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October 3, 2012

Balancing energy in horses as preventative medicine

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

Yin and Yang as it Relates to Horses

From the desk of Dr. Mark DePaolo

 I attended my first acupuncture course at Colorado State University in 2000, and it was then that I was really introduced to the Traditional Chinese Medicine principles of Yin and Yang.

Now after studying the theory for almost 12 years, I believe Yin and Yang to be the representation of Homeostasis, that delicate balance in both humans and animals that dictates the very existence of health or disease.  The Chinese believe that ultimately health is the balancing of Yin and Yang.  It is taught that these two things represent hot and cold, fast and slow, male and female, aggressive and nurturing, and so on.

Too much Yin:

  • Cold
  • Sedate
  • Moist
  • Nurturing
  • Slow

Too much Yang:

  • Heat
  • Movement
  •  Dry
  •  Aggression

With either of the above, the body quickly gets out of balance which leads to energy imbalance, then blood stagnation followed by sickness leading to, if left long enough, Disease.

Routine acupuncture treatments are designed to help keep the body healthy by finding and eliminating any imbalances in Yin and Yang prior to these irregularities resulting in disease.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture relies almost entirely on the prevention of disease as opposed the western medicine model of trying to fix a disease after it has taken hold, typically too late to be of much benefit.

Ideally you should have your horse evaluated and treated four times a year, at the turning of the seasons, to eliminate any imbalances that will lead to injury and disease.  Twice yearly exams are not as helpful as quarterly, but can still provide better preventative effects than waiting until you see symptoms of disease.

It is very beneficial to performance horses to provide periodic tune-ups to keep your horses competing or learning a their peak level.  It is very expensive to have horses in training and treating of symptoms once they appear is not only sometimes too late, but this type of medicine is typically much more expensive than the prevention of injury and disease.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to know what problems have been prevented, which sometimes keeps people from believing in more holistic or traditional forms of medicine, but I can guarantee you that the benefits completely outweigh the minor costs involved.

To learn more about my acupuncture practice, please visit

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