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Holistic Horse Issue 112

Are S. Thoresen, CMV

Many Western veterinarians and physicians use acupuncture in their practices. Some are well-trained in traditional Chinese medical methods. Others have attempted to reduce acupuncture to a simple form based on “acupuncture cookbooks.” These are prescriptions of common acupuncture points used in common diseases. They enable veterinarians that are not properly trained to use some acupuncture in clinical cases. “Cookbook acupuncture,” followed blindly, can give disappointing or mediocre results as the lists provide only the usual recommended points and may not be relevant. Ideally, each animal should be examined to find the affected meridian(s). An acupuncture meridian is an invisible channel, line, or plane that links specific acupuncture points, usually in a longitudinal direction. Reactive points on these meridians should be treated. This is impossible for practitioners who do not know the basic principles of acupuncture. In racehorses, for example, imbalance in any meridian may cause lameness in any joint. Cookbook acupuncture in these horses is less likely to succeed.

In veterinary acupuncture, the points used most often are located in the thoraco-lumbo-sacral-paravertebral area, called Shu points. They are often sensitive to pressure when their associated meridian is disturbed and have diagnostic and therapeutic value. Other points used by veterinarians are Mu, trigger, local, special, and command points. Command points are situated from the stifles and elbows distally. There are 66 command points divided into six groups. Acupoints in one of these groups are known as ting-points, which are situated most distally of all the points.

Ting-points belong to the Wood element. These points are the best choice in muscular problems and why ting-point is often the point of choice in horses.

To understand the functions of ting-points and command points it is necessary to have knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the 5-Elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each meridian belongs to an element. Ting-points belong to the Wood element. These points are the best choice in muscular problems and why ting-point is often the point of choice in horses. The command points belonging to this meridian will then be able to heal problems along the meridian and also symptoms related to the element that the meridian belongs. These elemental symptoms may be distributed all over the body, not only along the path of the meridian. Until now, pain reaction to point pressure, electrical resistance changes, and symptomatology were used in diagnosis. However, the
microcirculatory changes in the diagnostic acupuncture points of horses may be felt clearly as changes in the consistency of the tissue within the diagnostic ting-points, which are located 1 – 2 cm proximal to the hoof-hair junction. The pitting, or decreased thickness of skin due to less blood circulation, can often be seen after pressure is applied in acute conditions and sometimes before palpation in chronic conditions. Once the diagnostic acupuncture points are located, stimulation of these points causes a biologic response in the microcirculation in the affected points. Stimulation of the reactive ting-point or any other reactive acupuncture point on the affected meridian can influence all other reactive points on the meridian, as well as the parts traversed by the meridian. Also, other meridians that are in energetic relation with the one treated will show changes.

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