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'Animalpuncture': A new twist on an ancient trend for your pet

Acupuncture can be used both alone and together with other treatments. It’s not a problem to make the animals lie still. Normally they will even fall a sleep. Credit: Maja Lundager Pedersen Acupuncture can be used on its own or combined with other treatments. It’s not a problem to make the animals lie still. Normally they will even fall a sleep, according to veterinarians. Credit: Maja Lundager Pedersen

It would be a stretch to say that acupuncture on animals, or "animalpuncture," is a new trend, since it started more than 5,000 years ago in China. In truth, that was the first way acupuncture was practiced. But now dedicated pet owners in New York City are bringing back the alternative treatment to pamper their furry friends.

“It’s very cool to see how this old very ancient practice has been brought back to life for our animals," Dr. Amy Lynn Crain told Metro during a visit to her Manhattan clinic. "There is definitely a bigger demand for it. People are becoming more open-minded, organic and natural. They don’t want to put medicines in their own bodies and since their pets are like babies to them, they reflect what they are doing on their animals.”

Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital started offering alternative treatments more than 10 years ago. To accommodate the increasing demand for the cutting-edge practices, the team opened the Lower East Side Animal Hospital, too, where pet acupuncture will be available beginning Sept. 1.

The purpose behind acupuncture on animals is exactly the same as it is for humans, explained Crain.

"Whether we have fur on us or we are humans, we still have the same organs and the same energy," she said. "It’s all about restoring good energy in the body if there is a bad element somewhere.”

In Crain's opinion, a modern-day vet should have an open mind about alternative treatments.

“Some pet owners don’t want to go for medication and they should have these alternative therapies presented to them," she added. "Otherwise, I think you fail the patient.”

According to Crain, it can help with anything from allergies and mental problems, to sore feet and headaches – all without side effects.

"I don’t think it’s a luxury treatment, by any means," Crain said. "It has nothing to do with class or money issues, it’s just a belief.”

Even so, the treatment will cost pet owners about the same price as some of their own spa treatments. An initial consultation is about $120, with individual sessions afterward at the same price tag. It typically takes six sessions for the acupuncture to be effective on pets, according to Crain.

For pet owners who just can't bear the thought of inserting needles into their beloved animals, laser treatments, herbal medicine and homeopathy are also on the menu at the clinic, along with more traditional medicine, dental care and surgeries.

 
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