Want Your Horse to be Strong? Equine Axis of Power Acupressure Points

By Amy Snow, Co-Founder of Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

JimmyCross CountryHorses are made of muscle and bone. They’ve been revered for their power for centuries upon centuries. If it were not for their power and willing nature, horses would not have survived to today. The domesticated horse has served us well in agriculture, war, and sport.

Trainers can tell you a hundred different methods of building your horse’s muscles from walking to a gentle trot up and down hills on uneven terrain to a galloping regimen. Of course, there are kSoukup endurancother factors that can figure into building muscle and all-around strength such as the discipline in which you’re expecting the horse to perform, diet, environment, the horse’s temperament, etc.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine stand point, to help build and maintain muscle you can offer the short acupressure session shown below twice a week after exercising your horse. This session includes Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17) and Lung 9 (Lu 9) which are specific acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” that help enhance the horse’s lung capacity. Proper Lung function is essential for bringing chi, life-promoting energy, and fresh blood to the horse’s muscles during training.

Stomach 36 (St 36) supports the nourishment the horse’s muscles. The translation of the Chinese name for St 36 is “Leg Three Mile” because this acupoint literally adds power to the muscles so the animal can go another three miles. Kidney 3 (Ki 3), the last point of the chart, provides the bodily essence necessary to create and sustain muscle tissue.

The four acupoints presented in the AXIS OF POWER Acupressure Session are general points which can contribute many happy days and years of equine sport for you and your horse.  Remember to stimulate the acupoints on both the right and left sides of your horse!

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What the Body Reveals through Acupressure

by Gretchen Dietz, Tallgrass Canine Blogger

When Henri wahenribellas introduced to his soon-to-be sibling, there were sparks. Bella, four years old at the time, was not the least bit interested in having a younger Westie brother. It took time, but soon Bella accepted Henri especially once she realized she could boss him around. While never really affectionate, over the next five years Henri and Bella grew to be true friends learning to play together, peacefully share their home together, and at times sleep in the same bed together, but only when Bella allowed it.

Unfortunately, Henri passed at the young age of five after bravely battling a severe autoimmune disease. The human family was devastated by Henri’s passing and worried that Bella’s grief would trigger an episode of her own (she has Addison’s disease). But a week passed and Bella seemed anything but sad. She was energetic and playful; she ate well and slept soundly. She raced around the house like a clown and barked at the squirrels in her yard as vigorously as she always had.

I have been working with Bella for the past year focusing on her digestive issues and frequent constipation that arises primarily after her monthly hormone injection for her bella2Addison’s. Bella responds well to acupressure, often falling asleep during her sessions and her GI issues have been less and less frequent.

When I showed up for our first session after Henri’s passing, the guardians assured me Bella was doing great. “She doesn’t seem to be missing Henri at all,” her Mom informed me. So when I began with my opening along her Association Points, I was surprised to find intense heat just behind her withers.

Bl 13 is the Association Point for Lung and is located just behind the third thoracic vertebrae at the peak of the shoulders. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the emotion associated with the Lung meridian is grief, so while the family didn’t see any outward appearance of Bella’s sadness, her body was sending a much different message. Not only was Bl 13 significantly hotter than all the other Association Points, when I placed my fingers gently on the bilateral points, Bella quietly whimpered. In that moment, it was clear to me that despite Bella’s cheerful disposition the week after Henri’s death, she missed her little brother beyond measure.

After my session with Bella, I thought about why there was such disconnect between her normal-appearing behavior and the information I was receiving from her body. Her human family was an emotional wreck leading up to and after Henri’s death. They’d fought long and hard to provide him with the best medical treatment possible, but in the end, the disease won. Choosing to say goodbye bella1to Henri was overwhelming for them and they cried for days and days, unable to find any peace in the knowledge he was no longer suffering. The grief in their house was palpable.

Bella was in the middle of all of these emotions, surrounded by their weight day and night even before Henri’s passing. Her family had dramatically changed — Henri was gone and her guardians were heavy with pain and sadness.  Perhaps Bella’s “cheerful” demeanor was simply her attempt to make her family happy again — playing like she always had, eating every meal willingly, doing her best to bring some normalcy back to her home. Meanwhile, her own sense of loss was hidden, suppressed in an attempt to save her guardians any more sadness. Bella’s grief was there all the time though, held in the tight heat of Bl 13, just waiting for some release.

That night, after I got home, I received an email from Bella’s Mom. Bella went for her usual walk before dinner and ate her meal slowly and deliberately. Then she decided to go lie down, but not in her own bed where she normally curls up for the evening. For the first time since Henri’s passing, she slept in his bed perhaps allowing herself to feel his loss openly and hopefully, start the process of moving through her grief while helping her human family move through their own.

 

 

 

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CHANGE & HORSES DON’T ALWAYS MIX: Equine Acupressure Can Help

By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis, Founders ofTallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Many horses don’t take kindly to any type of change. They are hardwired to be rather disgruntled with changing facilities, moving in with new horses, traveling cross country to a show, or even something different in their paddock. This reaction to change has to do with herd behavior and survival.

Horses in Motion Online Class

photo credit: Barbara Chasteen

Herd structure is essential to equine survival and every horse knows it.  Every horse knows his place and, for the most part, wants to keep peace within the herd. It’s the herd that protects the individual horse and it’s the individual horse that’s responsible for maintaining the integrity and strength of the herd. Even when traveling 20-30 miles in a day, knowing their place gives them a sense of safety. Take a horse’s sense of safety away and he will feel vulnerable, fearful, and self-protective.

Some horses seem to manage change easily while others react badly when there’s even a minor routine change because he feels threatened. This can lead to behavior issues, dangerous situations, as well physical reactions such as colic. As a prey animal, a horse’s reaction to a threat is to take flight and we all know what can happen then – “Not Good,” as we say in Chinese medicine.

Adjusting to Change
An equine acupressure session can help restore a sense of well-being when a horse is faced with change. And, acupressure offers the added benefit of helping you bond with the horse, which gives the horse a greater sense of safety.

The acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” given on the chart below were selected to help a horse adjust to  change by calming his spirit, providing a sense of grounding, enhancing his self-confidence, and creating a harmonious flow of chi, live-promoting energy, throughout his body.
By offering this equine acupressure session every third day, you can give your horse the gift of comfort and safety when he feels threatened by change or anything else, for that matter. tallgrass animal acupressure

 

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Less is More for Canine Acupressure Sessions

By Gretchen Dietz, Tallgrass Canine Blogster

When Chief was adopted at four-years-old, his new family took him to the lake to see if this 90-pound lab-mix was interested in swimming. He wasn’t. Not in the least. Wouldn’t even put his paw in the water. Then two ducks flew in and did a splash-landing about 20 feet from him and Chief was off, happily and confidently swimming across the lake after the ducks. To cut a long story short, the family had to commandeer a small motor boat, motor chiefsmileout to the middle of the lake, and wrangle Chief back to shore.

Those were Chief’s glory days — full of energy, full of vitality, and clearly full of determination with a dash of mischief. Now 14 years old, Chief’s swimming takes place in a warm therapy pool.

Chief’s issues are layered and complex; a combination of general aging, lumbar spondylosis, arthritis in both elbows as well as his hips, large and numerous lipomas, and recently an illness the veterinarian could only diagnose as an undefined autoimmune disease.  The autoimmune episode resulted in rapid atrophy around his face and head and the subsequent prescription of prednisone created additional muscle wasting.

When Chief came for his first acupressure session, I could easily choose eight-ten points to help strengthen his immune system, benefit his spondylosis and arthritis, and clear the toxins from his system, but I did not want to overwhelm him. And then I remembered the most important advice I ever received in my acupressure training: Less is More.

chiefathomeWhile it seems simple — minimal points for the maximum benefit — it’s often hard to put into practice especially when working with an animal like Chief. The tendency is to choose a lot of points to cover the specific health concerns – Bl 60 and Bl 11 for the arthritis, GV 14 to strengthen his immune system, Sp 6 to help with the muscle atrophy — but the main purpose of acupressure is not to address specific issues. Instead, the purpose is to help the body achieve and maintain balance ensuring the harmonious flow of Chi.  So, whenever I begin work on an animal, I must clear my mind of all the chatter of what could be done and just listen to the animal’s body tell me what needs to be done.

Therefore, given Chief’s diminished health and his age, and after an assessment of the Association points, I decided to choose two points: LI 4 and Liv 3. Source Points, LI 4 and Liv 3 regulate Chi, tonifying or sedating as needed. In addition, LI 4 is the Master point for the face and mouth and tonifies Wei (Protective) Chi. Liv 3 invigorates the blood and is an excellent point for toxin removal. When used in combination though, they are known as the Four Gates and are even more effective, strongly moving the Chi and Blood throughout the body to open all the meridians, remove stagnation, and alleviate pain. Instead of using the original ten points that raced through my head, I would use four and then reassess his progress in his next session.

I worked with Chief two times a week for over a month and after each session he showed improvement with increased energy and mobility. During that first session, Chief slept the entire 30 minutes and even though I thought he’d wake up as I got up to leave, he paddled his feet in a deep, dreamy sleep. His guardian and I quietly laughed and then she smiled and said, “He’s swimming after the ducks.”

Reliving his glory days.

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Acupressure & Tui Na Used for Spinal Compression in Dachshunds

By Kim Kizzier, Certified Tallgrass Equine & Canine Acupressure Practitioner

I have had the opportunity to work with two different dachshunds (Sadie & Salty Dog) that suffered spinal compressions and paralysis.  Both were given poor prognosis without surgery and euthanasia was the most likely OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArecommended alternative.  Sadie suffered calcified disc and dorsal herniation at L3 & L4 and was sent home with steroid treatment and pain medication.  Salty was evaluated by both his regular veterinarian and an ACVS surgeon.  He did not have radiographs, but the suspected problem was in the thoracic region and he was sent home with a week’s worth of pain medication. Neither owner was able to afford the surgical option.

Sierra Exif JPEGI began work with Sadie hours after she presented to her veterinarian.  She was in a lot of pain and had no use of her hind legs or tail.  I worked very gently the first couple days, but was able to work deeper and with more intensity in later treatments as Sadie began to gain strength. I showed the owner how to continue work between treatments. Sadie was trying to stand on the fifth day, walking a few days later, and is now back to her usual activities.

I started working with Salty a few days after his initial incident.  He was painful and had many muscle spasms in his back.  He had no feeling in his hind legs or tail and had a hard time holding his bladder.  Again, I showed the owner how to work points and massage between my treatments every few days.  Salty’s owner, Lisa, was getting married and moving in a month, so we were pressed for time.  By the time they moved, Salty was beginning to stand and could walk a few steps.  I received video of him trotting around about 10 days later.  He continues to improve and is a happy little dog.DSC_0017

I had just returned from the Tallgrass Continuing Education class “Tui Na” when I first met Sadie. I used acupoints, theories, and techniques learned from Amy Snow, Nancy Zidonis, and Dr. Shauna Cantwell.

I immediately addressed the Chi stagnation presenting as pain and paralysis within the spinal column and Governing Vessel.  I adjusted the duration and intensity of treatment according to the patient’s level of fragility.

  • Vibration (Zhen-fa and Dou-fa) or massage on KI 1, Tip of tail, GV14, GB20, very gently on the injured area and spasming muscles, and down the spinal column from neck to tip of tail.
  •  Stimulation (holding, vibration, photonic light, or massage) on:
    • ST36, LI4, LIV3, LI11, and injured area
  • Massage of neck, shoulders, and chest area and governing vessel as tolerated with attempts to loosen neck and dura (covering over spinal column).
  • Skin rolling (Nie-fa) from head to tail and from hip to foot.
  • Passive movement of hind legs and tail as tolerated.
  • Gentle movement and twisting of toes on hind legs (Nian-fa).
  • Holding to send energy and use of Reiki over both Governing and Conception Vessel (especially injured area).

 

 

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Dog Acupressure and Dog Walking – A Great Mix

By Gretchen Dietz, Tallgrass Canine Blogster

When Katy jumped onto the dining room table, I knew I had my hands full. An 11-month-old Boxer-Pit bull mix, Katy was a sweet girl, but clearly in need of some training. Her guardians were exasperated, worn out by her katy4energy and constant need of attention. While they were working with a trainer to help teach Katy some manners, they also needed a dog walker to, as they said, “Tire her out!” So they called me, a professional dog walker.

Katy had been “dismissed” from three doggy-daycare facilities and while the guardians continued to take her to off-leash parks, she’d run into “situations” that didn’t end pleasantly. The next step was a dog walker and so we set up this initial “Meet and Greet” only it was difficult to meet a dog on the table. So after a bit of cajoling, I attached a leash to Katy’s squirrelly, energetic body and we settled in the living room with my foot firmly planted on her short leash.

As the owners told me what they needed from me as a dog walker, I placed my hand on Katy and silently got to work calming her with specific acupressure points. Within minutes, Katy was fast asleep with her short snout resting on my foot.

“How did you get her to do that?” her guardians asked.

“Acupressure,” I said. “It’s one of my other services.”

When I left my teaching career to become a dog walker, the plan was to spend my days playing with dogs. For the first year or so, that’s what I did — walking six to ten miles a day with leashes in my hands and in all kinds of weather. I felt confident handling dogs, but there were times when I wished I had a few more tools in my toolbox.

Katy2 In the beginning, I didn’t actively seek out a certification in small animal acupressure. I sort of stumbled into it. After establishing my dog walking services, I sought a certification and then license in small animal massage, started work at a swim therapy pool and then, because of my own dog’s issues, got interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I found out about Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute from another massage therapist and after my first introductory class, I was hooked.

My growing skills have also made me a better dog walker and my dog walking skills have made me a better acuprressurist. For instance, when meeting new dogs like Katy, my acupressure skills help me connect with the dog on a different level and a challenging dog like Katy provides me an opportunity to develop my acupressure techniques and knowledge.

Even on a daily basis with my long-term clients, I always check in with the dogs’ bodies just to feel the subtle differences in their energy. Areas of heat or stiffness cue me into how a dog might be feeling on a particular day or alert me to potential health problems, which I can share with the guardians. In turn, when I share those observations it opens up a conversation about alternative healthcare and other avenues families might pursue when seeking care for their dogs.

While I may have stumbled into the profession, that stumble has not only been invaluable when working with my dog clients, it’s also helped me build my business. My love and growing knowledge of TCM and of the community of local holistic animal services, provides me with important resources that my clients appreciate. After all, being a dog walker isn’t simply about tiring a dog out. It’s about a relationship with the dogs and with their families. They trust me to care for their beloved family member when they are at work and with acupressure skills in my toolbox, they now trust me to care for their dog beyond just getting them off the dining room table.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Five-Element Theory: WATER

By Amy Snow, Co-founder of  Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute

Water flows, crashes, pounds, swells, tosses, spouts, flattens, ripples, seeps, laps, mists…. Water is the critical ingredient for life of any sort. An overabundance of water can be just as damaging and destructive as too little. The Drop Falling into Waterfine balance of the water metabolism in the human or animal body is essential to health.

Take a moment to consider how water acts in the environment. It flows and collects, pooling in eddies where there is little movement.  Blood and body fluids move in the same way, collecting and pooling to cause swelling and stagnation or flowing smoothly to push nutrients throughout the body. When water metabolism is flowing harmoniously, the body is healthy. When there are “swells” we see abdominal bloating or edema along the lower extremities. Conversely, if there’s too little fluid in the body joints stiffen, blood thickens, and skin withers.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) the Five-Element Theory, also known as the Five Phases of Transformation, uses the attributes of water as a metaphor to help describe a host of both real physical issues and symbolic ideas. All of the five elements, or basic constituents of nature, carry the same metaphoric intent. These elements or phases are water-04Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each of the notions attributed to these elements simultaneously maintains the balance of the body in accord with this conceptual model.

The two organ systems associated with the Water Element are Kidney and Bladder. They are considered the primary bases of the water metabolism. These two organ systems are responsible for maintaining the fluidity of the entire mind, body, and spirit of the animal. Physical constitution, bones, reproduction, core strength, determination, will power, and survival instinct are all attributed to Kidney energy (called “chi”) and function. Kidney is also in charge of the Bladder’s role in controlling waste fluid retention, transformation, and secretion.

Identifying Water as the key constituent of the body’s capacity to live is really a huge idea. On a physical level we can see what happens to the body when there’s not enough or too much body fluid. If the skin tents from a hydration pinch you know the animal’s skin is not receiving enough blood and body fluids. When the animal refuses water, he may be overly hydrated. A dull coat is most likely a dry coat. A fever can lead to a lack of fluids. When there’s not enough fluid in the body toxins can accumulate leading to illness. Waterfall2We can see, feel, and know how the internal water metabolism is functioning on the surface of the animal’s body.

When a horse or dog shows no fear, they are lacking the essential instinct to survive – they are dangerous to themselves and others. Kidney chi, when in balance, limits and supports the amount of fear the animal experiences. Focus for training and the animal’s capacity to learn is facilitated by the fluidity of his mind; while too much fluidity of mind causes confusion. When water is cold and stagnant in the body, the animal’s spirit, called “shen,” shuts down, which leads to depression.

Being balanced in the Water Element means the animal is fulfilling his promise from the moment he arrives on earth until his last exhale. He has a strong constitution and fluid body movement. To carry out his determined nature he’s happiest and generally calm when he has a clear purpose and specific activity to carry out. He can seem aloof because he pays a lot of attention to his own survival. Routine helps maintain his sense of safety and comfort. All of our animals deserve to be balanced in the Water Element.

 

 

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How Moxa and Acupressure can Benefit the Yang Deficient Animal

by Gretchen Dietz, Tallgrass Blogger

If you want to find Mocha, her family says, just locate the nearest heater. A 15-year-old Cairn Terrier, Mocha’s youthful, fiery nature has faded with age. Once a dog who sought out a cool corner on the patio, Mocha now curls up under blankets, next to Truman, her Golden-Pyrenees companion, or by the closest furnace vent.mocha

As an elderly citizen, Mocha is Yang Deficient. Her paws and ears are often cold to the touch, her tongue is pale and her pulse is steady but weak. While she still bosses her animal siblings around from time to time, she is no longer the boisterous terrier she once was. Stiff and achy, Mocha hobbles around her house with her back rigid, her knees unbending, and her head held low.

A rather cantankerous girl, Mocha enjoys her acupressure sessions. What Mocha loves more than the point work, though, is Moxa. Moxa is dried mugwort rolled into a tight stick that looks like a black cigar . When the end of the stick is lit, a burning ember produces a deep and penetrating heat encouraging a smoother flow of blood and chi throughout the body. Especially helpful in chronic and deficient conditions, burning the Moxa and holding the heat over specific acupressure points adds Yang Chi; something Mocha clearly needs given her affinity for warmth.

mochaFor an elderly dog like Mocha, Bl 23 (Shen Shu), GV 4 (Ming Men) and Bai Hui are a wonderful combination to provide energy to her waning Ancestral Chi and weakening back end. An effective technique is to create a figure eight with Ming Men as the center, Shen Shu as the top of the loop and Bai Hui as the bottom.

The warm Moxa should be held about 3-5 inches from the body and moved slowly, but not so slowly that it lingers too long over any one point. Placing the non-moxa hand on the animal’s body will provide a good sense of how much heat the animal is receiving. A significant amount of warmth can be generated in just 2-3 minutes.

Moxa has a distinct odor. While smokeless Moxa is not as strong as regular Moxa, some animals shy away from the scent at first. Allowing the animal to smell the unlit and lit stick is a great way to familiarize them with the odor. It’s important to explain the smell to guardians as well and provide proper ventilation if working in an enclosed space.

During Mocha’s first exposure to Moxa she was a bit uncertain, but even after a short-five minute session, her guardian reported Mocha had a kick in her step the next morning as well as an increased appetite and happier disposition. Now Mocha lies fairly still (for a terrier) during her sessions and the Moxa has clearly helped decrease her arthritic pain, increased her mobility, and help tonify her Yang Chi.

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 Moxa Precautions

Dr. Lena McCullough, D.V.M., of Seattle, uses Moxa for a variety of conditions, but she also recommends the use of Infrared Heat/Light. You can read about her recommendations on her blog,  A Path With Paws (a wonderful resource for more than just Moxa).IMG_7066 _Snapseed

Dr. McCullough lists a number of precautions (included in the list below) with Infrared Heat and they hold true for Moxa too.

  • There is smokeless Moxa (recommended by Dr. McCullough) but it still has a smell. Some clients (human and animal) like it; others do not. Before using it, explain the smell and let the client sniff the unlit stick. Let them be the judge if they want it to be burned or not.
  • If possible, provide ventilation if the smell is too strong.
  • Demonstrate the level of heat by using the Moxa with the human client first (if willing) so they can feel the degree of warmth and understand what their animal is experiencing.
  • When using the Moxa on the animal, keep one hand near the area to feel the level of warmth being applied. Adjust the distance as needed.height
  • Keep the Moxa moving. Do not linger on points for too long. A circular movement helps with chi and blood flow while a slow sweeping motion can pull energy down through the the legs, a benefit to elderly animals.
  • Store the Moxa stick in a dry, airtight container. A Mason jar filled about halfway with rice or grain works well. When done using the stick, push the burning ember into the grain and tighten the lid on the jar. This not only puts out the ember, but it keeps the Moxa dry and ready to use for the next client.
  • Every minute or so, flick the ash off the stick into the Mason jar.
  • If after using the Moxa the condition worsens, clearly stop using it.
  • Never use on Bl 18 (Gan Shu -Liver) because liver dislikes heat
  • If the animal runs hot, avoid using Moxa – it can make a hot condition even hotter increasing inflammation in an area that needs cooling instead.
  • Don’t use moxa for animals who are prone to seizures or who have cancer.

tallgrass dog acupressure*Gretchen is a Tallgrass Certified Small Animal Acupressure Practitioner, a Small Animal Massage Therapist, and NBCAAM certified in both. As the owner of TripleDog Pet Services, she and her faithful companion, Rubin divide their time providing dog walking, pet sitting, and acupressure, massage and swim therapy in the Seattle area.

 

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Acupressure Points for Equine Joint Health

By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis, Tallgrass Animal Acupressure

Ever have a horse whose joints go snap, crackle, and pop as he’s walking? Equine sports can be rough on joints. And, the older a horse gets the odds are arthritis will occur causing noisy and painful changes in his joints.
Osteoarthritis is most common in a horse’s weight-bearing joints such as the hock, fetlock, pastern, and coffin joints. It is less common for a horse to develop arthritis in the stifle joints and spinal column, but it does happen. And, osteoarthritis can affect other joints where there’s been an injury or repetitive, abnormal stress applied over a period of time.

Early detection of arthritis affords the opportunity to slow disease progression.  Early signs of arthritis or poor equine joint health can be:

  • Mild swelling and heat in the joint
  • Reluctance or refusal to perform in his usual sport
  • Stiffness following inactivity
  • Decrease in joint flexibility (range of motion)
  • Crunching (“crepitus”) sound when the joint is flexed
  • Tenderness of joint upon palpation
  • Tiring more quickly than usual, and, sudden attitude or mood change.

Equine Joint Hlth
More severe indications of arthritis include the same list of indicators given above but more exaggerated, plus – your horse will most likely exhibit some degree of lameness because his joints are painful. Arthritis hurts!
After thousands of years of clinical observation, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have shown by stimulating particular acupressure points (also called “acupoints”) we can enhance the harmonious flow of energy, called “Chi,” and blood through and around the horse’s joints. These acupoints nourish the joints by facilitating the supply of vital substances to the cartilage, bone, and soft tissues.

This chart shows the acupoints, their location and function, for you to stimulate to benefit the health of your horse’s joints!

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May the Force (Field) Be With You – Acupressure to Boost your Animal’s Immune System

by Gretchen Dietz, Tallgrass Blogger

As we move into the heart of the winter, chilly and wet conditions are widespread leaving us vulnerable to an invasion of viruses and bacteria. It’s no wonder that winter is referred to as the flu season!  While we don’t often think of protecting our animal family members during this time, they too are susceptible to the same pernicious influences (or pathogenic factors) we are. While Western medicine recognizes virus and bacteria as the only pernicious influences, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) connects climate patterns to their manifestation in the body.

There are six pernicious influences in TCM – wind, heat, cold, damp, dryness, and summer heat – and each alone or in combination with another describes a certain behavior of illness in the body. For instance, wind symptoms, just like a windstorm, come and go quickly, often without warning.  In the same way, cold symptoms slow down functions and cause contraction while heat causes inflammation and fever conditions.

From a Western viewpoint, a strong immune system protects the body against viruses and bacteria. Similarly in TCM, Protective (Wei) Chi guards the body from external pathogens. Wei Chi circulates on the surface of the body offering the first line of defense.  Like an invisible force field, healthy Wei Chi guards against the invaders of winter – cold, damp, and wind. If Wei Chi is weak, the force field can’t protect the body from those external intruders and viruses, which are always present in our environment, which may invade the body and can possibly lead to illness.

Boosting this protective force field and supporting the body’s natural immune system through regular acupressure sessions is a great way to maintain your pet’s overall health during the dark days of winter.

tallgrass animal acupressure, dog massage, dog acupressuretallgrass animal acupressure, horse acupressure, horse massage, equine acupressureThe following acupressure points (or acupoints) can be used in various combinations to help ward off external pathogens.

Bl 13 – Lung’s Hollow – Bl 13 is the Association Point for Lung and is responsible for regulating the Lung therefore of great benefit for any respiratory issue.

Lu 9 – Great Abyss– The Lung organ system is responsible for circulating Protective or Wei Chi. In addition, it also governs Chi and Respiration. Lu 9 is the Source Point for the Lung and like all Source Points, balances the meridian as needed. Lu 9 is particularly important because it promotes the circulation of Wei Chi throughout the body.

LI 4- Adjoining Valleys – This point helps increase white blood cell production stimulating the immune system. While this point is a great choice for general immune support, it might also be chosen after an illness.

LI 11 – Crooked Pool – Great at reducing fevers, this point helps clear toxins and like LI 4, increases white blood cell production and helps build Wei Chi.

Daily exercise and fresh quality food are also important in maintaining a healthy immune system. In combination with weekly acupressure sessions, you can help strengthen your pet’s force field to defend against those pernicious winter pathogens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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