Ancient Chinese medicine is based on the philosophy that illness is caused by an imbalance of vital energies in the body. Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that focuses on restoring the energy balance in the body and promoting healing. The technique requires the insertion of fine needles into the animal’s body at specified points, called acupuncture points, where nerves and blood vessels converge. Acupuncture improves blood flow, which increases the oxygenation of tissues. Muscles relax both where the needle is inserted by stimulating the release of naturally occurring, pain-relieving, and anti-inflammatory substances. Acupuncture may decrease the amount of pain medication needed to keep pets comfortable.

The first appointment will feature a general medical assessment. The primary care veterinarian will send medical records outlining a history of the pet’s condition to the acupuncturist. Lab tests, radiographs, and current medical therapy will be documented so the acupuncturist is fully informed. The first appointment takes about one to two hours to have a physical examination performed and introduce needle insertion. A treatment protocol is developed that may involve one to three sessions per week for several weeks. These sessions often last about 20-30 minutes, depending on the condition. Often, the number of sessions is tapered off as the pet improves, so visits are scheduled less frequently.