Close your eyes. Let’s go on a journey. Picture this: a gentle breeze, the sound of trickling water over rocks. Soft music plays in the background… I feel relaxed just picturing it. It sounds amazing. You are not on vacation. Your best friend is getting ready to have their qi moving and back in balance with acupuncture!
To begin, let me introduce myself. My name is Dr. Jamie DeRoin. I am a veterinarian and a certified veterinary acupuncturist practicing integrative medicine at Treasure Coast Animal Rehab and Fitness. I was lucky to find Dr. Amber’s practice last February. TCAR offers care to senior pets and rehab for post surgical and post injury cases as well as general fitness. Many of the clients I see are older animals that are starting to suffer age related infirmities that benefit from an extra treatment modality beyond traditional medications. I became interested in acupuncture after developing a drop foot myself when I was 25. I regained function after having electroacupuncture with a local chiropractor. His name was Dr. Love and he looked like Rob Lowe, but that’s another story for a different time. I also went to Beijing, China during vet school to learn a bit about Traditional Chinese Medicine. Practicing acupuncture has opened a whole new skill set along with what I learned about western medicine in vet school. I was certified in mixed animal acupuncture at the Chi Institute in 2017. My goal is to make your buddy feel better by helping them lead a more comfortable, mobile life.
What exactly is acupuncture? Acupuncture is the process of inserting fine needles into specific acupoints on the body in order to achieve a therapeutic response. Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on healing the body by balancing the qi, or life force within the body. Veterinary acupuncture has been practiced for over 3,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Common conditions treated with acupuncture include disorders of the musculoskeletal, nervous, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems. Acupuncture can help the body produce its own natural endorphins, thereby relieving symptoms of pain.
Acupuncture in Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the five element theory and the principles of Yin and Yang. In health, there is a smooth flow of qi throughout the meridians of the body. There is harmony between yin and yang. When there is pain or dysfunction, the qi may be imbalanced or stagnant. The five elements observed in nature are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These elements control different organ systems in the body, the constitution or personality, the emotions, the seasons, etc. For example, a wood type personality is typically a dominant individual. The alpha. The athlete. The general so to speak. When wood is out of balance, you may have problems with your tendons and ligaments. An example would be an athletic large breed dog that injures its knee. When there is stagnation in the liver, you may be angry or irritable.
How often should acupuncture be performed? I typically recommend 3-5 treatments at 1-2 weeks apart to begin and then taper treatments based on the response. More chronic conditions in older animals are typically going to need more treatments than a younger, more healthy animal with an acute problem. Acupuncture tends to be cumulative, so the more frequently you can treat a problem the better success rate. The first exam typically takes an hour to go over the medical history, do a physical exam and then a treatment with dry needle acupuncture. The subsequent sessions take about 45 minutes. We then may add on electroacupuncture (stimulating the points with electricity) or aquapuncture (stimulating the points by injecting vitamin B12). Chinese herbs may also be prescribed to help as a “daily acupuncture.”
Pictured is my friend Pepper. She is a 10 year old Border Collie. I started to see Pepper this summer for arthritis pain. Pepper does agility and her mom’s goal was for Pepper to be able to do the thing that she loves which is agility. Pepper has been coming to see us every couple of weeks for the last several months. She recently won at her agility competition after refusing jumps this spring. She is able to jump back on the bed and in the car which she had not been able to do for quite some time. Pepper does physical therapy in conjunction with swimming and other therapies. She is one of my favorite patients, and she is always happy to come in and have her treatment.
I would love to tell you more about acupuncture! Please call our office to set up a consult.