Archived from 5elements4animals.com
originally posted on Jan 6, 2011
The 5 Element theory, aka Wu Xing refer to the 5 elements in the natural world, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water and their inter-relationships.
"The 5 Element theory was first formed in China around the time of the Yin and Zhou Dynasties (16th century BC to 221 BC). Later, it was adopted into medical practice, thus becoming a founding theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The 5 element priciples can describe the nature of the Zang-Fu organs, the inter-relationships between organs and the relationship between the animal body and and the natural world. Thus, the theory of the 5 Elements, together with the theory of Yin-Yang, serves to guide clinical diagnosis and treatment" ....(Dr. Xie, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, volume 1, fundamental principles.)
I will go into each element separately in more detail in later posts, but today will give a quick overview.
I use 5 element theory to diagnose the personality of the animal and his/her human companions. Many emotional problems of animals are direct reactions to their environment and caretakers so if i can reduce stress and conflict in the environment, both animal and human can be happier and healthier in their relationship.
A wood animal is confident, active and athletic. They can be superstar performers but are sensitive to stress and are easily angered and tend to be crabby and impatient. They will be alpha in the herd/pack and will need a strong and fair trainer.
A fire animal is friendly and hyper excitable. They are excellent show animals and love to be loved and come alive in the show ring or in front of a crowd. They are inquisitive with strangers and like to call to their herd mates/bark and are always moving. A fire needs a smart, watchful trainer with a full bag to tricks to keep an easily distracted fire engaged.
An Earth animal is friendly but lazy and laid back. They enjoy sleeping and eating and are eager to please. They are good workers once they get going on a task but tend to be slow and are not motivated to be superstars. They are happy to follow along on a trail ride and don't need to be first in line. Earths can be stubborn and become crabby if they feel forced into performing. The earth is food motivated and a smart trainer will use treats and positive reinforcement.
A Metal animal is very neat, quiet and confident. They are disciplined and know their job. They can not think outside the box and don't know why anyone would want to. They are in the middle of the pecking order and are happy to be turned out alone or be an only pet. They are a trainers dream because once taught a task, will be happy to perform it the same way over and over, however they are very difficult to reschool to a new discipline. The Metal needs an organized, disciplined and determined ie Metal trainer, to be reschooled but once trained is a school master.
A Water animal tends to be fearful of strangers both human and other animals. They can kick out or bite when afraid. They are usually submissive to all other animals in the pack/herd. They need a patient, kind and confident trainer who can give them emotional support.
Archived from 5elements4animals.com
originally posted on May 30, 2010
The first step in understanding Chinese medicine is to understand the theory of the Tao and the principle of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang is the interrelationship between 2 polar energies. The dark vs. light, inside vs. outside, man vs. woman. Neither can exists without the other and must be in balance to exist in harmony. The Yang Ming, is the brightest Yang (the white kitty) and the Great Yin is the black kitty. To be in harmony, there must be a little yin in the yang and a little yang in the yin (the paws and tail).
To apply this theory to health....
The Yin is your air-conditioner...it is cool and moist, while your Yang is the furnace. A Yin deficiency will show as false heat, or inability to cool down or deal with a hot environment or dryness which may show as cracked paws and dandruff. A Yin excess may have symptoms of extreme cold, slow pulse, depressed attitude and edema (too much fluid). A Yang excess will have symptoms of too much heat, red eyes, high metabolism, anxious, rapid heart rate, fever. While a Yang deficiency will show signs of extreme weakness and cold. Poor circulation, slow heart rate, the common symptoms of old age. Classifying the Yin/Yang imbalance helps us find the root of the problem.
Chinese medicine treatment involves treating not only the symptoms of heat/cold (yang/yin) imbalance but also the root of the problem causing the imbalance with a combination of acupuncture, herbs, tui na, diet and/or environment change.
Arthritis is treated differently if it is associated with a yin or yang deficiency or excess.
An old male dog with arthritis that is weak and warm seeking has a yang deficiency. His treatment would involve pain management and joint therapy with acupuncture, herbal and food therapy to support his yang (warm him). It may also include moxa treatments, back on track blankets and a heating pad on his bed in the winter. Treating the root of the problem with TCVM and a few environmental changes can provide a better quality of life than symptom management of alone.
An old female dog with arthritis that pants all the time, is cool seeking, restless at night, has stinky urine and has frequent bladder infections, may have hot, red, flaky skin has yin deficiency arthritis. Her treatment would also involve pain management but would include treatments to nourish the yin to help treat the root of the problem and hopefully soothe the heat signs.
Western medicine treatment for both these dogs would involve NSAID, steroids and joint therapy such as oral or injectable glucosamine and Hyaluronic Acid.
In my practice, I would treat the dogs yin def. or yang def with different TCVM treatments and would add joint therapy of injectable Gluc. and HA plus vitamin C and vitamin B but try to avoid NSAID and steroid use or be able to keep them comfortable on a smaller dose because of the side effects such as ulcers, liver damage, immune system damage, ect.
Food therapy can also be a powerful treatment for these dogs. Most commercial dog foods contain corn or chicken as the main ingredient. Switching to a home cooked diet or adding fresh foods to supplement the diet can make a big difference. The addition of omega fatty acids such as fish oil or ground flax seed also has natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Archived from 5elements4animals.com
originally posted on Jan 5, 2011
Acheologists determined that Neolithic man, 8000 years ago used a primitive type of acupuncture tool called the bian-shi. It is a pyramidal shaped stone used to lance boils and stimulate certain points on the body to relieve pain. Later a sharp piece of bone was used for the same purpose and during the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 1100 BC), the metal acupuncture needle was invented. As they tracked their clinical results, they discovered acupoints with similar functions formed a line on the body and the sensation of the de - Qi would follow a certain pathway...a meridian or Jing-Luo.
There are 12 paired regular channels that relate to the organs and 8 extraordinary channels, 2 of which follow the midline. The Governing vessel on the dorsal midline and Conception vessel on the ventral midline. There are also collateral and divergent channels that are smaller branches of the major meridians that link the organs and meridians to one and other to form an intricately connected pathway throughout the body.
You may have heard acupoints called different names by different practitioners. This is because we have several ways of naming the points. The Traditional nomenclature system is based on the location on the body, its corresponding organ, its therapeutic effect or a symbolic meaning. Some examples are Er - jian = tip of ear, Wei-shu = stomach association point, Jing-Ming = Brighten the eye, or Da-feng-men = great wind gate - which releases wind (seizure, itching, ect).
The western nomenclature system names the meridian and the location on the meridian, for example, BL 1 is the 1st point on the bladder meridian. HT 9 is the 9th or last point on the heart meridian. In veterinary medicine, some of the points are transpositional, meaning we have changed the location slightly to get the desired result but have to use a different anatomic point because of anatomical differences, ie horses only have 1 finger/toe, we cut off the thumb and big toe of the dog (dew claws), people don't have tails and obviously Bl 67, on the little toe, the last point on the bladder meridian will be in a different place on a dolphin or snake.
Archived from 5elements4animals.com
originally posted on Jan 11, 2011
What are meridians & what is their function ?
The meridians transport qi,blood & nourishment throughout the body. In 400 bc, the ancients had no idea about the krebs cycle, the immune system, nerve conduction or lymphatic drainage. By observation, they realized that fluids & electrical impulses flowed throughout the body with supplementation from the external environment and this was necessary for life of all living things.
The meridians also connect the organs & maintain homeostasis. How do our bodies maintain a constant temperature, maintain balance, how does our endocrine and immune system work ? We tend not to ponder these questions until we have a fever, get bedspins, suffer from diabetes or get a bee sting or fight off the flu. These questions have been answered relatively recently but practioners have been treating disease based on observations for thousands of years.
If the bodies defenses become weak, the external invaders can use the meridians to transmit disease. For example, a particle of flu virus lands on your mucous membranes, enters your blood stream & replicates in your lungs & lymph nodes. The meridians also reflect the symptoms of disease which is how practitioners can make a diagnosis. For example, liver heat can manifest as yellowing of the sclera/jaundice and the eyes are associated with the liver.
The meridians transport the therapeutic effects of herbal therapy & acupuncture. The arrival of the de qi is the reaction of the body to acupuncture. The de qi effect can feel like heat, tingling, pain or heaviness. Human patients can tell the dr what he feels. We vets look for muscle twitching or slight changes in behavior in our animal patients. The de qi response results in a release of endorphins, the bodies endogenous pain killers & muscle relaxers.
I use 3 kinds of acupuncture in my practice : dry needle, electro and aqua acupuncture. Dry needle is simple insertion of small acupuncture needles. During electro acupuncture, the needles are connected to a battery powered stimulator to deliver a painless low voltage current to the meridian. For Aqua acupuncture, I inject a small volume of vit b 12 or glucosamine into the point. This causes a small blister and gives continual stimulation over a few days.
Practices Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Sarasota, Florida