The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi or Qi present in every living creature.
This energy circulates throughout the body along specific pathways that are called 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. (Imagine rivers that flood and cause disasters, or an electrical grid short circuiting that causes blackouts.)
Acupuncture works to “reprogram” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy flow. Acupuncture is only one form of therapy used within the system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine or TCVM. Other systems include Herbal Therapy, Food Therapy, Tui-na (therapeutic massage) and Physical Therapy. It’s a complete medical system unto itself, not another branch of Western Medicine. In Western cultures such as the US, TCVM has rapidly grown as an adjunct therapeutic modality for animals that may not respond favorably to typical Western veterinary treatments.
TCVM is successfully used to treat a wide variety of disease conditions including arthritis, muscle soreness, disc problems, skin/ear problems, vomiting/diarrhea, seizures, urinary conditions including chronic cystitis, and behavioral problems. Chinese Herbal Therapy uses therapeutic medicines derived from plants, animals, and substances occurring in nature and is often used in conjunction with acupuncture. Together they can speed recovery from disease, and in many cases decrease the frequency of acupuncture treatments.
Food therapy focuses on foods based on their inherent energetic properties. In TCVM food is an integral component of treating and preventing diseases. Each food item has specific energy properties (warming, cooling, etc.) that act on the body in certain predictable ways. Various food combinations may be used to maintain and support the balance of yin and yang which maintains optimal health. When disease occurs, certain food combinations can be incorporated to return the body to its balanced state. Tui-Na is the medical manipulation of a patient with the hands, much like chiropractic treatment and massage therapy. Various techniques are employed to enhance the flow of energy in the body. This is not currently an element of ARF treatments. Qi-Gong is the combination of exercise and meditation in which the flow of Qi is improved. It is also a way to balance the Yin and Yang of the body. This branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine does not apply to animals.