East meets West

Story and images provided by Dr. Carey Bonds, Trinity Veterinary Hospital

Have you ever thought about what people a thousand years ago did when they suffered from a headache? What did they do when they developed gastrointestinal issues, back pain, diabetes, or kidney failure? Over many thousands of years people were forced to figure out disease by looking at the individual as well as their lifestyle and behaviors. They did not have fancy blood work machines, radiology, or sophisticated treatment such as an aspirin tablet. Without these abilities to see inside the individual they relied on their senses to save lives and ease pain.  Along the way they also discovered areas of the body that when stimulated, either with pressure or puncture, alleviated discomfort, injury, and disease. Over many thousands of years eastern medicine developed a system of medicine that guided the body to heal itself. I have recently learned that our bodies, along with our pets’ bodies, are designed for this specific purpose.

Over the past few years I have heard more and more about acupuncture in pets as well as people. It was something I easily dismissed as far-fetched without scientific merit. Nevertheless, my clients shared some amazing stories and I decided it was worth investigating. I enrolled in the Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) acupuncture certification course and quickly became intrigued with a drastically different way of approaching veterinary medicine.  TCVM relies on observation and palpation for diagnosing disease with questions about behavior and lifestyle playing a key role. I learned about Qi or energy flow through the body and how this energy relates to everything in and around us. Treatment focuses on using surface areas (acupuncture points) to enhance or impede this energy flow within the body to maintain balance and health. A complex interaction between the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems is initiated to bring about healing and pain relief. During the course, I began to appreciate the science and art to this ancient form of medicine and how acupuncture can not only add benefit to traditional care but also offers a whole new dimension of possibilities once western medicine has reached its limit.  

Before and after treatment

Our instructors challenged us to use acupuncture to help our patients once we returned home. I had seen the cases during class, heard amazing stories, and knew the medicine has tremendous potential, but my first case made the possible a reality. A boxer patient of mine had one of the worst eye ulcers I had ever dealt with. It had been weeks of eye drops, surgery, and rechecks.  I discussed acupuncture with the owner who was excited to try something different. The owner and I were both amazed that by the 3rd week of treatment the ulcer was greatly reduced and continuing to heal at each recheck!

During this experience I have learned that there is more to healing than just test and medicine.  The body has an amazing ability to show us there is a problem and with guidance can be an amazing healer. If you would like to learn more about acupuncture, Qi, yin and yang, constitution types, examinations, what to expect with acupuncture, and more, please visit www.trinityveterinaryhospital.com.