Chinese medical theory is based on the underlying idea of Qi (pronounced “chee”) flow. Qi is often translated as “energy,” but can also be understood as “function.” All of the functions of the body can be described in terms of its Qi. Each aspect of the body can have too much or too little. When the energy flow gets stuck or the amount is incorrect, symptoms are observed. Symptoms are created when the body is trying to re-establish a normal flow of Qi. The goal of Chinese medicine treatments is to help the body re-establish the normal amount and flow of Qi. Chinese medical therapy consists of diet, exercise, acupuncture, and herbs and can be beneficial in the treatment of many ailments.
Acupuncture is several thousand years old and is the practice of placing thin, sterile, stainless steel needles in specific locations on the body to affect a specific response. These needles are so thin that several can be placed inside a vaccine needle. The needles are placed into acupuncture points. Most acupuncture points are located in the muscle layer under the skin; some are in the tendons. Microscopically, the acupuncture point is found to be a locus of fine nerve endings. Stimulation of a specific point will result in a specific, repeatable response.
For dogs and cats, acupuncture is a simple, painless process, typically recommended at ongoing, regular intervals depending on the condition being treated. Treatment sessions take about 20-30 minutes and are easily tolerated.
Herbal medicine involves the use of compound products administered most commonly in the form of tablets or powders. Most medicinal herbs are of plant origin, although some minerals and animal products are also used. Most Chinese herbal medicines are made up of five to 15 individual herbs. Formulas are designed to treat the syndrome, not a single symptom.
Classical homeopathy is based on the 18th century teachings of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann and seeks to cure the problem, not merely treat it.
Homeopathy is based on the idea that the body creates symptoms in an attempt to heal itself. Persistent symptoms are evidence of the system needing help. Remedies (or medicines) work by stimulating a focused inflammatory response that supports what the body is already trying to do. This supports the theory of “like cures like.” That is, a substance that creates symptoms can be used to stimulate a cure of the diseased state. Symptoms are not the disease; they represent the illness. Symptoms are evidence the body is responding to a problem.
Homeopathic remedies come from a wide array of plants, minerals, salts and some animal products. Homeopathic remedies are usually used individually, rather than in combination. Concurrent use of some conventional medications, especially steroids, may interfere with the body’s ability to respond to homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathic treatments provided by: Jordan Kocen, DVM, CVA.
Just as for humans, massage therapy for dogs and cats can improve circulation, relieve tension and muscle strain, promote healing, and increase range of motion and flexibility. This hands-on treatment works well for pets suffering from chronic pain, anxiety issues, muscle spasms or atrophy, and problems associated with aging. Massage therapy has become an essential part of the canine athlete and working dog routine. Using massage techniques and trigger point therapy, we can enhance performance and potential, and improve quality of life.
Animal chiropractic care has been practiced for more than 100 years as a treatment option to improve gait and mobility as well as alleviate pain. Growing in acceptance and popularity for dogs and cats, animal chiropractic care aims to improve and preserve the health of the neuromusculoskeletal system. Chiropractic therapy can be helpful in treating injuries or chronic conditions like arthritis.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation for dogs and cats is often recommended post-operative care following orthopedic surgeries, but it is also helpful in treating and managing various debilitating conditions. Pets dealing with chronic pain or age-related conditions, or recovering from athletic or traumatic injuries, are common candidates for physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Similar to what you may expect for human physical therapy and rehab, treatment sessions involve some hands-on massage and manipulation, but also exercises using equipment and tools, such as stability balls, elastic bands, weights, and treadmills.
In addition to the current services offered, VHC has plans for an underwater treadmill in the near future for its PT and rehab patients, as well as those seeking safe, pain-free exercise to help with weight loss.
Craniosacral and Myofascial Therapy
The Craniosacral system is made up of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, the bones of the skull and sacrum and the cerebrospinal fluid. The bones of the skull and sacrum, previously thought to be fused, actually have slight movement along the adjacent surfaces. Trauma, toxins and stresses can inhibit the normal movement of these structures resulting in pain and decreased neurologic function. Craniosacral Therapy uses gentle manipulations to re-establish the normal movement within the craniosacral system resulting in decreased pain, improved neurologic messaging, and better health.
The fascia (pronounced “fasha”) is the connective tissue that is similar to a body stocking located just underneath the skin. The fascia extends from the brain to the extremities and surrounds the internal organs, as well. It provides structure and nutrition to the organs and cells of the body. When a trauma occurs in one area of the fascia it can affect other places as well because of the web-like nature of the fascial net. Myofascial Therapy consists of gentle, directed stretching of the tissues to release tension and allow better movement of the “body stocking”.
Craniosacral and Myofascial Therapy are often used together in cases of mobility and neurological disorders. Common conditions include chronic ear infections, equilibrium problems, head tilt and seizures.
Craniosacral and Myofascial Therapy provided by:
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered
by “laying on hands” and is based on
the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. Reiki itself is “spiritually guided life force energy.” A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit. Beneficial effects include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of healing that everyone can benefit from, including animals! Animals respond very well to Reiki as they have an innate understanding of energy. Most animals find Reiki to be relaxing and may experience the same benefits as humans. It’s a wonderful compliment to other forms of holistic and conventional treatments. Reiki has been shown to be effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.
Reiki provided by: Juli Richardson, RMT, Certified Psychic Medium
Local trainers share VHC’s training room for their private clients and training programs. VHC encourages positive reinforcement and training methods.
VHC offers a limited selection of “raw” pet foods and premium treats, as well as other nutritional and therapeutic supplements. We carry products helpful for mobility support, training, and therapy. Consult with your practitioner or a member of the staff for advice and information on the specific products for sale.