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Acupuncture is a health science, which is used to treat both pain and dysfunction in the body. Acupuncture was developed in ancient China between 5000-7000 years ago. According to Chinese theory, there is an energy network traveling through the body, which communicates, from the exterior to the internal organs and structures at over 1,000 “acupoints” on the skin surface. The body’s energy flow courses over fourteen main channels or meridians that are normally well balanced. If a disruption of energy flow exists, it can alter the entire system, producing pain or symptoms in the body.
Acupuncture’s goal is to restore this natural balance by stimulating the acupoints on the skin surface. This can be accomplished using acupuncture needles (very thin flexible needles left in place for 10-20 minutes), electric stimulation, injection of small amounts of fluid such as B-vitamin solution, lasers and pressure massage. Medical research continues to attempt to explain in western scientific terms how acupuncture works. Many acupoints have a measurably decreased electrical resistance when compared to adjacent areas on the skin. Evidence has shown that acupuncture can activate a pain inhibiting system to alter the way the central nervous system processes noxious stimuli. Acupuncture meridians course in close proximity to major blood vessel and nerve pathways. An increase in local circulation and release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin and norepinephrine are thought to be responsible for the healing affect and analgesia brought about by acupoint stimulation.
Millhouse Veterinary Service utilizes acupuncture treatment in horses for a variety of different conditions. Musculoskeletal pain such as back soreness, navicular syndrome, laminitis, and temporomandibular (jaw) joint pain can respond well to acupuncture therapy when other treatments have been disappointing. We also often use acupuncture in addition to conventional therapy when treating colic, acute laminitis, diarrhea, fertility problems and respiratory problems such as heaves.
Dr. Ed Millhouse has extensive training in acupuncture. If you feel your horse may benefit from this ancient therapy or have questions call our office at (651) 430-3733.