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How does it work and why is it helpful?

The scientific lens of research has shown that acupuncture can trigger the release of neurotransmitters and hormones, including endorphins, which can have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.  Changes in the periaqueductal grey matter of the brain may account for some of the long-lasting pain control that is observed.  The needles may also trigger local muscle and connective tissue rebalancing and improve circulation.  There are ongoing studies about how acupuncture needles can influence the mechanical properties of the fascia that envelop all the tissues and organs of the body, potentially changing tissue tension, elasticity and internal pathways of communication. ​ An alternate lens through which to view acupuncture is the lens of Classical Acupuncture.  Classical Acupuncture views the acupuncture meridians as representing our development and serving as reservoirs in which to hold the challenging experiences of life (emotional, physical, and infectious) at bay in order to stay alive.  This understanding of the stories hidden in the body can enable the rebalancing of the body's behavior, immune system, and nervous system in profound ways.


What is it?

Acupuncture is the practice of using very fine sterile needles to stimulate specific active points of the body that can help restore harmony and health.  It has been practiced, studied, and developed over thousands of years in Asia. Depending on which technique is used, it can decrease pain, restore balance in the muscles and connective tissue after injuries, rebalance distorted emotional states, help resolve autoimmune disease, treat degenerative and inflammatory organ diseases, treat multiple areas at once, and more.

Who can benefit from it?

In veterinary medicine, acupuncture is widely used to help individuals suffering with the pain of arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, and lingering musculoskeletal injuries. However, acupuncture is helpful for many other issues as well, such as: • Behavioral issues, especially stubborn ones present since puppyhood or linked to a specific traumatic event • Chronic stubborn diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (for example, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, chronic vomiting). • Other chronic stubborn diseases such as sinusitis, asthma, atopy/allergies, and epilepsy. • Autoimmune disease (ex: lupoid onychodystrophy). • Organ inflammation (ex: hepatitis, gallbladder inflammation). • Organ degeneration (ex: kidney disease, heart disease, laryngeal paralysis). • And more.


What should I expect?

An initial appointment is one hour in length and includes a review of the patient's medical history. Records must be made available to the practitioner at least two work days before the appointment date to allow a full review. For more complicated cases, pet guardians are invited to write and email a summary of the medical history which can optimize how much can be done in that first appointment. The initial appointment also includes a review of clinical signs for a Chinese medical diagnosis, as well as a physical exam. After this, there will typically be a chiropractic exam and treatment to optimize the ability of the body's nervous system to respond to the acupuncture without significant obstruction. A treatment plan will be discussed which includes the specific frequency of appointments, as well as discussion of a reassessment point. Reassessment is typically anywhere from one to three months after the start of the treatment, depending on how chronic the issues are, and what their severity is. Acupuncture is rarely a one-time magic bullet - life is generally much too complicated for that! Resetting our bodies from old patterns takes time, but acupuncture *is* magical in terms of accessing our body's systems, and giving us a chance to reset those systems so as to change disease trajectories that seemed otherwise set in stone. It is truly a gift to be able to offer this modality of therapy to our patients. Please note: Some acupuncture protocols will require homework for the pet guardian, such as: acupressure (holding or tapping the acupuncture points), moxa (using a lit stick of packed mugwort to provide gentle heat by hovering over an acupuncture point), and/or application of minute amounts of essential oil at acupressure points. Homework is dependent on the individual case, and takes into account a patient's personality as well as the owner's willingness and ability to utilize these protocols at home.

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