While less well-known than canine acupuncture, acupressure is growing in popularity as an adjunct to traditional veterinary care. During an acupressure session, a practitioner applies manual pressure to stimulate specific points on the body known as acupoints along pathways known as meridians. This ancient form of therapy is used to reduce pain and treat a variety of physical, mental and emotional conditions. Most dogs enjoy these therapeutic treatments, which are gentle and non-invasive.
Acupressure is used to manage pet pain caused by arthritis, tendon and joint injuries and other conditions. Pressure point massage to a point known as GB 34 increases the circulation and blood flow, relaxes muscles and supplies oxygen to tissues and organs, possibly reducing the need for pain medications. The technique also increases flexibility to allow greater range of motion.
Immunity and Wellness
Acupressure can support and improve your pet's immune function, assisting the body to remove toxins and wastes. Stimulating a point known as the LI 11 can, according to the Whole Dog Journal, "enhance the flow of blood and energy throughout the body" to support overall wellness and health.
Many behavioral issues, such as anxiety, hyperactivity and fear-based aggression, are caused by stress reactions. Acupressure can sooth and calm dogs by reducing mental and physical stress. Used in a variety of stressful situations, the HT 7 acupoint helps to calm and center dogs. For travel-induced stress and vomiting, there are acupoints to help curb car sickness, too.
Acupressure is used to support the dog's gastrointestinal tract by increasing the absorption of foods. The more effectively the animal's body breaks down nutrients from food and herbs, the more efficiently they can be absorbed and used. The ST 36 acupoint is considered to be the master point for resolving gastrointestinal issues.
Finding A Specialist
To find a qualified canine acupressurist, speak to your veterinarian. Many traditional veterinary hospitals offer a variety of integrative therapies. Local human acupuncturists, massage therapists or acupressurists may be able to recommend a veterinary specialist. Be sure the practitioner is experienced with your dog's particular condition.