DiversityNursing Blog

Pets Find Pain Relief Using Ancient Method Of Acupuncture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 10:24 AM

By MICHELLE CASTILLO

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Pets are getting some pain relief thanks to a centuries-old method that has helped some of their owners: acupuncture.

A dachshund named Samson benefitted from the treatment. Samson was pawed aggressively by another dog at the park and needed surgery immediately. After his first procedure, it was clear he was still in some pain. Doctors recommended a second surgery, but owner Ellie Sutton wasn't so keen to make Samson go under the knife again.

"I wouldn't want to risk something like paralysis," Sutton told CBS News. She decided "to try every other kind of step first."

To her surprise, the veterinarian suggested acupuncture, the traditional Chinese medicine method of inserting needles into the skin to stimulate parts of the body.

Veterinary acupuncturists can use .2 to .3 mm needles that range in length from .5 inches to 1.5 inches on pooches.

"A lot of people come for acupuncture because they've exhausted a lot of the traditional Western medicine roots, whether it's medication or surgery," Dr. Marc Seibert, Samson's vet, told CBS News. Siebert is the owner and medical director of Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital and Lower East Side Animal Hospital in New York City.

Seibert explained there are two main theories behind how acupuncture works. Eastern medicine teaches that energy flows through channels in the body called meridians. When the meridians are blocked, the person -- or the animal -- experiences physical pain. The acupuncture needles help direct the energy to the correct path.

Western medicine, on the other hand, suggests that acupuncture may help by bringing oxygen to the area that the doctor is trying to treat. Hormones called endorphins, which promote feelings of well-being, are released, and the anti-inflammatory parts of the immune system kick in.

"Most people think of acupuncture as a pain reliever, but it's more than that," says Dr. Ihor Basko, a holistic veterinarian in private practice in Honolulu, certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in Ft. Collins, Colo., told Paw Nation. "Acupuncture can boost the immune system and improve organ functions, and it has other benefits. It can complement conventional medicines and procedures without dangerous side effects."

Not everyone is convinced the method works. Veterinarian Craig Smith, the complementary-care expert for the American Veterinary Medical Association, told U.S. and World News Report that it's hard to know for sure if canines and felines are feeling relief from their pain.

"While many people treating pets with acupuncture report success, there isn't any data that proves it works," he said.

Ellie Sutton admitted that a lot of the "energy flow" talk is hard for her to believe. But she says Samson has definitely benefited from the treatment.

"The fact is he walks better afterwards," she said.

Source: www.cbsnews.com

Topics: medicine, treatment, nurse, pain, medical, acupuncture, needles, body, animals, doctor, pets, pain relief

Acupuncture May Reduce Severity and Frequency of Menopausal Hot Flashes

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jul 21, 2014 @ 01:03 PM

By Honor Whiteman

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For women going through menopause, hot flashes can be one of the most uncomfortable symptoms. But a new study suggests that acupuncture may help to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes among menopausal women.

Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a sudden feeling of heat over all or parts of the body. They may also cause redness on the face and neck, red blotches on the arms, back and chest, and heavy sweating or cold shivers. Many health conditions can cause hot flashes, but they are most common among women going through menopause.

The most effective treatment for hot flashes is hormone therapy - the use of medication that contains estrogen or progesterone. However, such treatment can increase the risk of other health conditions, including stroke, heart disease and cancer.

In this latest study, recently published in the journalMenopause, researchers wanted to see how acupuncture affected the regularity and severity of hot flashes a woman experienced while going through natural menopause.

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that is more than 2,500 years old. It incorporates a number of procedures that stimulate anatomical points on the body as a form of healing. The most common form of acupuncture involves the use of thin, metallic needles that penetrate the skin.

The technique is most commonly used to help treat chronic pain, but past research has indicated it can help reduce inflammation and may even boost weight loss.

Acupuncture 'reduced severity and frequency of hot flashes for up to 3 months'

The research team analyzed 104 studies that assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture. The team included 12 of these studies in their research, involving 869 women between the ages of 40-60 who were going through natural menopause.

The women included in the study underwent various forms of acupuncture, including acupressure, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture, ear acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture.

The investigators found that women who underwent acupuncture experienced a reduction in the severity and frequency of hot flashes for up to 3 months. Furthermore, the treatment appeared to have a beneficial effect on hot flashes regardless of the number of doses, sessions or duration of treatment received.

However, the researchers note that sham acupuncture reduced the frequency of hot flashes as much as true acupuncture.

The team is unable to explain why acupuncture appears to help alleviate hot flashes among menopausal women, but they hypothesize that acupuncture may trigger a reduction in the concentration of beta-endorphin - a neuropeptide found in the cells of the central and peripheral nervous system - in the hypothalamus of the brain. They say lower levels of beta-endorphin may activate the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which regulates body temperature.

Commenting on the team's findings, Dr. Margery Gass, executive director of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), says:

"More than anything, this review indicates that there is still much to be learned relative to the causes and treatments of menopausal hot flashes. The review suggests that acupuncture may be an effective alternative for reducing hot flashes, especially for those women seeking non-pharmacologic therapies."

A 2012 study, also published in the journal Menopause, suggested that hypnosis can also minimize the occurrence of hot flashes during menopause by around 75%.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

 

Topics: study, acupuncture, menopause, hot flashes, NAMS

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