Acupuncture is an alternative therapy used to treat everything from anxiety to aches and pains, and now it is being used on pets.
Before you bring your dog or cat anywhere near those tiny needles, there are a few things you should consider first about animal acupuncture.
Acupuncture is the practice of using tiny needles carefully tapped to 're-balance' the flow of energy through the furriest member of your family.
Animal acupuncturists, like Veterinarian Kim Hombs, claim they can treat everything from behavioral problems to paralysis using this ancient form of therapy.
"The beauty of acupuncture, not only does it give pain relief, but you're also doing something to actually help heal and nourish those tissues," Hombs says.
The practice can be used on dogs, cats, bunnies and birds, just to name a few.
"It's a little trickier and you have to be a little quicker and the 'cook time' -- the time you leave the needles in -- is much shorter," Hombs says.
Advocates for alternative medicine believe that sickness is caused by blocked energy in the body.
"What you're doing with the acupuncture needles, at very precise points, is opening up those channels for that energy to flow," Hombs says.
She says acupuncture is sort of like flipping on a switch along the nervous system and activating the nervous system.
But does animal acupuncture actually work?
Most sessions range between $40 to $80 per visit. Hombs says the results may not be immediate and may require several treatments.
Nevertheless, she says you should be able to see improved behavior and movement in your pet within time.
Acupuncture has its share of critics for both humans and pets alike.
If you decide to try it, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society recommends making sure whoever is adjusting your pets is a licensed veterinarian and also has formal training in veterinary acupuncture.
The American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents more than 78,000 veterinarians, does not endorse animal acupuncture as a specialty, but it does recognize the growing interest in and use of alternative treatments for animals.
Click here to access a directory compiled by the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture to find an acupuncturist near you.
The following information is from The Washington Post in an article entitled "Pet acupuncture more popular as practice becomes more mainstream" (Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/pet-acupuncture-more-popular-as-practice-becomes-more-mainstream/2012/05/22/gIQAzTh6iU_story.html).
The following information is from National Geographic in an article entitled "Animal Acupuncture: More Pets Get the Point" (Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/11/1125_021125_vetacupuncture.html).
The following information is from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in an article entitled "Veterinary Acupuncture" (Source: http://www.ivas.org/about-ivas/veterinary-acupuncture/).
The following information is from The New York Times in an article entitled "Old Dog, New Trick: Acupuncture" (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/fashion/13Cyber.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).
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