What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture may be defined as “the stimulation of a specific point on the body with a specific method, resulting in a therapeutic homeostatic effect”.  The specific point on the body is called “Shu-xu” or acupuncture point (acupoint).  The ancient Chinese people discovered 361 acupoints in humans and 173 acupoints in animals.

What does acupuncture do?

Modern research shows that acupoints are located in the areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles and lymphatic vessels.  Most acupoints are motor points.  Many studies indicate that stimulations on acupoints induces release of beta-endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters.  Acupuncture for pain relief is well supported by these studies.

What is Qi?

The ancient Chinese discovered that the health of the body depends on the state of Qi (pronounced “chee”).  Qi is the life force or vital energy.  There are two opposite forms of Qi:  Yin and Yang.  Physiologically, Qi flows throughout the body 24 hours a day, maintaining a balance of Yin and Yang.  When the flow of Qi is interrupted by any pathological factor such as a virus or bacteria, the balance of Yin and Yang will be lost and consequently a disease may occur.

Pain is interpreted as the blockage of Qi flow (or lack of free flow of Qi).  Acupuncture stimulation resolves this blockage, freeing the flow of Qi and enabling the body to heal itself.  Homeostasis is restored when Yin and Yang Qi are in balance.

What are the different acupuncture methods?

Acupoints may be stimulated in a variety of ways.  These include dry needling, moxibustion (uses a warming herb to heat the needles), aquapuncture (using injectable substances such as B12 in the acupoint), electro-acupuncture (uses electrical stimulation on the needles).  Whichever tools are used, the goal is always the same:  to restore the flow of Qi and allow the return of homeostasis.

How long does a treatment last?

Generally the needles are in for about 20 minutes.

How many treatments are needed?

This depends on the nature, severity, and chronicity of the disease.  For an acute condition, a single treatment may be enough.  A series of 3 to 10 treatments can resolve many chronic conditions.  Some degenerative conditions may need a regular monthly maintenance schedule over time.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Proper acupuncture treatment may induce a sensation of heaviness along with contraction of local muscle.  Most patients are comfortable with the therapy; some will fall asleep during the treatment.

How do you keep the animals still for the treatment?

Pet owners will often help keep their pets from moving around the room by simply holding a collar or leash.  Many pets will simply lay down during treatment and go to sleep. (see photographs page!)

What are the physiological effects induced by acupuncture?

Studies have shown acupuncture to induce pain relief, regulate gastrointestinal motility, reduce inflammation, boost immune regulation, help regulate hormones and reproductive functions, reduce fever and promote microcirculation.

When is acupuncture indicated?

Clinical trials show that acupuncture therapy can be effective in many conditions including:

musculoskeletal problems - muscle soreness, back pain, disc problems, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease
neurological disorders - seizures, laryngeal paralysis, facial paralysis, hindend weakness
gastrointestinal disorders - diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation
other chronic conditions - asthma, Cushing’s Disease, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, renal failure, skin conditions and allergies, geriatric weakness.

Why is acupuncture frequently combined with Chinese herbs?

Often the use of Chinese herbs will improve the result of the treatment.  Herbs support the effect of the acupuncture.  In some cases, herbal treatment may be used in lieu of acupuncture (usually in the case of an animal that will not allow the needling).

Will special diets be recommended?

Different foods have different energetic properties--some are warming, some are cooling, etc.  We will be discussing your pet’s diet in relation to the Traditional Chinese Medical diagnosis that we determine.

How much does acupuncture treatment cost?

A typical first visit lasts approximately 1 and 1/2 hours and costs $135 including the treatment.  Follow up visits last 45 minutes and are $85.  If the visit is a house call, there will be an additional fee which is dependent on time and mileage.