Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine differs in the way that each disease is diagnosed and treated.Eastern Medicine looks at disease vs. health in a slightly different way than the Western medicine we are more familiar with. When the body is balance, there is health. When something out of balance, there is disease. This means that something is either working to much or something is working not enough. The goal is to figure out which organ or organs is responsible for the imbalance and then either strengthen what is weak or sedate them if they are working too much. With the ultimate goal of having the right amount of Qi, Blood, fluids in the body, flowing at a normal rate and creating overall balance.
For a Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine consultation, our doctors typically use a combination of History, exam findings and Tongue/Pulse patterns to figure out an individual pet’s pattern is and then tailor treatment to that individual pattern. In Chinese medicine a diagnosis is a description of the pattern of imbalance- for example, Kidney Qi deficiency or Stomach heat rising. In Chinese medicine there are four main branches- Food, Herbal medicine, Acupuncture and Tui-na (Chinese medicinal massage). At Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice we have doctors that have done post-doctoral training in Food Therapy, Herbal medicine, and Acupuncture.
Food: Food is Medicine!
The goal is to use fresh, home-cooked foods to keep our pets in balance (at a neutral internal thermostat). An imbalance in this internal thermostat can lead pets to constantly seek warmth or coolness and can give us an indication of what they might be lacking. Medications can have effect on this internal thermostat.
Similar to Food, herbs are also about achieving balance or homeostasis in the body. Also just like food, as the body balances itself a pet’s requirements may change over time and so the herbs that they need may need to be tweaked.
Dr. Schacher is studying Chinese Herbal medicine at the Chi Institute. Dr. Xie also owns Jing Tang, which is our main distributor for the herbal formulas. As we discussed giving an herb individually is often not as therapeutic as giving a balanced formula. In most formulas there are anywhere between 2 to 15 different herbs that act together to help achieve balance in the body. Herbs can be purchased anywhere (even amazon!) but the source makes a big difference. Jing Tang is an open book and that level of quality control is hard to match anywhere else.
Acupuncture goes along with the same concept as Food and Herbal medicine, trying to achieve balance in the body. Read more about how acupuncture works. Typically when we start acupuncture (for most conditions), we start once weekly treatments for 4-6 weeks and then we start to taper to treatments every 2-4 weeks.
If you have a pet you think would benefit from an integrative medicine and acupuncture consultation, please contact Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice, In-Home Euthanasia, and Integrative Medicine at 757-474-5968.