The use of needles to stimulate certain points on the body (often referred to as meridians). Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an ancient, well-known, effective medical method. Conventional, integrative, and alternative veterinarians use acupuncture for cancer treatments, pain relief, nausea, and other benefits.
The Needles Used in Acupuncture
The needles used in acupuncture are tiny and very thin—usually around the width of a strand of hair or less. They’re inserted into the skin at specific points on the body, called meridians. These meridians connect to different organs and bodily functions, so when the needles are inserted, they stimulate the flow of energy throughout your dog’s body.
Acupuncture for Pain Relief
Acupuncture can be used to treat many different types of pain, including:
- Allergic reactions
- Arthritis and other joint problems
- Back pain
- Hip dysplasia and other orthopedic conditions
Dogs who are suffering from chronic pain can benefit from this form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture may be able to help with both the physical and emotional aspects of chronic pain in dogs. One study found that acupuncture was as effective as traditional conventional medical treatment for patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and low back pain. Another study found that patients receiving acupuncture had improved quality of life over those receiving conventional medical treatment alone.
The Calming Effects of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a great way to help your dog feel more relaxed and comfortable. By inserting needles into specific points along the body, acupuncturists can affect your pet’s nervous system, resulting in a decrease in both behavioral signs and physical pain. The process of acupuncture is also known to promote deep relaxation, which may be helpful if you have trouble getting your dog to sleep or find that they wake up in the night with nightmares (no judgment here).
The calming effects of acupuncture are particularly beneficial for dogs who suffer from extreme anxiety or aggression. This can be an especially useful option for families with multiple pets—if one of them has an aggressive streak that makes it difficult for others in the house to relax, then introducing acupuncture sessions as part of their routine could help everyone get back on track!