas that contain large numbers of nerve pathways, immune cells, and small blood vessels. Stimulation of these points can promote the release of endorphins and serotonin, as well as help stimulate the immune response and mediate inflammation in the body.
In western medicine, acupuncture is most commonly known as a tool used in the management of pain conditions. It can be especially helpful in cases of chronic pain such as arthritis where pain medication alone may not be completely effective, or in older patients with other health conditions that might limit the use of long term medication. Acupuncture has also been shown to be very helpful in the management of issues such as intervertebral disk disease that can lead to weakness or loss of mobility, by helping to stimulate the nerves and promote healing and formation of new nerve pathways. In one study, it was even found that in some cases acupuncture could be as effective as decompressive surgery at restoring function! Acupuncture can also be used as part of an integrative treatment plan to assist in the management of other chronic diseases such as renal disease and cancer by helping to manage pain, reduce nausea, and help stimulate appetite.
While acupuncture may not be appropriate for every patient and every condition, it can be a useful tool in the toolbox as part of an integrative treatment plan. If you are interested in learning more, please speak with our staff to find out if acupuncture may be a good option for your pet.
Dr. Miller is certified in veterinary acupuncture through Chi University.