Acupuncture was developed in China thousands of years ago for both humans and animals. It involves the stimulation of specific points on the body to promote homeostasis. Traditional medicine has shown that these points are areas rich in free nerve endings, and that stimulation results in the release of neurotransmitters and hormones. Due to these effects, acupuncture is very effective at providing pain relief, and can aid in treating a variety of issues, from nerve paralysis and muscle atrophy to certain chronic eye and respiratory conditions.
An acupuncture session for a horse typically begins with a “scan”. This involves palpating the patient at specific points and looking for a reaction from the patient. Different points correspond to different parts of the body, and can help identify problem areas. Once the problem areas are identified, treatment can begin, and a variety of techniques may be used. Dry needling involves simply placing needles of varying lengths in different points, depending on the patient’s diagnosis. Electro-acupuncture involves hooking dry needles up to electrodes, allowing for electric stimulation of certain areas of the body. This is somewhat similar to a TENS unit used in humans. Aqua-acupuncture involves injecting certain points with liquid (typically vitamin B12) to enable longer stimulation of these points. Treatment sessions last between 20-60 minutes, depending on the patient and the techniques used.
Interested or have questions? Talk to Dr. Brown, or better yet, come to the Winter Lecture Series “Eastern and Western Medicine – What Advanced Diagnostics, Therapies, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Adjustment can do for Your Horse” in January to learn more! Find it on Facebook!
Dr. Brown received her certification Spring 2014 from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine. For more information on Equine Acupuncture and their program : Click Here.
Reprinted with permission from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.