Mother Earth Living

Pet Corner: Arthritis and Traditional Chinese Medicine

By Susan Melgren
February/March 2010
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Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) addresses the flow of qi (or energy) through the animal’s body. Chris Bessent, D.V.M., founder of Herbsmith, says that in pets, there are six meridians in each leg through which qi flows. When a pet has arthritis, these meridians are blocked, obstructing the flow of qi and causing throbbing pain.

Once the area is obstructed, the pet becomes susceptible to external pathogenic factors, such as wind, damp and cold. (Bessent says she treats the majority of arthritis cases in winter, and that eating warming foods like turkey and chicken can be helpful.) Part of the problem is that movement stimulates the flow of qi, and pets are less active in the winter.

Stimulating pressure points along the legs’ meridians is one way to treat arthritis. Acupuncture, acupressure and moxa all use this method. Acupressure and moxa are safe to try at home. Moxa, a rolled stick of Chinese herbs, is lighted and placed near the pressure points, where the heat stimulates the flow of qi.


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