The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised acupuncture since 1979 as effective in the treatment of at least 49 disorders.
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points of the body which, when stimulated, produce biochemical reactions and reactions in the neurological system, with the objective of restoring the health and wellbeing of the patient.
Does acupuncture really work?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised acupuncture since 1979 as effective in the treatment of at least 49 disorders. A list which has been extended thanks to research over recent years. The WHO has divulged the results of clinical trials for a number of years. Acupuncture points are currently standardised by this organisation. The WHO has published documents and guides which recognise acupuncture as “a way of improving on modern medicine, being a simple, cheap and effective therapeutic option”.
On the 16th of November of 2010, UNESCO declared acupuncture to be Intangible Cultural Heritage..
History and evaluation of acupuncture
For more than 4000 years the most common and popular medicine in the world has been traditional Chinese medicine. Even nowadays, it is the medicine of first choice of over 25% of the world population. These results have not been obtained through beliefs based on myths and legends, but through its obvious results.
Part of this traditional Chinese medicine is acupuncture, which is currently used in western human medicine.
Acupuncture in animals has been used for thousands of years in oriental countries. Proof of its great effectiveness is that it has survived through to our days.
In the 90’s it experienced a significant boost, and came to be offered as a subject in Universities of Medicine in the United States and Europe, as well as in some Faculties of Veterinary Science.
Currently, the Andalucian Health Service (SAS) provides acupuncture in its health centres.
Medical indications for acupuncture
Dogs, cats, horses and other animals all benefit from the effects of acupuncture:
- Musculoskeletal disorders: arthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, post-surgical rehabilitation, back problems, radial nerve paralysis, ligament and tendon problems, femoral paralysis, Wobbler’s syndrome, shoulder pain, scapula pain, hip pain, etc.
- Neurological disorders: intervertebral disc disease, nervous disorders, paralysis
- Pain relief: acute pain, chronic pain, relief of post-surgical pain
- Skin disorders: otitis, allergies, wounds that won’t scar, pruritis
- Gastrointestinal disorders: intestinal inflammatory disease, diarrhoea, constipation, megacolon, loss of appetite, impaction, abdominal pain,
- Respiratory disorders: asthma, dyspnea, cough, nasal discharge, congestion
- Renal disorders
- Disorders of the reproductive system: metritis, vaginitis, retention of placenta, agalactia, mastitis
- Metabolic disorders: Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism
- Stimulates the natural defences of the organism
- It is an alternative when side effects from medication are of concern
- It can be used when surgery is not an option
- It can be used for disorders that do not respond to medication
Along general lines, acupuncture can be used:
- as principal therapy, when it is selected as the method of choice
- as a support for conventional treatment
- acupuncture can be considered an alternative therapy when standard treatments have been proven to be ineffective.
Traditional Chinese medicine advocates the use of medicinal plants, chiropractic and specific diets as necessary companions to acupuncture. This explains some of the failings of the modern application of western acupuncture, where it is applied without complementing it with holistic therapies.It is not unusual to use acupuncture with other therapeutic modalities.
It is especially useful as a bridge between medicine and surgery.
We do not seek to replace other medicinal modalities when these are adequate.
Alternative medicines are not a cure-all “miracle”. Both western medicine and its natural alternative have their strong points and their weak points. Ideally, they can be used together, in such a way that the weak points of one can be compensated by the benefits of the other.
Knowing how and when to integrate acupuncture in the treatment of disorders requires considerable clinical expertise and prudence.
Is your animal a candidate for acupuncture?
If you are considering using acupuncture on your animal, what do you think will happen when you visit the acupuncture vet?
- We will take down a detailed medical history of the animal and its symptoms. In some cases, we will need to carry out x-rays or blood tests.
- Your animal will be examined and the data will be compiled from the clinical examination
- We will establish a diagnostic plan
- The vet will inform you of the possibility of treating your animal with acupuncture.
In some cases, one sole treatment is sufficient. But it is not the norm. Normally, acupuncture requires various sessions. It will depend to a large degree on the disorder to be treated and its evolution.
Perhaps more so than in habitual therapies, you should know that the professional care on the part of the vet is given personally to the patient. Therefore, the owner must feel comfortable discussing treatment options. He or she must be sure that acupuncture is not a panacea. Finding out about Veterinary Acupuncture and choosing a vet in whose expertise and value judgements you can trust, are essential requisites.