Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a branch of one of the oldest, most commonly used medical systems of healing in the world. Originating in China some 3,500 years ago, it has emerged in the United States in the last four decades.  According to Chinese medical theory, life force energy, or Qi (“chee”), flows through the body in pathways called meridians. When energy does not flow smoothly, disease occurs. The goal of Chinese Medicine, including herbs and acupuncture, is to restore normal flow of Qi in the body.


Acupuncture is a form of therapy that promotes natural healing of the body.  The science and art of acupuncture involves insertion of needles into specific points in the body.  Acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy and an increasingly popular form of healthcare.  


How does acupuncture work?
There are two explanations that help explain the mechanism of how acupuncture benefits our pets, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western scientific explanation.  Most of us are more familiar with the Western appraoch to health and disease, so that will be discussed first.  


Acupuncture has a variety of therapeutic effects on the body and its action seems to vary depending on the type of pathology.  It is thought that acupuncture primarily produces its effects through regulating the nervous system which aids the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body.  In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones.  These effect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person's blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.  


Scientists have shown that when acupuncture points are stimulated, there are predictable biochemical changes in the patient. Acupuncture alters the blood circulation, reduces inflammation, allows for muscle relaxation and results in the release of chemicals that relieve pain.


In the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. TCM likens the body to a highly complex electrical circuit. Like any electrical circuit it must be kept in good working order if it is to function effectively, and if the circut breaks down, the result is illness. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a "balanced state" and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi along along the meridians. 


TCM theorizes that it is essential for qi, as well as blood, to circulate in a continuous and unobstructed manner for good health of mind and body. Acupuncture meridians are the pathways through which the energy flows through the body. Acupuncture points lie along the meridians and provide gateways to influence, redirect, increase, or decrease the body's vital substances, qi (energy), and blood, thus correcting many of the body's imbalances. 


Will acupuncture hurt my pet?
Acupuncture needles are thin, stainless steel needles, only slightly larger than a human hair. They are barely felt by most patients. Most animals are very relaxed druing treatments, and often fall asleep.  Needles are usually left in place for twenty to thirty minutes, depending on the goal of the treatment. Initially treatments are scheduled weekly or every other week, and as the patient responds, sessions are scheduled less frequently.  Eventually, with animals that are doing well, occasional maintenance treatments are needed to promote health and well being.  


Will acupuncture help my pet?
Commonly, it is used to treat arthritis and for pain control. But many animals with chronic skin disease, orthopedic injuries, disc disease and other nerve problems, respiratory illness, behavior issues, and intestinal disease, often respond well to acupuncture. It also supports older patients and those with cancer by improving their quality of life.  


Will Acupuncture Interfere with Other Treatments?
No.  Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with any other therapy and almost always enhances the effects of other treatments.  


What is Integrative Medicine?
It is a comprehensive form of medical care offered by Dr. Gary Stuer, who is trained in both Eastern and Western Medicines. By joining together these two systems, he views patients as whole living beings, with an appreciation for all aspects of health and disease. Dr. Stuer uses Chinese Medicine’s diagnostic tools to recognize early signs of disharmony in the patient. This creates entirely new possibilities for maintaining health, treating illness and preventing diseases from progressing. Every patient receives a treatment plan that best suits his or her individual needs.  
 

What to Expect . . .
During the initial consultation, Dr. Stuer will thoroughly review your pet’s medical history. Please bring along information about diet and medications that have been prescribed. A complete examination will be performed using both Eastern and Western skills. Dr. Stuer will then recommend a plan that may include a series of acupuncture treatments, Chinese herbs, nutritional therapy and/or prescription medication. He will consult with the other health care professionals involved with your pet’s care.