Acupuncture is one of those things that brings visions of voodoo and colorful aura drawings to people’s minds. It is a very ancient practice that has been lumped into the new age phenomenon which has been gaining in popularity for the past 10 years or so. So what is the deal with Acupuncture? Is it all pseudoscience? Should it be lumped in with crystal balls and smelling salts? My answer is no. Acupuncture is a useful scientifically proven tool in large animal medicine. Although acupuncture can help owners reach the goals of decreasing medication use we should not assign it to the realm of anti vaccine, anti-western medicine craziness. We should recognize Acupuncture for what it is a proven tool to treat the health of the entire animal and decrease the use of western medications. Just because something is old does not make it bad. Acupuncture, just like traditional western medicine, changes and improves all the time. Acupuncture may predate the scientific method but that does not mean that no research has been done to prove its efficacy since. It is a powerful tool for use in pain relief, reproductive function and more. As a community we need recognize there are strengths and weaknesses to both western and eastern medicine and be open to the idea of integrating these approaches for the benefit of our animals.
The list of effective uses for Acupuncture are many. If you have interest in learning more please reference this American Association of Equine Practitioners article.
Acupuncture in the equine patient