Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points of the body to cause healing. It is one of the safest forms of medical treatment when administered by a properly trained veterinarian. It is used mainly for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies) and pain.
According to ancient Chinese medical philosophy, disease is the result of an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy and assist the body to heal disease. In Western terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, it can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones to control pain.
Acupuncture has been used in veterinary practice in China for at least 3000 years to treat many ailments. This technique is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of maladies in every species of domestic and exotic animal.
Presently, Chinese herbal medicine plays an important role in medical health care in China. Only approximately 20 percent of all Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) patients are treated with acupuncture while the remaining 80 percent are treated with Chinese herbs or a combination of herbs and acupuncture. Tremendous numbers of clinical studies have indicated that Chinese herbal medicines are very effective for treating a variety of medical disorders including gastrointestinal, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological and cardiovascular problems. (Taken from the Chinese Veterinary Herbal Handbook by Huisheng Xie.)