Acupuncture is an emerging area in veterinary medicine, providing a complementary modality to the Western therapy for treatment of certain human/animal conditions. Acupuncture works by stimulating physiologic processes through neural signaling and indeed, acupunture points represent neurovascular concentrations of fine vascular structures and related nerves. In a brief way, nerve fibers convey the acupuncture stimulus to local and global nerve centers, providing analgesia and relief of muscle tension. Somato-autonomic reflexes produced by the somatosensory stimulation of acupuncture needling influence a multitude of functions via neuromodulation.
In highly simplified terms acupuncture imparts an afferent signal that begins locally (i.e. near the site of needling) and travels towards the higher centers (e.g. the spinal cord). Stimulation of the nerves at the level of the spinal cord may result in sending efferent signals back to the periphery, loop into related visceral neural networks and alter internal organ function, an increase in endogenous opioid release in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord to reduce spinal facilitation, or "wind-up," and blocking the pain, or link to higher centers in the brainstem and cerebrum, influencing brain function and hormonal regulation.
The University of Tennessee, Veterinary Medical Center, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences offers an acupuncture service by a faculty member certified in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Reza Seddighi is providing acupunture as a scientific modality along with the Western medicine, to control/relief of many of the painful conditions in animals.