Acupuncture is the oldest form of medicine known to man.The Art of acupuncture dates back at least 8000 years - that's almost four times older than we've documented any human artifact in the United States!
Acupuncture has been a mystery until recently. In the past couple of decades, scientists have finally been able to prove how and why acupuncture works. With these discoveries, acupuncture has become an accepted form of medicine in the U.S., and many insurance companies have begun to cover it. It has also been proven to be even more effective than drugs for certain things, like pain and nausea, and has become part of treatment protocols for cancer in humans.
Acupuncture is the art/medicine of placing very fine needles in specific locations (acupuncture points) on the body. Usually 12 to 20 needles are placed, and left in for 20-30 minutes. the stimulation at the specific points will cause a response in the animal or person. Certain points, or combinations of points, are used for certain illnesses or clinical signs. Acupuncture is very effective for pain and nausea, but is also a helpful tool in treating many other diseases including immune related, cardiac, kidney and skin diseases.
There are over 360 point locations on the body. The points are located on 14 different meridians, which are the channels in which the energy and information are thought to flow.
How exactly the information is passed from the needle site to the rest of the body along the meridians is not perfectly understood, but we do know much more about the acupuncture points themselves. Scientists have studied the points extensively and found that the exact points are very different than the surrounding tissue in several ways. First, the electrical activity is different: there is lower resistance and higher conductivity (meaning energy can flow more easily). there is also a difference in the cells and make-up of the skin and tissue underneath: there are more mast cells (cells that stimulate local inflammation and send out chemical signals) and more small blood vessels (which pick up and spread those chemical signals). While we have discovered much, there is still much that we don't understand about this ancient medicine.
Acupuncture is well accepted in human medicine for pain control, It can be as good as or even better than medications. We are currently using acupuncture on dogs for arthritis and for musculoskeletal pain such as torn ligaments. There are many other ailments that may respond to acupuncture as well, including nausea, heart rhythm disturbances, high blood pressure and seizures.
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