Acupuncture is an element of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that originated in China over 3,000 years ago. It is based on the belief that all living beings have a vital energy, called “qi”, that circulates through twelve invisible energy lines known as meridians on the body. Each meridian is associated with a different organ system.
TCM teaches that imbalance in the flow of qi throughout a meridian is how disease begins. Acupuncturists insert needles into specified points along meridian lines to influence and restore balance to the flow of qi.
Modern veterinary acupuncturists use solid needles, hypodermic needles, electro stimulation, heat, massage and low power lasers to stimulate acupuncture points. Follow this link to the IVAS web site for more information.
Drs. Fleming and Stephensen were both certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) as veterinary acupuncturists. The basic veterinary acupuncture course taught by the IVAS in the United States has the longest history of a comprehensive study of veterinary acupuncture in the Western World.
The curricula of the course integrates a balanced background of fundamentals of the scientific basis and application of acupuncture and that of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. The course is divided into four sessions that include approximately 96 hours of required didactic lectures, 45 hours of supervised acupoint location laboratories, live examinations and demonstrations, and 10-12 hours of optional lectures. Doctors must complete a minimum of 10 hours of AAVA approved continuing education every two years to remain certified.
For those interested in learning more about TCM and animal acupuncture, we often recommend reading “Four Paws and Five Directions” by Cheryl Schwarz. This book is intended for lay people and explains the concepts of TCM, has pictures of acupuncture points and meridians on small animals, gives directions for finding acupressure points and then addresses specific medical conditions and the TCM approach to their care.