Frequently Asked Questions

There is no question too big or too small for our veterinary team. We have answers to some of our most common questions.

A dog having acupuncture

We understand and value the difference between surviving and thriving

At Dr. Neely North, we get many interesting questions from pet parents. Below are some common FAQs that might help answer any questions or concerns. Please feel free to call us at 615-601-2692 for any other concerns you might have about your pet.


What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the stimulation of a specific point on the body with a specific method. This results in a therapeutic homeostatic effect.
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What is Qi?

The ancient Chinese discovered that the health of the body depends on the state of Qi (“chee”). Qi is the life force or vital energy. They also discovered two opposite forms of Qi: Yin and YangQi flows throughout the body maintaining a balance of Yin and Yang.
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What is the history of acupuncture?

The Chinese have practiced acupuncture for thousands of years. Dr. Bo Le wrote the first veterinary acupuncture book in the Qin-mu-gong period (659BCE to 621BCE). Today, Chinese veterinarians use acupuncture regularly.

What are the methods and goals of acupuncture?

Veterinarians stimulate acupoints in a variety of ways. The goal is always the same: to restore the flow of the Qi and allow homeostasis to return.
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How safe is acupuncture therapy?

Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by certified practitioners. Researchers have discovered virtually no side effects. Pets typically see improvement in 48 hours after the treatment.

How long does each treatment take?

Each session varies from 20 minutes to an hour.

How many treatments are needed?

Each patient is unique. Practitioners recommend the number of treatments based on the nature, severity, and duration of a disease. A single treatment may be enough for an acute condition, while a series of 3 to 10 treatments can resolve many chronic conditions. Still, other patients may need monthly treatment over time.

Does acupuncture hurt?

A proper acupuncture treatment may induce distention and a heaviness sensation along with contraction of a local muscle. Over 95% of patients are comfortable with acupuncture therapy. Some animals may fall asleep during treatment. However, sedation is not recommended.

When is acupuncture indicated?

Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture therapy can be effective in the following conditions: Musculoskeletal problems, neurological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, performance enhancement, and prevention of disease.
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Massage and Food Therapy

Why is acupuncture frequently combined with herbs?

Veterinarians often use Chinese herbal medicine in support of acupuncture. Practitioners frequently use it in situations where traditional western veterinary medicine may not have helped.

What about chiropractic massage?

Tui-na is a form of Chinese manipulative massage therapy. Therapists often use it in conjunction with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Tui-na can be thought of as a combination of acupressure, conventional massage, and chiropractic techniques.
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Does Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) include any special foods?

Practitioners may recommend special foods to use or to eliminate some foods, based on TCVM diagnosis.
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