What is acupuncture?

Veterinary acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on an animal’s body. The goal of acupuncture is to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and promote balance and harmony within the body. In veterinary acupuncture, the practitioner identifies specific acupuncture points on the animal’s body based on the animal’s condition and symptoms. The needles are then inserted into these points, and the animal’s body is allowed to respond to the stimulation.

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of conditions in animals, including musculoskeletal pain, respiratory issues, digestive problems, and neurological disorders. It is often used in conjunction with other forms of veterinary medicine, such as medication and surgery, to provide comprehensive care for animals. One of the benefits of veterinary acupuncture is that it is a non-invasive and drug-free form of treatment, which can be particularly beneficial for animals who may not be able to tolerate medication or surgery. Additionally, acupuncture is generally well-tolerated by animals and has minimal side effects.

What is the history of acupuncture?

The history of acupuncture can be traced back thousands of years to ancient China, where it was originally developed as a form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The earliest known documentation of acupuncture dates back to around 100 BCE, in a text known as the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body is believed to have a network of energy channels or meridians, through which the body’s vital energy or qi flows. When this energy is blocked or imbalanced, it can lead to illness or disease. Acupuncture is believed to help restore balance and flow of qi by stimulating specific points along these meridians with the use of thin needles.

Over time, acupuncture spread beyond China and became popular in other parts of Asia, including Japan and Korea. In the 17th century, acupuncture was introduced to Europe and it gained popularity in the Western world in the 20th century. Today, acupuncture is practiced around the world and is recognized as a valid form of treatment by many medical professionals. While its exact mechanisms of action are still not fully understood, research has shown that acupuncture can stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and provide pain relief in certain conditions.

What is the science behind acupuncture?

The scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying acupuncture is still evolving, but there is growing evidence to suggest that acupuncture can have physiological effects on the body.
Some of the scientific mechanisms that have been proposed to explain the effects of acupuncture
Reference: Chi University FAQ for Veterinary Acupuncture

  1. Release of endorphins for pain relief
  2. Modulation of neurotransmitters which can effect mood and pain perception
  3. Regulation of immune function for anti-inflammatory effect
  4. Stimulation of nerve fibers
  5. Changes in blood flow to promote healing and reduce inflammation

While the scientific mechanisms of acupuncture are still being studied, research has shown that
acupuncture can be effective in treating a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain,
headaches, anxiety, and nausea. As a result, acupuncture is increasingly being integrated into
conventional medical care as a complementary therapy.

When is acupuncture recommended in veterinary patients?

  • Musculoskeletal diseases (back pain, osteoarthritis etc)
  • Neurological disorders (seizures, intervertebral disc disease, laryngeal hemiplegia, facial
    and radial nerve paralysis
  • Gastrointestinal diseases (diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, etc)
  • Other chronic conditions (skin problems, asthma, bronchitis, renal failure, chronic liver
    disease, behavioral problems, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism,
    geriatric weakness etc)
  • Quality of life, cancer, and hospice care

Is acupuncture safe?

Yes! Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner.
Very few negative effects have been found in clinical cases.

How long does each treatment take?

Each session may take 20-60 minutes; the first session usually takes longer than follow-up

How soon can we expect results?

Some results can be seen immediately but others will require several treatments. Generally, a
minimum of 3-5 treatments 1-2 weeks apart for chronic conditions are needed before one can
expect notable improvement.

How many treatments are needed?

As in all medicine, this depends on the situation and treatments can be done daily, weekly,
monthly, or even further apart depending on the severity and chronicity of the condition.

Help Your Pet Feel Better With Acupuncture Services From Bethel Animal Hospital

Take control of your pet’s health and help them relieve their symptoms with our veterinary acupuncture services. Our expert team has years of experience providing acupuncture treatments and will ensure your pet feels relaxed and comfortable throughout the treatment process. To learn more about our services in Columbus, visit to schedule an appointment.