Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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What is medical acupuncture?

What is Medical acupuncture and how is it different than traditional acupuncture?

Medical acupuncture is similar to traditional eastern acupuncture in many ways.  It involves placing needles in points throughout the body to cause a specific effect.  However, the theory behind it is vastly different.  Medical acupuncture is based in science.  It combines our current knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology to prescribe a specific treatment regimen to a specific diagnosis, resulting in a specific change in the body.  The  diagnoses are based on complete myofascial (muscle and connective tissue), neurological, and orthopedic examinations.

What conditions can acupuncture treat?

In humans acupuncture has been studied for the treatment of a multitude of disorders, many of which our pets can suffer from too.  The most common use for acupuncture is to treat pain.  This may be acute or chronic pain conditions, post-surgical pain, neck pain, back pain, dental pain, abdominal pain, cancer pain, headaches, and ear aches, .  It is also commonly used to treat trigger points (hard painful knots) within muscle that can be acute or chronic.

Acupuncture is also very effective at treating many neurological problems.  Acupuncture causes release of chemical signals that can help regenerate nerves and stimulate the nervous system to repair itself.  Spinal cord injuries and peripheral nerve injuries can both benefit a great deal from acupuncture.

Acupuncture can be used to treat many other medical conditions.  It has been shown to be effective for asthma, allergies, diabetes, infertility, urinary and fecal incontinence, cardiac diseases (arrhythmias, high blood pressure), dry eye, kidney disease and urinary diseases.  Acupuncture is also a helpful treatment for patients with cancer as a way of reducing side effects associated with chemotherapy.  Although it may not replace traditional Western medical treatments, it can be a useful adjunctive treatment for numerous conditions.

How does it work?

In a word, neuromodulation.  Each acupuncture needle is placed in a site that will stimulate a specific nerve or portion of the nervous system.  This in turn causes the nervous system to react in a specific way to help decrease pain, increase blood flow, regenerate nerves, improve immune function, decrease inflammation, or reduce anxiety, to name a few.

Is acupuncture right for my pet?

Due to the widespread effects of acupuncture, most pets can benefit in some way.  However, it is important that a diagnosis be made before we start treating your pet in order to make sure that all traditional medical avenues are explored.  If you are interested in finding out more information for your pet’s medical condition, call and set up a consultation with Dr. Peuser to determine if your pet would be a good candidate.  We can likely start treating your pet at the first visit.

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