Acupuncture + Integrative Medicine

We offer integrative medicine, a comprehensive approach to care incorporating the best of western and eastern-based philosophies, to maintain health and treat illness. 

Acupuncture is a branch of one of the oldest, most commonly used medical systems of healing in the world. Originating in China some 3,500 years ago, it has emerged in the United States in the last four decades. According to Chinese medical theory, life force energy, or Qi (“chee”), flows through the body in pathways called meridians. When energy does not flow smoothly, disease occurs. The goal of Chinese Medicine, including herbs and acupuncture, is to restore the normal flow of Qi in the body.

Acupuncture is a form of therapy that promotes natural healing of the body. The science and art of acupuncture involve the insertion of needles into specific points in the body. Acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy and an increasingly popular form of healthcare.  


There are two explanations that help explain the mechanism of how acupuncture benefits our pets, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western scientific explanation.  Most of us are more familiar with the Western approach to health and disease. That will be discussed first.  

Acupuncture has a variety of therapeutic effects on the body. Its action seems to vary depending on the type of pathology.  It is thought that acupuncture primarily produces its effects through regulating the nervous system which aids the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body.  In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones.  These affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.  

Scientists have shown that when acupuncture points are stimulated, there are predictable biochemical changes in the patient. Acupuncture alters blood circulation, reduces inflammation, allows for muscle relaxation, and results in the release of chemicals that relieve pain.

In the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. TCM likens the body to a highly complex electrical circuit. Like any electrical circuit, it must be kept in good working order if it is to function effectively, and if the circuit breaks down, the result is an illness. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi along the meridians. 

TCM theorizes that it is essential for qi, as well as blood, to circulate in a continuous and unobstructed manner for good health of mind and body. Acupuncture meridians are the pathways through which energy flows through the body. Acupuncture points lie along the meridians and provide gateways to influence, redirect, increase, or decrease the body’s vital substances, qi (energy), and blood, thus correcting many of the body’s imbalances. 


Acupuncture needles are thin, stainless steel needles, only slightly larger than a single human hair. Most patients barely feel the needles. Most animals are very relaxed during treatments, and often fall asleep. Needles are usually left in place for twenty to thirty minutes. Time length depends on the goal of the treatment. Initially, treatments are scheduled weekly or every other week, and as the patient responds, sessions are scheduled less frequently. Eventually, with animals that are doing well, occasional maintenance treatments are needed to promote health and well-being.  


Commonly, it is used to treat arthritis and for pain control. Many animals with chronic skin disease, orthopedic injuries, disc disease, and other nerve problems, respiratory illness, behavior issues, and intestinal disease, often respond well to acupuncture. It also supports older patients and those with cancer by improving their quality of life.  


No.  Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with any other therapy. This almost always enhances the effects of other treatments.