Acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other complementary approaches are used in synergy with traditional medicine to enhance diagnosis and treatment. Acupuncture provides multiple benefits to the horse and can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of equine conditions. With a correct evaluation, many medical and lameness conditions can be treated effectively with acupuncture.
When used as part of a diagnostic evaluation, acupuncture can be an effective tool in helping to determine the cause of lameness or poor performance. The interpretation of the ‘reactivity’ or sensitivity of specific acupuncture points can be used as an aid in the diagnosis and location of lameness and medical conditions. For example, specific reactive points on the body can be diagnostic for foot, hock, back, stifle problems or GI disorders.
Acupuncture changes the electrical conductivity or resistance of specific sites on the horse’s body, that lead to energy flow, or Chi throughout the body. These sites relate to different systems in the body, such as the neurological, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems.
Acupuncture reduces pain and inflammation by stimulating the nervous system along the energy flow pathways to release naturally occurring analgesic ‘endorphins’. Acupuncture can work at the local level (direct pain relief – trigger points) or indirectly (along the energy pathways to the brain – AP points). It has also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of arthritis and soft tissue issues. It may also be helpful in the treatment of nonsurgical colic, poor appetite, COPD, immune issues, EPM, anxiety, skin and eye problems, to name a few.
As a treatment, protocols that utilize acupuncture can be used to aid medical and lameness issues, enhance performance, improve behavior problems, and help maintain the overall symmetry of the whole horse. Regular treatments speed recovery and maintain general wellness.