The basis behind acupuncture is balancing the body’s energy or Qi, which runs along meridians, or channels, throughout the body. In Chinese medicine, an imbalance of yin and yang leads to pain or illness, and essentially blocks the flow of Qi. Stress, trauma and many environmental factors can cause imbalance in any animal (or human).
There are 14 primary meridians in the body and acupuncture focuses on points along these channels. Stimulation of these points heals by reducing inflammation and pain. Needles are placed into the acupuncture points along meridians to stimulate and open the flow of Qi, subsequently relieving the blockage or stagnation.
Most often in horses we use acupuncture to relieve musculoskeletal pain (e.g. lameness) for improved performance and comfort, and to decrease inflammation in the body (e.g. laminitis). Acupuncture may also be recommended for back pain, hormone and metabolic imbalance, or for respiratory, neurologic, gastrointestinal and reproductive disorders.
Most animals respond well to the needle placement and even appear relaxed or sedated. Often in horses we perform aquapuncture which involves injection of vitamin B12 to stimulate a point. Usually four or more acupuncture treatments, given one to two weeks apart, are required. Similar to humans, some horses respond well to maintenance care with regular monthly visits. Chronic conditions may need multiple treatments before seeing improvement. Some conditions will improve quicker when coupled with western medicine modalities.
To discuss whether your horse may benefit from acupuncture, please contact Canberra Equine Hospital on (02) 6241 8888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.