Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practised for over 2000 years. According to the tradition, as in human medicine, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is based upon the theory that energy (Qi) flows through the body along pathways called channels or meridians.
Imbalances in the Qi flowing may manifest in organ or system dysfunction, in illness, pain or emotional disturbance.
By stimulating along these channels, using acupuncture points, TCVM can help to unblock or nourish Qi in order to restore balance in the body.
This theory belongs to all holistic medicine with the same goal to rebalance the body’s energy.
Acupuncture involves gently inserting fine, sterilized needles just under the skin, by targeting acupoints and leaving them in place for some minutes.
Few animals experience very little discomfort as the needles are very fine, the majority relax or fall asleep and enjoy the treatment.
“According to recent researches, “there is evidence that acupuncture influences the production of and distribution of a great many neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, and that this in turn alters the perception of pain.”
– David Eisenberg, M.D., Clinical Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School –
Benefits from acupuncture may be seen in a wide variety of conditions including:
– internal organs disfunction
– orthopaedic chronic disease and pain
– neurological and post surgical rehabilitation
– emotional problems
A pulsating electrical current might be applied to acupuncture needles as a means of stimulating the acupoints. This technique called electroacupuncture, was developed in China as an extension of hand manipulation of acupuncture needles around 1930.
One of most important benefit of using an electrical device is to produce a stronger stimulation, if desired, without causing tissue damage associated with twirling and lifting and thrusting the needle. Strong stimulation may be needed for example to treat difficult cases of neuralgia or paralysis.
Although electroacupuncture may be used as a component of nearly all acupuncture treatments that require manipulation of the needles, according to the Chinese literature, especially good results are expected from electroacupuncture treatment of neurological diseases, including chronic pain, spasm, and paralysis. Very good results are obtained from treating sciatica, paraplegia, hemiplegia, facial paralysis, injury of the knee joint ligaments, arthritis of the shoulder and many other conditions.
In patients with serious cardiac diseases, however, the method should be used with caution. It is generally recommended to avoid placing electrodes near the heart, as the heart can respond adversely to electrical impulses, and the path between any two electrodes should not cross the heart area, despite the low current that is used.
The electroacupuncture device is not intended to provide a significant current between the acupuncture needles. Rather, it delivers about 10-80 milliamps depending upon the selected setting. But, it will provide a significant voltage: 40-80 volts, which is the basis for the patient response. There is virtually no current transmitted through the body, but there is enough voltage stimulus for the patient to feel it; often this will be a pulsating sensation because of the intention of using a waveform that is perceptible.
Duration of standard treatment with electroacupuncture is usually 15-20 minutes and rarely exceeds 30 minutes.