Acupuncture treats wind-cold-damp arthritis and stiffness in pets
Seattle has no shortage of wind, cold and damp weather, three of the most insidious pathogens in traditional Chinese medicine responsible for arthritis. This is true in our animal companions as well. Joint pain and stiffness tend to flare up during the cold and wet months because these pathogens are prominent. Getting outside less often contributes to the stiffness by allowing stagnation of qi, or energy, to occur. Encouraging exercise, even when it’s raining outside, will help to circulate qi and get the blood moving. But what if your pet is too painful to want to go out much in brooding weather? Acupuncture and herbs can help! Gentler than anti-inflammatory drugs that can be hard on the liver and kidneys, Chinese herbal formulas and acupuncture actually tonify the entire body, including what traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) terms the “liver” and “kidneys.”
In TCM, the bones, joints and nervous tissue are all related to the “kidneys.” Arthritis, musculoskeletal, and nervous conditions can all be treated by stimulating acupuncture points and selecting herbs that benefit the “kidneys.” According to TCM, the “liver” is responsible for the smooth flow of qi, to keep the body healthy and balanced. Whenever there is stagnation of qi, pain or disease can result. The “liver” can also be pacified through acupuncture and Chinese herbs to smooth out the flow of energy, reduce pain, and rebalance the body. Additionally, from an energetic perspective, the most commonly prescribed veterinary drugs for arthritis in pets are actually cooling to the system. From a TCM standpoint, if there is wind, cold or damp making the joints painful or stiff, adding a cooling medication is contraindicated. Anti-inflammatory medications are also not recommended in patients with kidney or liver insufficiency, common in elderly cats and dogs. So if your pet is having mobility difficulties, there is no reason to settle for drugs that may not help, or which could be detrimental to your pet—acupuncture and herbal medicine provide alternative options for comfort.