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October 5, 2013

The Benefits of Equine Acupuncture

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

Because acupuncture balances the body’s own system of healing, complications rarely, if ever, develop. It is a means by which the body can heal itself.  This natural healing is beneficial for:

  • Pain relief
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Improved circulation
  • Hormone regulation
  • Decrease gastrointestinal irregularities

Studies have been published that show the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment modality. Research done by Dr. Xie at the University of Florida on horses with lameness due to acute injury improved by 96% with the use of acupuncture –over 50% of the horses became sound. In a different study, researchers Kilde and Martin looked at competitive horses that had chronic back pain that prevented them from working. Over 85% of those horses achieved enough relief to resume work.

Dry needle 2Horses affected by laminitis have had tremendous relief thanks to acupuncture. Dry needles are inserted near the coronet band to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Other points will also be treated to help with pain relief, liver function and energy flow.  Research studies by Kilde and Kung demonstrate that up to 90% of both acute and chronic laminitis cases treated with acupuncture showed improvement.

Performance horses are prone to developing minor injuries that often go unnoticed. Eventually these build up and cause the horse to compensate by altering its way of moving and this makes it susceptible to more serious injury. By restoring normal blood supply and function to the muscles, they heal quickly and competition schedules are uninterrupted.

An extremely helpful approach for hard working horses is the use of aquapuncture to help relieve trigger points (muscle knots). These develop when a muscle is overworked and cannot flush all of the lactic acid build up out of the area. Trigger points are painful and often result in decreased performance, even lameness.

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are another issue horses under stress from training, competing and hauling face on a regular basis.   By palpating specific Acupuncture points, you can determine if your horse has ulcers.  Acupuncture treatments can help regulate GI motility and decrease pain caused by inflammation.

As a preventative medical procedure, acupuncture works well when combined with chiropractic manipulation performed by a well-trained veterinarian or certified human chiropractor. Providing relief to trigger points as well as catching other health issues before they become too serious can help keep your horse running as its best.

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