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Veterinary Acupuncture

Acupuncture works in a similar way to the chiropractic adjustment. It also is a method of helping the brain and the rest of the nervous system to work correctly.

The acupuncture needles act like a pointer on a computer screen, alerting the computer main fame that the local program needs to be scanned and corrected. Acupuncture helps the brain to recognise where it has interpreted the situation incorrectly, gets it on the right track, so to speak. Acupuncture also acts directly on spasm and knots in muscles and fascia, relaxing these both directly and via the brain.

Acupuncture on Horses

Chinese needles, injection acupuncture (aquapuncture) and infra-red laser are all used on horses. Most horses are not at all worried by the needles, to the point where some have trouble staying awake.

The needles are usually only felt as a tiny prick as they penetrate the skin. The muscle does not feel pain from the needle if it is relaxed, and many horses seem oblivious to the fact that they have one or more needles in them. (Pain is felt in the muscle when we get injections because the volume of the injection pushes the muscle fibres apart and because the material injected is often quite irritant.)

Chinese needles are inserted in amongst the nerve endings associated with the acupuncture point and, by sitting there, irritate the nerves and surrounding cells, causing signals to be sent to the brain. In an active acupuncture point the tissue often tightens up around the needle but, once the abnormal reactions in that area settle down, the tissue relaxes around the needle, allowing the needle to fall out easily.

The horses which are very needle-shy can be treated using a laser (which produces a painless beam of infra-red light.) Lasers stimulate the brain in a similar way to needles, but the effects are not as strong as using needles.

Aquapuncture involves the injection of small amounts of very mild irritants into the region of the acupuncture point. The irritant solution then stimulates the nerves and brain in similar fashion to the needles. Most often Vitamin B12 is the irritant used. Sterile water has a similar effect. Acupuncture needles may also be used to physically break up trigger points (small painful knots in muscle and in the muscle sheath). This involves working the needle through the tight fibres of the knot.