This treatment was developed in southern China more than 2,500 years ago. The Chinese discovered that they could stimulate healing within the body by stimulating certain special points called 'Acupoints', by using needles.
These points are distributed along lines of energy called channels or meridians and are associated with specific organs.
Acupoints used by a vet are generally transposed from human acupuncture and can be found all over your dog or cat's body; they are rich in nerve and blood vessel supply. It has been shown scientifically that needling carefully chosen acupoints causes the release of endorphins - which are morphine-like substances.
Acupuncture treatment aims to restore the balance by stimulating or depressing particular organs using the appropriate acupuncture points. For example, infection is a heat pathogen i.e. an excess of heat, therefore it needs cooling by stimulation of the water elements. This is why the acupuncture needle is not always inserted in the area where the problem is located.
The acupuncture points are found at different depths. The ones near the surface are about the size of a pea and the deeper ones about the size of a penny. If an acupuncture point is in need of stimulation it is tender to the touch and an acupuncture needle placed in the correct position penetrates the tissues easily and without pain. The needles remain in place for about 10-20 minutes depending on the needs of the individual patient. A point that does not need stimulating, or because of treatment no longer needs stimulating, often resists the entry of an acupuncture needle. Finding the tender points can often help the Vet in diagnosis.
When acupuncture needles are used they are much thinner than normal hypodermic needles, very flexible and are usually made of stainless steel - although gold, silver or copper can be used depending on whether a stimulating or suppressing effect is required.
Cat Acupuncture Session: This cat is fully conscious - a sensation is likely to be felt when the needles are inserted but once they are in place, they are painless.
Stimulation of acupoint sites is being done by inserting very thin sterile acupuncture needles through the skin to prompt a response. Needles need to be left in place for 10-20 minutes. Gently twisting the needles stimulates them.
The frequency of treatment will depend on the diagnosis/condition of the patient.
Acupuncture is not used solely for lameness or joint / back pain but can be beneficial in respiratory, digestive and urogenital conditions in the cat or dog too.
If you would like more information please contact reception on 01225 793335 and a referral can be arranged to see Jan Bradshaw MRCVS. She charges £30 a session and your pet is likely to need 4-6 weekly sessions.