acupuncture

Alternative Healing Modalities for Cats

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More and more people are understanding that well-being encompasses body, mind and spirit, and as a result, are turning to alternative healing modalties. And, as they are experiencing the benefits of alternative therapies for themselves, they also look for alternative ways of caring for their cats.

Illness and even the normal aging process can manifest in signs of pain and reduced energy in cats as well as in humans. Your personal stress can be reflected in your cats and create illness for them. Conventional medical treatments often cause side effects that can be alleviated by alternative therapies.

Many alternative therapies are energy based. Since cats are naturally sensitive to energy, they tend to respond well to these modalities.Continue Reading

Acupuncture Helps Restore Function to Paralyzed Cat’s Legs

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When a  good Samaritan found a wounded stray cat in her neighborhood and noticed that the cat appeared to be unable to use her hindlegs, she brought it to a local veterinary hospital for humane euthanasia. The cat appeared to be suffering, and it seemed like the right thing to do. After examining the young (barely a year old) cat, a veterinarian at the hospital decided that this little girl deserved a second chance at a good life, and accepted the cat as what is called a “surrender” in order to avoid euthanasia.

X-rays revealed a shattered pelvis, torn diaphragm and collapsed lung lobe. All of these injuries can be life threatening, and were most likely caused when the cat was hit by a car. The cat was named Pretzel, because the lack of funtion in her hindlegs caused an abnormal gait and a twisted appearance. Pretzel underwent surgery to repair her diaphragm and was spayed. Her pelvis slowly healed, and she began regaining some function in her hindlegs.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian in Los Angeles, donated acupuncture treatmentsContinue Reading

Review: Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Acu_Cat_feline_acupuncture

If you’ve ever been interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture or acupressure, and how it might benefit your feline family members, you’re going to want to read Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure.

This comprehensive guide covers

  • a thorough introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts and theories
  • how these theories and concepts are applied in a feline acupressure session
  • 33 feline health and behavioral conditions that may benefit from acupressure
  • extensive drawings of acupressure charts, meridians and points

If you’re expecting a simple guideContinue Reading

What does holistic cat care mean to you?

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The term “holistic” means different things to different people. Wikipedia defines holistic health as a “concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people’s needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole.” The term “holistic” is often used interchangeably with “alternative” when it comes to health.

When I refer to a holistic approach to health care, whether it’s for cats or for humans, I mean an approach that takes into account all aspects of what make up a living being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Looking at health, and illness, holistically, also means looking for, and treating, the cause of a problem or illness, rather than just treating symptoms. Symptoms are almost always a manifestation of a deeper problem.

Holistic therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and herbal treatments are gaining increasing acceptance for cats, as moreContinue Reading

Acupuncture For Cats

yin yang cats acupuncture chinese medicine

Acupuncture is one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a medical stystem that has been used to treat animals in China for thousands of years. The other three branches of TCM are herbal therapy, food therapy, and Tui-Na (massage).

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, disease is viewed as an imbalance in the body rather than a specific physiological disturbance. This imbalance is caused by either a disruption of the flow of chi (life energy) or an excess of chi in the patient’s body. Chi flows through the body through energetic channels called meridians. Continue Reading

Integrative medicine for your cat

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Advances in veterinary medicine make it possible to treat medical conditions in cats that would have been a death sentence a decade ago.  Conventional veterinary medicine offers anything from chemotherapy to kidney transplants, and cats can now receive almost the same level of medical care as humans. On the other end of the medical spectrum, alternative and holistic therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and herbal treatments are also becoming more accepted for pets, as more people are understanding that well-being encompasses body, mind and spirit. As people are experiencing the benefits of alternative and holistic therapies for themselves, they’re also looking for alternative ways of caring for their cats.

I believe there are benefits to be derived from both approaches to medical care for our cats, which is why I like the term integrative medicine. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at the National Institutes of Health, defines integrative medicine as “combining mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.” In other words, integrative medicine lets you pick the best of both worlds.

Finding a veterinarian who successfully combines both of these worlds can be challenging, as Dr. Nancy Kay wrote in a recent blog post on the challenges of combining Eastern and Western medicine for pets. According to Dr. Kay:

“It can be difficult to find a veterinarian who practices Western medicine and supports referral for complementary medicine, and vice versa. Truthfully, it is difficult for a veterinarian to be extremely well versed in both disciplines (hard enough staying truly proficient in just one of them). There are a few veterinarians who do a great job with both, but they are few and far between. Western medicine is the discipline predominantly taught in veterinary schools throughout the United States. Proficiency in complementary modalities including Chinese herbs, homeopathy, and acupuncture requires additional training and certification.

 What can you do to avoid having your veterinarian roll his or her eyes at you? As you know, I am a big believer in picking and choosing your veterinarians wisely. Certainly, open-mindedness is an important trait in any doctor, whether providing service for us or for our beloved pets. The “ideal vet” is happy to have you work with other veterinarians so that your pets receive the care that is best for your peace of mind. Just as most of us have a number of doctors for our health needs, it’s perfectly acceptable for your pets to have different doctors for their different health care needs.”

I completely agree with Dr. Kay. I’ve had the good fortune of working with one veterinarian who was equally brilliant with conventional internal medicine and several holistic modalities (acupuncture and Chinese herbs) for eight years, but I’ve been unable to find that level of integrative medicine in a single vet since she relocated to a different part of the country.

Rather than looking for a vet who can do it all, it may make more sense to either look for a holistic vet for your cat’s basic health care needs and be prepared to seek help from a conventional vet for things that require conventional treatment, or find a conventional vet who may not be practicing holistic modalities, but is open to her clients seeking such care, and willing to work with the client and/or a holistic veterinarian. Having a vet roll your eyes at your if you even mention holistic modalities probably means that this vet is not going to be a good choice for you if you plan on using alternative therapies for your cat. You, better than anyone else, know what’s best for your cat.

The Veterinary Institute of Integrative Medicine provides resources for pet owners and veterinarians interested in the benefits of an integrative approach to animal healthcare. Their advisory board reads like a who’s who in veterinary holistic medicine and includes such well-known doctors as Jean Dodd, a leader in immunology research, Allen Schoen, one of the early pioneers of holistic veterinary medicine and author of Love, Miracles and Animal Healing and Veterinary Acupuncture: Ancient Art to Modern Medicine, and Susan Wynn, an author, lecturer and practitioner of integrative medicine with a special interest in nutition and herbal remedies.

Do you use holistic modalities for your cat? Which ones have you used? Is your vet supportive of your choice?

You may also enjoy reading:

How to choose the right vet for your cat

Flower power for your cat: gentle healing from flower essences