What is Medical Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture is a therapeutic method that usually involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles. Modern medical practitioners developed medical acupuncture as an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture. Instead of relying on inexact metaphors to describe the body’s responses to treatment, we utilize current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, all in keeping with evidence-based medicine.
We emphasize the importance of a type of physical examination called “myofascial palpation” that allows the veterinarian to determine the location and sources of discomfort and dysfunction. Sometimes, diagnostic imaging and bloodwork can be beneficial to allow a thorough assessment of the whole health of the patient. We use all this information to make a complete evaluation and formulate an appropriate plan incorporating medication, acupuncture, and other integrative modalities as needed.
What Can Medical Acupuncture Do?
Treatment with medical acupuncture and its related techniques of laser therapy and certain forms of massage help by promoting health and well-being, by preventing illness, and through addressing a variety of medical conditions and pain problems. It can also have value as an asset for quality of life in some of our patients seeking hospice care.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The main therapeutic effects of needling begin with activation of nerve fibers near a point. These stimuli then bring about changes that help to balance nerve signaling and neurotransmitter activity from the “periphery” (i.e., the acupuncture point) to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and autonomic nervous system centers (that govern processes like glandular activity, immune status, digestion, mood, and more).
Acupuncture also releases tension from the muscles and enveloping fibrous network called “fascia”.
How Many Treatments Will Be Needed?
The number of treatments needed differs from patient to patient. For difficult or long-standing conditions, he or she may need one or two treatments weekly for several weeks. Usually, however, one sees a change in the patient within the first few treatments if the acupuncture is going to make a meaningful difference.
What Are Some Specific Benefits?
Research on acupuncture is continually building and strengthening the scientific and evidence-informed basis of medical acupuncture. In addition to its well-known effects on acute and chronic pain, medical acupuncture addresses a wide range of medical issues, most commonly including:
• Neurologic problems such as peripheral neuropathy, sciatica, spinal cord injury, disk disease, and nerve based pain problems
• Musculoskeletal complaints, including knee pain, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, back pain, neck pain, and much more
• Hospice care to help preserve quality of life
What Side Effects Might There Be?
Uncommonly, an acupuncture patient could experience a temporary worsening of the condition. Usually, however, most side effects are mild and even pleasant – a sense of relaxation, an improvement in sleep, or improvement in digestive tract transit. If something concerns you, contact Circle B Veterinary Hospital immediately!