For those of you unfamiliar with acupuncture, the whole thing can all look a bit like some kind of strange medicine-man coming along and acting like he’s getting signs from the stars about your horse’s health or something like that.
Once, I witnessed an acupuncturist come into a friends barn and carry out treatment with a set of very fine needles , almost half the size of a needle you might see used for an injection. They identified the areas of the body where the horse was suffering with discomfort and recommended a treatment plan which would most likely help the horse
Using fingertips, it is quite amazing what you can learn from touching the surface of the skin of a horse or a person. The muscular state of horse, tissue and signs of tenseness… it’s all there for those that listen and feel. Tensions, restrictions, heat – they’re the kind of tell-tale signs that the acupuncturist will pick up on. Acupuncture can help to get blood flowing to certain areas of the body and stimulate the nerves in the same area. It can, in effect, make a stiff horse ambulatory again! Some horses can become stiff, their legs fill and this impacts on their ability to move from standing indoors too long in the confined space of his/her stall.
I got the same acupuncturist over to my farm. We have a mare that becomes stiff and her legs become fluids filled but she needs to be in a stall due to health problems. I didn’t think that there was anything I could do about it but I gave this Dr. Tranquillo a shot at helping my horse through acupuncture.
Working on my horses’ immune system, hip and liver, the good doctor, got going with the acupuncture. The initial meeting involved the doctor coming and asking me lots of questions that were very pertinent; about her temperament and diet and so forth. She took her temperature and checked her tongue. Apparently, darker areas in the tongue can indicate a problem. Dr. Tranquillo suggested their could be a liver problem, based on the fact that the sides of her tongue were dark and her pulse was weak.
The therapist used these small needles to administer the treatment. The little pins came out and the doctor reasoned that my poor horse was suffering most sensitivity in the areas of her hip, immune system and liver. The hip problem was a mystery initially, as she couldn’t understand the source of it.
The whole thing took over an hour. It was really fascinating to see such a different approach to diagnosis and treatment.
The subtle approach was matched by a subtle enough result. There have no ground-breaking improvements, but I would have to say that my horse hasn’t stocked up once since the doctor’s visit and she seems to have more animated than before. So I guess acupuncture helped, in this case.