Frequently Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one branch of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM).  The purpose of acupuncture treatment is to address imbalances in qi (pronounced chee) flow or the body's natural flow of energy.  Disposable, sterile needles are inserted into acupuncture points on meridians or channels with the goal of restoring proper qi flow.


How does acupuncture work?

There are several proposed theories of why acupuncture actually works.  Numerous western medical studies have been done and continue to be done to try to prove or disprove the efficacy of acupuncture.  Due to the nature of the goals of treatment and the treatment itself, producing repeatable, definitive results are difficult, if not impossible, so the results of such studies continue to be debated by practitioners in both the human and veterinary medical fields.  Currently, it is thought that by stimulating an acupuncture point, certain physiologic responses take place in the individual that account for the response to treatment.  Those responses can be classified as:

1. Altering pain transmission

2. Causing the release of endorphins or other neurotransmitters which create pain relief

3. Actually causing inflammation by inserting a needle in a point

4. The bioelectric theory in which the body's magnetic field is altered by needling points


How can acupuncture be used to treat animals?

Acupuncture can be used in animals for numerous purposes.  The most common cases include chronic pain due to arthritis or injury, as well as reproductive issues such as infertility and irregular cycles.


Does it hurt the animal?

Generally, it is pain-free.  Most animals hardly even notice what is going on.  People getting acupuncture report a warm sensation after needles are placed.


How big are the needles?

The needles are very thin, sterile, and flexible.  They range in length based on the location and size of the animal; anywhere from a quarter of an inch to approximately three inches long.


How many needles are used?

Each treatment is different, but most commonly anywhere from 4-14 needles are used.


How long is the acupuncture session?

The initial exam is extensive and will last about 20-30 minutes.  Treatment sessions usually last about 20 minutes.  Most treatment protocols entail an initial exam and treatment followed by 2-4 treatments ranging from 10-21 days apart.


Where does a session take place?

Treatments can take place in the animal's home environment, by appointment in any one of our partnered clinics, or potentially can be arranged to take place at your own veterinarian's clinic.