Kirsty Raistrick has completed the ABVA (Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists) Foundation course and offers acupuncture sessions for both cats and dogs.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions and effects when stimulated. It has been practiced by the Chinese and other Eastern cultures for thousands of years and can be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Scientific Approach
- Combined Approach
The Chinese approach to disease is very holistic, encompassing all aspects of health and well being. Emotional, hereditary and environmental factors are considered important elements in disease patterns. The philosophy and aim of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore equilibrium between physical, emotional and spiritual factors – thus restoring and maintaining health. Treatment involves using needles in specific acupuncture points (often in combination with herbal therapy) to address imbalances in Yin and Yang as well as improving the flow of Qi and blood. Scientific research into acupuncture has made enormous progress over the past 40 years and now explains much of acupuncture’s actions which had previously only been understood in the ancient concepts of health described in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This has brought about the greater recognition and acceptance of acupuncture within the scientific community. Early research focused mainly on pain relief and the endogenous opioid responses to acupuncture, however, further advances have revealed potent normalizing effects to the hypothalamus and autonomic nervous system. This has opened the understanding of its use in all manner of internal medical disorders including respiratory, digestive, and reproductive problems. The Yin and Yang balance paradigm can now be explained by the correlations with the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system and this helps bring the holistic view of health back into focus. By combining these two approaches, acupuncture may be particularly effective in the treatment of chronic disease states – either to complement orthodox treatments or when orthodox medicine fails.
For Which Conditions is Acupuncture Indicated?
Acupuncture is indicated for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. The following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Back Pain e.g. spondylitis/spondylosis & disc disease
- Arthritis e.g. hips, stifles, hocks, elbows, shoulders
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome & Myofascial Trigger Points
- Hip Dysplasia
- Muscle & Ligament sprains/strains and spasms
- Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
- Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
- Chronic Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea
- Urinary & faecal incontinence
- Stress related disorders
- Immune Dysfunction
- Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI)
How Does Acupuncture Work?
It has been shown that acupuncture points that have pain relieving properties associated with them tend to activate specific pain-association brainstem regions. The National Institute of Health developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain. In western medical terms, acupuncture can help the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can relieve muscle spasm, stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture’s physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be conducted to discover all of acupuncture’s effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.
Is Acupuncture Safe for Animals?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are extremely rare. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.
How long will the treatment session take?
Initial session will take around 45 minutes to complete and sessions from then onwards are around 20-30 minutes. The frequency of treatment sessions are individual to each case and will be discussed in your first session. As a general rule usually it is recommended to have 1-2 treatment a week for 4-6 weeks and then the frequency of treatments can be reduced.
If you are interested in acupuncture please contact the centre to discuss our treatments further.