by Marcie Fallek, DVM, CVA

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses including arthritis, disc disease, paralysis, chronic gastro-intestinal problems, kidney disease, respiratory disease, immune disorders, etc. 

Treatment for an acute problem , such as a muscle strain or a sprain, may require as little as one treatment. Chronic diseases require a series of treatments. When multiple treatments are required, they usually start intensively at 1-3 times per week and are then tapered down as the treatments gradually achieve maximal improvement- usually with 6-8 weeks.

Acupuncture is based upon the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which sees the body as consisting of a network of interrelating pathways, called meridians, where the body's energy - or qi- runs. When we are healthy, this energy flows smoothly and evenly through the meridians. When there is dis-ease, there will be created a blockage of energy along one or more of these channels that will subsequently affect all the other pathways.

So acupuncture is truly a "holistic" system of medicine which recognizes that all parts of the whole are related. A "stagnation" or "deficiency" of energy along any one of the pathways, will ultimately affect the whole. As a matter of fact, integral to the philosophy of TCM is the idea that health is not only dependent upon one part of the body's harmonious relationship to another, but also upon a healthy relationship between other individuals and the environment.

We see this particularly in domesticated animals as they tend to be emotional sponges and frequently absorb our energies and therefore oftentimes our issues and diseases- even to the extent that many studies have been done to document that our pets oftentimes have the exact same medical diagnoses that we do! Then there is the additional stress factor in our companion animals' lives in that they are not living in their natural environments, and have to deal with say, living indoors in a studio apartment and never touch a paw to a blade of grass.

Central to the concept of acupuncture is also the idea that the body is capable of self-healing. We have become so dependent upon the medical and pharmaceutical professions that we tend to forget that the body is constantly repairing itself- be it a simple wound on the finger to a broken bone or a cold. These self-healing mechanisms occur without or even despite (well recognized in the medical profession) our medical interventions!

The Chinese over the past 3 thousand years, have devised ways to help our bodies heal themselves, by actually "plugging into" this energy network. A well documented series of "points" along the meridians have been shown to be effective and receptive to outward intervention- be it from a fine metallic needle inserted into the point to stimulation to the infrared light of a laser beam. We can actually help the body to retune itself to its natural harmonious flow of energy, returning the body to physiological homeostasis - or health. 

Acupuncture is a virtually painless procedure that is well- tolerated by most animals. Dr. Fallek is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and a member of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) and the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA).