Skip to Main Content

Equine Acupuncture: Restoring Balance & Harmony

Therapeutics like acupuncture are becoming a common supplement to traditional veterinary medicine. But how do they work? Here, our Ocala vets talk about how equine acupuncture can be used to restore your horse's Qi or energy balance, helping them recover from injuries and illnesses.


Acupuncture for Horse Health

Acupuncture has become an increasingly common method of addressing chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders in horses. It has also been shown potential to be used to treat and manage other conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, anhidrosis (lack of sweat), uveitis (eye inflammation) and more.

What is equine acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment method that originated in China more than 3000 years ago. When your horse has acupuncture, the practitioner will place needles at specific points on the body known as acupoints. This is to help reduce pain and inflammation while restoring balance to your horse. The idea is that once balance is restored, your horse's body will then be able to heal itself. In modern veterinary medicine, acupuncture is often combined with traditional treatments.

Acupoints & Their Effect on Your Horse's Qi (Energy Balance)

Acupoints are where pressure can be applied to alter the Qi that flows through your horse's body. Qi is defined as life force and energy. Each acupoint will affect a specific area of your horse's body, whether a region or a specific organ. With a little pressure or stimulation at certain acupoints, the practitioner can improve the flow of Qi to that area to target the symptoms.

One of the benefits of these acupoints is that they can be used to both diagnose and treat conditions. Acupoint palpitation can be applied as part of an exam to determine painful points on the body helping to identify issues and to monitor current treatment plans.

How does acupuncture help to restore equine Qi flow?

Acupuncture is used for more than just reducing pain or discomfort, it can help improve the flow of Qi which is thought to flow through the body three times each day. By improving the flow of Qi, your horse's energy balance is restored. While the exact reasoning for how acupuncture and the flow of Qi impact healing, it is suggested that acupuncture can stimulate the nervous system, influencing physiological processes such as the release of endorphins, anti-inflammatory responses, and blood circulation.

What is equine acupuncture used to treat?

Acupuncture is very effective in treating a variety of health conditions in horses including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Eye problems
  • Colic (except surgical colic)
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Anhidrosis (lack of sweat)
  • Behavior problems
  • Anxiety
  • Neurological issues
  • Immune-related conditions
  • Musculoskeletal disorders such as lameness

How is acupuncture performed on horses?

At the beginning of the acupuncture appointment, the practitioner will discuss your horse’s medical history with you and perform a physical exam including the palpation of acupoints. They will then choose which acupoints to address based on your horse's condition and the desired outcome.

There are a few different types of acupuncture and the types chosen will also depend on the goal of treatment. These include dry needling, in which small steel needles are used; aquapuncture, which involves injecting fluid into the acupoint; and electroacupuncture, which consists of electrical stimulation being delivered through a dry needle attached to an electroacupuncture machine.

Once treatment is complete there is no downtime, but a 24-hour rest period may be recommended. The frequency and duration of treatment with acupuncture and each session will depend on the recovery of your horse and the intended outcome.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding animals, or professional advice regarding equine regulations. For the diagnosis of your animal's condition and help to navigate regulations governing the care and transportation of equine animals please contact your vet.

Would you like to schedule your horse for acupuncture or other equine therapeutics? Contact our veterinary team at Florida Equine Veterinary Associates today.

New Patients Welcome

Florida Equine Veterinary Associates is passionate about the health of sport and performance horses. Get in touch today to book your equine athelete's first appointment.

Contact Us

(352) 620-2966 Contact