Acupuncture is also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Eastern Medicine. It is among the oldest medical procedure dating back 5000 years more or less. It, along with Herbal Medicine, was the primary method of Chinese Medical treatment until the early 1900’s when Western Medicine was introduced to China. At that time Eastern Medicine in China went into decline until World War II when Western Medical supplies were in short supply, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine were brought back in and taught in major Chinese schools and universities. It, has remained strong to this day, becoming a method of treatment in the United States in the 1960′s. In 1974 the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society was formed (IVAS) for the purpose of training veterinarians in animal acupuncture. This organization trains Veterinarians around the world in Chinese medicine. At that time until the 1990’s was the only Veterinary program in existence. Since then others have begun teaching Eastern Medicine to Veterinarians as well as physicians.
Acupuncture is based on the ability of the body to heal itself and being in balance. The yin (negative) and yang (positive) are opposite polarities that work together to maintain that balanced state. To the Western mind it is more difficult to understand because Western Medicine tends to target the problem i.e. liver, kidney, skin etc. and correct the problem. Eastern Medicine looks for the imbalance leading to organ dysfunction and treat to rebalance the body’s energy (Chi). The human and animal body has energy channels called meridians. There are six paired and two unpaired, one of the pair a yin and one a yang, much like wires that go to a light bulb (white and black). Along these meridians are places called Acupuncture points that are close to the surface of the skin and can be accessed, much like switches that turn lights on and off. There are some 360 points that can be used to access the meridians. These acupuncture points have different functions. Some are referred to as local points, others are diagnostic points, master points, influential points, connecting points, alarm points etc. When treating a condition, these points are used in different combinations to help bring about pain relief as well as healing. These points can be used for specific organs, anatomic areas or body systems, depending on what the Doctor is trying to achieve. That is why for instance when a back problem is being treated; some points on the legs or feet may be used as well to help bring in healing components from the body’s reserves.
There are various methods of treating Acupuncture; from pressure (acupressure) to needles, heat (moxabustion), liquid injectable (aqua puncture), cold laser, cupping, electrostimulation etc. The most commonly used and most effective in most cases is the use of needles by themselves or in conjunction with electrostimulation, moxabustion or aquapuncture.
For further information regarding IVAS/AAVA please visit their websites. Also, bookstores, libraries and Amazon.com have books on Acupuncture. It is fascinating medicine and worth the read.