Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was developed in China. The first ancient Chinese medical text, Huang Di Nei Jing,has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for TCM, and was composed between 47 – 221 BC. It covers TCM theory, herbal medicine and acupuncture etc. TCM is rooted in the ancient Chinese philosophy of cosmological notions, yin-yang and five phases. TCM takes the body as one system, and the goal of the treatment is to balance the system and returning it to normal function. To reach this goal, the treatment will be focused on re-enforcing the weak part of the system and/or weaken the over-active part of the system, by using herb medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, cupping, gua-sa or even food therapy etc. In veterinary medicine, acupuncture and herb medicine are the most commonly used.
How acupunture works
In TCM, the organs of the body are divided into 6 Yin and Yang organs. These organs are discussed in reference to their function as well as their specific structures. The organs are connected with each other through Meridians. TCM believes that Qi and Xue (blood) have to circulate through the body properly in order to keep the body functioning normally. Qi and Xue circulate in Meridians. Each meridian corresponds its own organ and all of the meridians are connected with each other to form a network covering the entire body from internal organs to skin and limbs. Every Meridian has its own point (Acupoint) in certain locations on the circulating route. These points are on different levels based on their importance or function. As a comparison, a body is like a city. Organs are the important functional departments. Meridians are the transportation routes that connect all of these departments and cover the whole city. People and materials are like Qi and Xue that are circulating in the city and making it a functional entity. Points or acupoints are like bus terminals, which connect the different routes. Because all of the meridians have their own components running on the surface of the body, there is access to treat the disfunctioning organs via using acupuncture by stimulating the acupoint in certain way. By stimulating the acupoints with acupuncture needles, Qi and Xue (blood) can begin circulating properly, or the organ and it’s function can be reinforced or weakened properly, therefore the body can maintain harmony and equilibrium.
Acupuncture is most commonly used in the west on musculo-skeletal disorders however it can be an effective treatment for hormonal, reproductive, dermatological, or neurological conditions including common complaints such as; anxiety, epilepsy, diarrhea, arthritis, allergies, bacterial and viral infections. It has also begun to be used in performance animals such as horses and competitive dogs to increase vitality and energy.
An example is the acupuncture treatment on IVDD (Intervertebral disk disease). Studies show that acupuncture treatment carries the same success rate as surgery (50%). However, in 2013, among the 5 cases handled in Hollick Kenyon Veterinary Clinic, 4 of them were back to normal. Two of the patients experienced an episode of reoccurrence after a couple of months, but were cured with the second treatment. One case just received one treatment due to owner’s working schedule, and the results are unknown as the owner was no longer reachable. You can view a video of one of our success stories in “Our Patients Stories,” called “Little Dolce’s Story”.
In TCM, herb medicine is used to adjust Qi and/or Xue’s activities or organs functions directly, therefore to keep the balance in the body and make it function normally. Herbal medication is usually needed to be compounded individually based on the cases and response to treatment. The way to compound the herb medicine is important. The same herb medication might work totally different if it is compounded in different ways.
We will update more information about TCM as an alternative treatment. Please call us, for more information or to make an appointment if you are interested in pursuing an alternative treatment.
Dr. Jun Yang