The practice of medicine is old, so much so that it is known to have existed in prehistoric times. Sometimes, pre-modern medicine was very insightful. For example, a number of pre-modern cultures seemed to have been aware that head wounds of sufficient severity could cause personality changes. Other times, well, “unconventional” medicine is very common even in the present time. Never mind the kind of stuff that showed up in earlier centuries when people lacked our understanding of the human body as well as other biological matters. In some cases, these practices have managed to make their way to the present, with an excellent example being acupuncture. For those who are unfamiliar, acupuncture is a practice that originated in traditional Chinese medicine. It consists of the insertion of thin needles into various points in the human body. Generally speaking, acupuncture is used for pain relief purposes, which can sound rather strange considering its basic nature. However, the fact of the matter is that the needles are thin enough that skilled practitioners can insert them while causing either no or next-to-no pain in the process. Besides this, some acupuncturists claim that it can be used to treat a wide range of other medical conditions as well, which can include both those that are serious and those that are not so serious.
As for how acupuncture is supposed to work, well, that is a very interesting question. The traditional explanation is grounded in elements of ancient Chinese culture. For starters, the ancient Chinese believed that there was a kind of life force called qi, which has similarities with the Greek pneuma as well as the Indian prana. Said life force was supposed to flow throughout the human body as well as the rest of existence in a harmonious manner but could become blocked, imbalanced, or otherwise thrown off with horrible consequences. If this happened in a building, that could cause bad luck for the occupants. Similarly, if this happened in a human body, that could cause serious medical conditions. Traditionally speaking, acupuncture was supposed to interact with the meridians by which qi flowed throughout the human body, thus providing it with its healing power.
There are some acupuncturists who still use this particular explanation. However, a lot of modern acupuncturists have abandoned it. Something that is particularly true in the west. After all, traditional Chinese medicine came hand-in-hand with traditional Chinese spiritual beliefs, which was true for other forms of traditional medicine found throughout the entire world. Since those traditional Chinese spiritual beliefs weren’t exactly held in high regard in the west when acupuncture started catching on, it should come as no surprise to learn that acupuncturists abandoned them in preference for more scientific-sounding explanations. To name an example, some acupuncturists say that the insertion of the needles causes the release of various hormones, though it is important to note that these tend to be the acupuncturists who claim the ability to soothe pain but not the ability to treat diseases. Meanwhile, other acupuncturists claim that the needles can be used to affect the body’s electrical signals, though how this is supposed to help isn’t always laid out at the same time. Ultimately, interested individuals shouldn’t expect to find a single scientific explanation for how acupuncture is supposed to work because there isn’t one. For that matter, it isn’t even clear if acupuncture is actually capable of helping patients or not.
Can Acupuncture Help Out Your Dog?
By this point, it should be clear that acupuncture was meant to help human patients. Technically, the ancient Chinese believed that qi would have flowed through dogs as well, which presumably meant that blockages, imbalances, and other issues could cause medical problems for dogs as well. However, acupuncture was supposed to work based on the qi meridians of the human body. Something that can’t just be carried over to dogs as well as other animals. Certainly, there were plenty of ancient Chinese people who loved their canine companions much as how there were plenty of ancient people who loved their canine companions in other regions. Unfortunately, dog medicine wouldn’t have been a huge priority for the simple reason that the overwhelming majority of pre-modern people in every single agricultural society were subsistence farmers, who would have had a hard time paying for that kind of thing.
Still, there are people who believe that acupuncture can help their dogs, which in turn, means that there are acupuncturists who are willing to treat dogs. The process is much the same as the human version. Essentially, the acupuncturist will insert thin needles into the dog, which will put up with the process for a couple of reasons. One, they will get plenty of positive reinforcement throughout. Something that tends to make dogs better-inclined to whatever it is that is happening. Two, the needles are thin enough that the dogs won’t feel much, particularly if the acupuncturist has the expertise and the experience to minimize any sensation. In any case, there have been reports of dogs seeming more energetic after such sessions, meaning that interested individuals might want to check such treatments out if they are at their wit’s end.
Generally speaking, acupuncture is harmless. Yes, there are needles being inserted. However, they are thin enough that they shouldn’t do any meaningful damage in the hands of someone who actually knows what they are doing. Granted, accidents do happen from time to time, so that is a potential concern. Furthermore, there have been plenty of reports of infections, which are a product of improper sterilization. As such, interested individuals should decide for themselves whether acupuncture is worthwhile for their dog or not. They should start by looking up a list of local practitioners who can help. After which, interested individuals should use reviews and credentials to determine whether these people can be trusted or not. As for the cost, that is something that can see a fair amount of variation, so once again, personal judgment is important. Ultimately, there may or may not be any benefit because of acupuncture, but at the same time, the risks are relatively low, meaning that trying it out isn’t a huge deal.