Similarities & Differences Between Acupressure & Acupuncture - By: Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis,
A horsefly is mid-air, within inches of landing on the horse’s flank. The surface of his flank twitches just before the fly has a chance to land, warding it off in advance of being stung. This is how sensitive a horse is! He can feel everything within inches of his body.
Your dog is asleep across the room. You look at him and suddenly his head pops up and he looks back at you. Your dog actually could feel you’re looking at him. This is how energetically connected a dog is! Cats are very aware of their own energy, and they let you know exactly what they want and what they don’t want.
Because of the extraordinary energetic awareness and sense of their surrounding “personal space,” animals are highly responsive to the ancient Eastern healing modalities. Acupuncture and acupressure are based on the same principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The Chinese have found stone needles (Bian Shi) in tombs that are considered to be at least 3000 years old.
Similarities between Acupressure and Acupuncture
Acupressure and acupuncture are identical in their approach to healing. Balancing vital energy and substances that sustain and nourish the body is key to both disciplines. In TCM, energy balance must remain or be regained for the body to be healthy or create an environment for healing. When there is an imbalance in the flow of energy, called chi (pronounced “Chee” and also seen as Qi), the animal may have either acute or chronic signs of ill health.
Both acupressure and acupuncture work with acupoints which are located along energetic pathways, known as meridians and extraordinary vessels. These acupoints are accessible to manipulation by either touch or needles. The intent in stimulating acupoints is to support or restore the harmonious flow of chi and other vital substances.
The Distinction between Acupressure and Acupuncture
The most obvious difference between the two disciplines is that acupressurists rely on the use of our hands, fingers, and elbows to stimulate specific acupoints. Acupuncturists use very thin needles that are quickly inserted into the skin leaving the needle to perform the necessary movement of a blockage or stagnation. Both techniques can work effectively, but only a veterinarian trained in TCM and specifically in acupuncture can perform an acupuncture treatment.
Acupressure relies on many different acupressure-massage techniques known in Chinese as Tui Na (the original Chinese meridian massage) to stimulate acupoints. Acupressure is non-invasive, always available, and safe for all owners, trainers, and healthcare providers to offer animals. However, it does require study of TCM and its application.
By learning acupressure-massage, everyone who cares about horses, dogs, and cats has the opportunity to participate in the health and well-being of these animals. It is a rich study, and so many animals can benefit from this work.