March 1, 2016
Francesca Gets Acupuncture
Once a week, my French Bulldog, Francesca, gets a visit from veterinarian Dr. Emily Harrison, who is trained in canine and equine acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and herbal therapies. Francesca is under her care for overall wellness, but also for immune and endocrine system support now that she is getting a little older.
Acupuncture works by restoring the "energy flow" known as qi, (pronounced CHEE), which moves along meridians, or channels, around the body. During treatments, small needles are used to alleviate blockages of qi that could cause pain, discomfort or poorly functioning organs. Acupuncture is a cumulative process, and every dog’s response to therapy varies. Francesca appears to enjoy her sessions, and always feels very relaxed after every appointment. Here are some photos...
1 Dr. Emily Harrison is the owner of Visiting Veterinary Services, an integrative ambulatory practice specializing in the care of horses, dogs, and various farm animals. She's here at the farm to give Francesca an acupuncture treatment after her long morning stroll with the Chow Chows. http://www.visitingvetservices.com/dog_acupuncture.html
2 Before Dr. Harrison begins the treatment, she assesses Francesca's current overall condition by performing a Chinese exam - she checks her femoral pulse, tongue color, and body temperature, and gently palpates various parts of her body for any tenderness or abnormalities.
3 Judy Morris, one of my producers who was at the farm working on another project, helped position Francesca, so that Dr. Harrison could begin the acupuncture. Francesca remains calm and still through it all - what a good girl.
4 The needles Dr. Harrison uses are tiny - Francesca doesn't even flinch when they're inserted. Dr. Harrison carefully taps each needle at a certain point to alleviate any blockages, and ensure smooth flowing qi.
5 These half-inch needles are placed in the muscles. They are made of high quality stainless steel and are color marked for easy identification.
6 Dr. Harrison starts by placing needles along the bladder meridians that run along both sides of Francesca's spine.
7 This point on the back between the shoulder blades is called Governing Vessel 14. It a very good point for supporting and stimulating the immune system.
8 Dr. Harrison moves on to placing needles along her legs and between her toes! This point between her toes helps to regulate her liver enzymes even though her toe is clearly far from her liver.
9 For Francesca, up to 20-needles may be used during each session depending on her needs the day of the treatment.
10 Francesca is very receptive to needle placement and is comforted by Judy's gentle pats.
11 After all the needles are placed, Dr. Harrison connects many of them to a low level of electric current generated by a battery-powered machine for electroacupuncture.
12 Electroacupuncture, when appropriate, can enhance the effects of the needles. Most dogs tolerate this well and quickly relax during the treatment.
13 This portable electroacupuncture stimulator unit is light and very easy to set up.
14 Dr. Harrison adjusts the frequency of the electric current so that it maximizes the effect of the acupuncture.
15 The intensity starts out low and is raised very slowly, so it's pleasurable for Francesca and never painful.
16 It feels like a gentle tingle on Francesca's muscles - she seems to enjoy it.
17 The different colored wires help Dr. Harrison keep track of what points are connected to each other.
18 The needles and electric stimulation last for about 20-minutes.
19 Francesca didn't mind at all - she was so relaxed by the treatment.
20 In fact, after a few minutes, Francesca wanted to lie down - this is a very good sign - it shows Francesca is feeling comfortable with the acupuncture.
21 It is very common for dogs to feel this relaxed during acupuncture. Francesca's eyes were even beginning to close, and her breathing was very calm.
22 And, then she fell asleep. A long stroll around the farm, and an acupuncture appointment - a busy morning for Francesca.