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Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is a medical system that has been used to treat animals in China for thousands of years. TCVM encompasses how the body interacts with all aspects of life and the environment (including the seasons, weather, time of day, diet, and emotional states).
Traditional Chinese Medicine for either people or animals is quite complex. There are multiple concepts that make up our understanding of TCVM. These concepts are founded upon Yin-Yang principles and Qi (pronounced chee).
Harmony between two opposing yet complementary forces, called Yin and Yang, supports health. Disease results from an imbalance between these forces and diagnosis is through identifying the underlying “pattern” of disharmony in respect to the whole animal. At the most basic and deep level, TCVM treatment seeks to balance Yin and Yang in each animal by utilizing the opposing forces of the universe (light and dark, hot and cold) to mutually create and transform each other/maintain balance within the body. We understand this may sound crazy, but there is a reason this practice has been used in humans and animals for over 2,000 years!
The body’s internal environment is harmoniously kept in check when our life-energy or “Qi” is flowing and balanced. The balance of health depends on the unobstructed flow of Qi through the body along pathways known as meridians. As long as this energy flows freely, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked the system is disrupted and pain or illness can occur.
There are four branches of TCVM that can be used together to promote and maintain balance and health.
Acupuncture is a treatment that involves the stimulation of points, typically achieved through the insertion of specialized needles into the body. Acupuncture points typically lie along the body’s Meridian Channels along which Qi flows. Most veterinary acupuncture points and Meridian lines are transposed to animals from humans, though knowledge of some “classical points” defined on particular species have been retained and are used to this day.
Herbal Medicine utilizes herbal ingredients combined in unique formulas to treat specific disease patterns. Herbal formulas are administered orally and can be given in powder form, in a capsule, teapill, or in certain cases we can prescribe dog biscuits.
Food Therapy is the use of diet to treat and prevent imbalance within the body. It utilizes knowledge of the energetics of food ingredients to tailor diets for individual animals with particular disease patterns.
Tui-na is a form of Chinese medical massage. This is another way to stimulate acupoints to promote the circulation of Qi and can be done at home.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world! Historic texts describe Chinese “horse doctors” practicing acupuncture on the army’s horses of the Emperor during the Shang & Zhou Dynasties around 2000 BC. The ancient Chinese identified energetic channels known as “meridians” that connected over 361 acupuncture points along the body. Since then, acupuncture points have been identified and described in humans, dogs, cats, cattle, rabbits, chickens, elephants, lizards, and even dolphins (haven’t you heard of Winter?)! These “acupoints” along the meridians cause physiologic changes and release endogenous opioids, stimulate the immune system, and can even regulate blood pressure.
At Animal Hospital of Treasure Island, we believe the key to excellent veterinary medicine is with an “Integrative Approach” in which we use western and eastern medicine together to keep your pet happy and healthy. Acupuncture and herbal therapy have been shown to be
It is important to understand that acupuncture and herbal therapy may not “cure” the disease, but it will help the body to heal itself and reduce pain without the side effects of western medications. For example, in our arthritic patients the goal would be use acupuncture with pain medications in order to reduce or eliminate the long-term use of these medications and reduce their side effects, while still providing your furry friend with pain-free good quality of life.
So come on in and ask us more about our Integrative Medicine approach!