What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is part of the ancient practice of Traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners of this ancient methodology believe the human body has more than 2000 acupuncture points connected by pathways called meridians.

These pathways create an energy flow, called QI – pronounced “chee” – through the body that is responsible for overall health. Disruption of this energy flow can cause dis-ease in the body. So by applying acupuncture to certain points, it is thought to improve the flow of QI. It enhances immunity, supports physical and emotional health and improves overall function and well-being.

It is a safe and virtually painless, effective protocol that has evolved into a complete holistic health care system. Practitioners of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have used this non-invasive treatment method to help people and animals become well and stay well.

Using functional MRI to examine 15 different acupuncture points, the basic tenets of the treatment has been proven. The stimulation of these points results in specific changes in the central nervous system. It was shown that acupuncture points that have associated pain relieving properties, tend to activate specific pain-association brainstem regions.

What does an Acupuncturist do?

A thin needle is inserted at various points into the body, believed to stimulate the central nervous system.  This in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. The process can also be activated and enhanced via electrical stimulation.

During the initial examination a full health history is recorded.

Questions are asked regarding general health, symptoms and lifestyle. An appropriate physical exam may be conducted which may include pulse and tongue evaluations.

Gathering this information enables the practitioner to effectively diagnose and detect any specific imbalances of Qi that may have contributed to a person’s health issues.

Once the imbalances of Qi or Energy flow are detected, an acupuncturist will place the fine, sterile needles at specific acu-points along meridian pathways. Insertion of the needles can unblock the obstruction and balance Qi where it has become unbalanced, i.e. where the energy flow has been disrupted or is blocked. Once this is done, Qi can freely circulate throughout the body, providing adequate nourishment to cells, organs, glands, tissues and muscles. Restored energy flow can eliminate pain and restore balance and harmony. With the body’s ability to heal itself, it ultimately leads to optimal health and well-being.

Which health concerns can Acupuncture address?

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy or chemotherapy
  • Abdominal pain and generally any kind of pain
  • Morning sickness
  • Diabetes
  • Facial spasm
  • Female infertility
  • Fibromyalgia / Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tobacco & Alcohol dependence
  • Insomnia
  • Knee pain
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dental pain
  • Many other conditions

What is Qi or Energy flow?

At the core of this ancient Chinese treatment is the philosophy that Qi or vital Energy, flows throughout the body. Qi animates the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi in the body.

How does Qi move?

As we’ve said, Qi flows through specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 main meridians inside the body. The diagram above on the left, shows the meridian pathways in the body. Each of these is connected to specific organs and glands.

Meridian pathways are like rivers flowing inside the body. Where a river flows, it transports life-giving water that provides nourishment to the land, plants and people.

Similarly, where meridian pathways flow, they bring life giving Qi or Energy that provides nourishment to every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle in the body.

How is Qi disrupted?

An obstruction to the flow of Qi is like a dam. When Qi becomes backed up in one part of the body, the flow becomes restricted in other parts. This blockage of the flow of Qi can be detrimental to a person’s health, cutting off vital nourishment to the body, organs and glands.

Physical and emotional trauma, stress, insomnia, lack of exercise, over-exertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents or excessive activity are among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.

Normally, when a blockage or imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back, returning to a state of health and well-being. However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.

What is Veterinary Acupuncture?


Acupuncture has been used in Veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either alone or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in many species of animals. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of animals.

It has documented efficacy on a wide range including horses, elephants, cattle,  monkeys, rabbits and of course on domestic animals like cats and dogs.

Which conditions in animals can be treated with Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is indicated for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, non-infectious inflammation like allergies and pain. The following are some of the general conditions which are treated with acupuncture:

  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, traumatic nerve injury & sore backs
  • Respiratory problems like Feline asthma
  • Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
  • Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea and non-surgical colic
  • Selected reproductive problems
  • Neurological problems such as facial paralysis & spinal stroke
  • Skin problems such as allergic dermatitis
  • Respiratory problems such as heaves and “bleeders”

Acupuncture for human and animal athletes

In addition, regular acupuncture treatments can address minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavour such as racing, jumping or showing, acupuncture can help them keep in top physical condition.

Is Acupuncture painful for animals?

If the Veterinary practitioner is qualified in Acupuncture, the insertion of needles is virtually painless. The larger needles necessary for large animals may cause some discomfort. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be tingles, cramps or numbness which can occur in humans as well and may be mildly uncomfortable for some animals.

Is Acupuncture Safe for Animals?

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.

Make sure you choose a Veterinarian who is fully trained in Acupuncture

The success of the treatment will vary according to the skill of the veterinarian, the condition being treated and the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments. The length and frequency of the treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation, whether it be dry needling, electro-acupuncture or aqua-puncture. A simple acute problem such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several treatments.

Acupuncture should never be administered without a proper veterinary medical diagnosis first and an ongoing assessment of the patient’s condition by a licensed veterinarian. This is critical, because acupuncture is capable of masking pain or other clinical signs and may delay proper veterinary medical diagnosis once treatment has begun. Elimination of pain may lead to increased activity on the part of the animal, thus delaying healing or causing the original condition to worsen.


The American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery.

Source: Acupuncture Media Works brochure – www.acupuncturemediaworks.com and www.ivas.org


For more information or a personal experience chat on Acupuncture for humans and animals please email
info@thegoddessfactor.co.za or WhatsApp 063 292 8968
Or contact Dr Marissa Slabber –
Licenced Veterinary Acupuncturist @ 071 370 6668 or WhatsApp
 (Midrand / Fourways areas)