Acupuncture for horses

Acupuncture has been used as a treatment modality for horses many thousands of years ago, as documented early on in Chinese scripts?? This treatment modality is not only used in the treatment of pain, but also medical conditions, as well as maintenance of healthy physical function and constitutional balance, therefore delaying the onset of degenerative processes in the body. Horses are very big animals, when compared to a human, but for their relative size is under normal circumstances very accepting of this treatment. They are also very sensitive to the treatment, and results can sometimes seem quite miraculous.

As a basic mechanism, every living being has the ability inside their own body to heal, but as wonderfully compensating biological machines, acupuncture acts in a almost fantastical way to restore the balance to the body, by activating the inherent mechanisms. This is done via release of endogenous hormones like serotonin, endorphins, opioids to name but a few, but it also affects the movement and distribution of blood to and from certain places and organs in the body. This is for instance specifically successful in white tissues, that normally do not have an adequate blood supply like tendons, cartilage, the brain and spinal cord to name but a few.

Today acupuncture is mainly used in horses as an adjunct to management of pain, together with normal medicine, as well as the correct physical therapy and riding techniques, this is a very successful approach, which does not just increase your horse’s performance ability, but can also assist in delaying the onset of degenerative processes, thereby prolonging your horse’s competitive life.

Acupuncture has no known side effects, other than accidental penetration of vital organs, which is the reason why one should only choose to use an appropriately qualified veterinary acupuncturist. Acupuncture is by definition the use of a needles to penetrate a very specifically anatomically located point on the horse’s body. This can be done using normal needles (acupuncture), fluids (aquapuncture), air (pneumopuncture), finger pressure (acupressure) or a technique called moxibustion. This is done by choosing the appropriate constitutional points, as treatment points. This is not the same as dry needling, where the individual constitution, and 5 element theory is not used.

Horses are athletes, and should be treated as such. A top athlete is not just managed on the field, but the equipment they use, the food they eat, and the supplements they take are all fine-tuned modalities to help attain and maintain their peak performance ability. Therefore, managing their training and maintenance should in the long term be geared towards a holistic and balanced approach, with as little as possible side effects. Acupuncture is thus a very powerful treatment modality in your toolbox, in the treatment and maintenance of your horse’s health and wellbeing.