Acupuncture & TCM Articles
Allan Moffatt B.Sc., B.Acup.
Equine Horse Acupuncture Articles
Allan Moffatt has trained as a human acupuncturist. He has been practising equine acupuncture with traditional Chinese methods for more than twenty years and has a good understanding of the underlying processes involved. He teaches these via his online courses. He is the author of Equine Acupuncture And Acupressure Reference Manual.
Allan has experience with all types of horses. Extensive experience with natural treatments including herbal medicine, flower essences, kinesiology and homeopathics.
For more information about Equine Acupuncture And Acupressure Reference Manual and seminars by Allan Moffatt, please visit his website at www.horse-acupuncture.com
Horses and Acupuncture
Allan Moffatt B.Sc., B.Acup.
Entering more and more into established scientific knowledge is Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture. This forms a perfect polarity to our modern Western Medicine, and also to Homeopathy. The difference lies in their historical origins. In China over centuries and centuries there was a taboo against cutting up or dissecting dead bodies, and examining them. But this was how modern Western Medicine began in the middle 19th century. The Chinese had only the opportunity to explore the living bodies, and developed the concepts of the Life-force or chi to explain their clairvoyant and clairsentient perceptions.
Someone, long ago , like 5000 years ago supposedly the Yellow Emperor brought into existence a tract called the Nei Ching. This book laid out in detail the bulk of the knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of the human life-forces and their interaction with the Heavens, with the Earth and with other sentient beings, such as horses.
The human structure consisted of twelve main channels or energy axes along which the growth and development would occur beginning from the in utero period at conception.
Along these channels were energy points which were opening and closing like flowers.
Horse Acupuncture Chart
The horse structure is much the same, the energies coalescing and forming the physical structure which we first see at birth. The difference between human and horse is that humans have uprightness or upright energies . In humans this gives a Heavens to Earth ability, but in horses the principal energy remains parallel to earth with a small connection to the Heavens through the Third eye area where a unicorns horn would be positioned
‘In the horse the earth has been pushed up into four legs and a big heart put into it’.
This Heart gives the horse Spirit, and from it comes the sensation of ‘flying’ , through the power it receives through its hoofs from the Earth.
Acupuncture has its early origins in acupressure, where one touches and feels places on the body and notes their response. One learns to think laterally when you find that a point on the foot is the best for swelling and pain of teeth.. They are at opposite ends of the body and could hardly be further away. There is no logical, linear explanation to this. The Chinese view begins with the Whole, the Tao, and divides into the parts whereas the Western view takes the parts and puts them together to make the Whole.
Also it seems like magic when you first see a needle inserted through the skin and there is no bleeding. We have come to think of the body as solid yet now it is full of holes where needles can go. Our view has to change. This needling technique is a skill in itself and there are other skills which one has to develop, apart from the knowledge of the functions of each point and the Chinese diagnostic system.. Some people have these skills naturally and some people have to develop them.
These skills include
ability to feel or sense the life-force in the auric field
ability to feel/sense a point and its qualities, given its location.
ability to sense the internal movement of the life-force or chi
ability to sense temperatures.
ability to sense when healing has taken place.
ability to sense when healing is complete, and how long it will be before health is restored.
ability to sense complexions.
knowing what may be treated with acupuncture and what is better treated with something else.
ability to needle effectively without causing pain or using anaesthetics
ability to attune to horses, recognise their subtle movements and signals, and respond to these
Ability to feel or sense the life-force in the auric field
As you enter closer and closer to the horse you will notice and feel different responses at different distances and different locations, especially if you rush or try to go near the poll or ears. These responses you will learn to ‘read’ , and vary from one horse to the next, from one day to the next.
Ability to feel/sense a point and its qualities, given its location.
When first learning you will need to rely on anatomical point locations provided by textbooks.. It took me one year of full time practice before I could actually ‘feel’ where the points were. Now I can say " I see them through my fingers. My fingers have eyes and they see the flowers or energy vortices. They are very beautiful.
Ability to sense the internal movement of the life-force or chi
The chi or energy flow of each horse is very different. Some flow slowly, some flow quickly. On needling, some chi flows change slowly and some change quickly. Some may change so quickly it elicits a muscle spasm as the chi rushes through the muscles.
This sense is akin to feeling changes in the breeze on the skin. There is a phenomena called "da Qi’ or ‘getting chi’ which one feels for to occur after the needle is inserted. The stronger this chi grabs the needle the stronger the horses constitution is, and the faster it will heal. This is a method I use to determine inherited and constitutional strengths and weaknesses. This is very important if one wants to determine if offspring have the qualities you wanted to be bred into them
Ability to sense temperatures.
When I was learning I could not feel with my fingers hot or cold. I dreamed I swallowed a thermometer and then I could notice the hot and cold, and still can to this day.. Feeling heat in the shins or tendons could forewarn you of coming injuries unless the training schedule is changed.
Ability to sense when healing has taken place.
Just putting needles in anywhere is not necessarily going to do it. There is an art and science to it. . Injecting vitamin B12 may make the horse feel better but it is not acupuncture. There is a certain feeling that comes when a successful treatment is taking place. You will feel better. You may see colours. The horse’s breathing will get easier, and she may get sleepy. A shiver may pass through them as a shock releases. The horse will stand on leg it previously had stood off. The ears and eyes will relax. Wind may pass, and sighing occur.
Ability to sense when healing is complete, and how long it will be before health is restored.
When the healing is complete the horse will come out of its trance, acknowledge you and give indications it wants to be on its way such as looking for food. Without this sense one has to "watch the clock’ normally about twenty minutes.
Ability to sense complexions.
This is important in Chinese diagnostics. Though there are not too many colours that a horse can have the variations can be a good indication. I noticed one horse had a very dark complexion with dark all through the aura. I suggested this indicated a worm infestation, and sure enough tests showed levels of a very rare worm were way beyond normal. Often dark areas in the aura are an indication of pain. Also the coat thick at the wrong time of year indicates fatigue of Kidneys.
Knowing what may be treated with acupuncture and what is better treated with something else.
Stifle joint problems respond really well as does sciatica, sacroiliac pain, tail correction and spinal curvature, to name a few.. Acupuncture will not work i f horse has recently had cortisone containing drugs.
Ability to attune to horses, recognise their subtle movements and signals, and respond to these
Some horses like acupuncture, and just like with people, there are some who hate it. These may do better with a twitch, or in some cases put in a crush, or given a sedative by a vet.
One very useful application of acupuncture is to easily fill out muscle especially after wasting diseases, or to clear up old scar tissue.
From my most famous cases
1. The horse, a thoroughbred stood and stared all day at the passing traffic as if transfixed. The owners said it was a killer. Any animals that came near it , other horses , chooks , dogs even people, it tried to kill. Somehow I managed to get some needles around the ears and neck. The owners said that after several days a cheese-like substance came out of its ears and then the horse became like the horse they always wanted and knew she was, a gentle affectionate kind creature. The cheese-like substance had been from a brain sarcoma. I recommended that whenever it rained to give the horse some elder flowers to keep the sinuses clear so oxygen could get up into the brain.
2. Young horse pre-racing presented with Wobbler syndrome, could hardly coordinate back and front legs to walk. Over a period of 5 months once a month I used very long needles on it. My thought was that the horse was not likely ever to race and the owner said he would eat his hat if it ever won. At 10 years of age it had won over $100,000 in race money and the owner had to eat his hat quite a few times. Good result
Equine Horse Acupuncture and Acupressure Reference Manual
The approach I have taken here is, to provide a helpful reference for both the professional such as veterinarians, and the beginner, in the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to the healing of the horse.
The anatomic point locations are in veterinarian terms mostly and the photos are a useful adjunct to this for non-veterinarians.
The Action of the points is described in the traditional Chinese approach to help to provide a bridge for the understanding of that approach and how it provides a real foundation for how acupuncture works, as against the chemical, biological approach of Western Medicine.
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