Dr. Lindberg and Dr. Hirsch are available for acupuncture treatments.
Dr Hirsch’s background is one based on TCVM training from the Chi Institute in Florida, while Dr Lindberg’s acupuncture certification is in Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians through OneHealthSIM with the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (now CuraCore).
What’s the difference? Dr. Lindberg’s training is focused on neurophysiology and how acupuncture communicates with the nervous system, while Dr Hirsch’s influence is also from a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective. That means that Dr. Hirsch looks at a case through a different lens than typical western medicine terms (the Chinese perspective) and might talk about Qi or meridian imbalances and ways to correct them. When she is using topographic acupuncture, only a very small number of needles may be used, and evaluation before and after treatment is performed, since for some issues an immediate improvement can be seen. On the other hand, Dr. Lindberg focuses on the traditional western diagnosis for a problem and then looks at ways acupuncture can influence the nervous system to help the body heal.
Types of Acupuncture
Regardless of which approach is used, there are several different acupuncture treatment modalities that could be selected by the doctor. The most typical is dry needle placement where thin flexible needles are placed. Electro-acupuncture uses a low level of electrical stimulation to dry needles in acupuncture points. Aqua-acupuncture is where a liquid (most often vitamin B12) is injected into an acupuncture point, and hemo-acupucture is where either the patient’s own blood is inserted into an acupuncture point or where a point is purposefully bled, to allow some blood to drain out of an acupuncture point. “Moxibustion” is another way to stimulate acupuncture points with the heat generated from slow burning dried herbal material called moxa.
What is acupuncture used for?
Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of concerns and issues including musculoskeletal pain, arthritis, behavioral issues, internal medicine problems such as heart disease, seizures, liver disease, allergies and neurologic conditions. It may be used for post-operative pain management and healing for musculoskeletal conditions or wound management. It is also helpful for improving performance and overall health. It is an excellent treatment modality for improving quality of life for geriatric patients and those who need palliative care after a non-curable diagnosis. Acupuncture can be combined with other treatment modalities including chiropractic or western medicine treatments.
Is Acupuncture Painful? Is it Safe?
For most patients, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. If the insertion point has a muscle spasm or is sensitized, there may be an initial reaction. In topographic acupuncture, having the animal acknowledge needle placement is seen as a positive part of treatment. If a needle causes continued discomfort, the doctor will remove or adjust it to be more comfortable. Most animals become relaxed once the needles are in place and they may even become sleepy. For some dogs, we may use treats or “pup”sicles as a distraction and positive reinforcement while needles are inserted. Acupuncture relies on the body’s own healing capacity, and no drugs are administered, acupuncture is one of the safest treatment modalities available when practiced by a trained acupuncturist.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is an ancient treatment modality that has been around for centuries. Acupuncture involves the insertion of a very thin needle into a very specific point on the body. There are multiple ways to explain how it works – from a western medicine perspective, acupuncture points are highly vascularized (a lot of blood flow) and highly innervated (a lot of nerve fibers), making them effective in promoting homeostasis, immune system balance, healing and pain relief. By affecting all of the major systems of the body, acupuncture acts as a “reset switch” to promote a return to normal homeostasis. While acupuncture has local effects near the acupoints, it primarily impacts the central nervous system, which in turn impacts musculoskeletal, hormonal, cardiovascular and the autonomic nervous system for a global effect on the body.
From an Eastern perspective or philosophy, it all has to do with balance vs. imbalance. Energy, called qi (and pronounced “chee”) moves through the body via pathways called meridians. Blockage of the meridians as well as excess or deficiency type energy patterns all cause imbalances and imbalances lead to disease, pain or illness. Stimulation of acupuncture points is done so in a specific way to help restore balance and free flow of energy along the meridians.
What frequency of appointments should I expect for acupuncture care?
This depends upon the individual animal’s situation and presenting problems. They could be as frequent as 2-3 times per week in intense cases, or could be managed monthly or longer in other situations.
How does one become a veterinary acupuncturist?
During her first year of veterinary practice, Dr. Beth Hirsch completed 130 hours of training through The Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Reddick, Florida in 2008. She completed her Veterinary Acupuncture certification via internship hours and a case study, and became a certified veterinary equine acupuncturist in 2009. She pursued additional training in topographic acupuncture for dogs and horses in 2017, which is a low needle but very powerful approach, that can show immediate improvement in patients and have long lasting effects from just a few treatments.
As a 4th year veterinary student, Dr. Ruth Lindberg pursued her training in Equine, Food/Fiber, and Small Animal Acupuncture through OneHealthSIM (now CuraCore) in Colorado in 2014. This involved 60 hours of lecture and two weeks of hands-on clinical intensive training to earn her Veterinary Medical Acupuncture certification.