Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine: Integrative? Holistic? Alternative? Complimentary? What doe
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM): Is it Integrative? It is Holistic? Is it Alternative? Is it Complementary? All of the above? What exactly is TCVM? Why should my Pet have it? Where can I find it?
To me, "holistic" medicine means treating the whole patient. I have practiced "holistic" medicine since I graduated vet school. I treat the whole pet as an individual. I want wellness to stem from their environment, their diet, and their mental and emotional well-being. It's more about treating each pet as a unique individual and choosing preventative care and disease management tailored to them. Overall, the healthier your pet is, mentally, emotionally, and physically, the less disease they will have.
Holistic medicine can use western veterinary medicine in order to prevent and treat disease. After all, it's about wellness of the whole individual. It does not have to include any other therapies other than typical western medicine and surgery. Where do other types of medicines such as TCVM, Homeopathy, Functional Medicine, Reiki or Energy Medicine, Herbal Medicine fit in?
These are "alternative" medicines. I think a better term is Integrative or Complementary medicine. Integrative medical practitioners tend to use both western medicine and an alternative medicine, such as TCVM, in order to better diagnose, treat and prevent disease. While the term "holistic" is more about the individual approach. Alternative, integrative or complementary medicine represents that more techniques than just western medicine are used to benefit the patient.
Over the last 4 years, I have had the privilege of learning about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, TCVM. I have been amazed at how using this ancient method of medicine, has given me new insights in order to help my patients achieve wellness.
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is not just about treatment. It's about identifying imbalances in the body. It's about recognizing what is excess or deficient in the body. It's about looking at a unique individual and knowing what systems are being stressed or overused, and how that will affect the body long term, or how that is affecting your pets body now. It's about identifying your pet's constitution into one of the 5 elements. It's about identifying the four treasures in your pet, such as Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang. Once a TCVM pattern, or imbalance, is identified, TCVM treatment techniques can be used to treat that imbalance and achieve health, energy and wellness. We use techniques such as acupuncture, herbal therapy, food therapy, and Tui-Na or massage therapy.
Western Veterinary medicine has saved lives. There is no dispute that western medicine is effective. But Western medicine is about control. Eastern medicine is about balance. There is room for both. Western medicine treats symptoms. Eastern Medicine tries to balance the body so that symptoms are reduced. But further, Eastern medicine predicts or identifies ways that the body will use up certain resources and helps each individual replenish and stockpile those resources. Western medicine is more reactive, and eastern medicine is more proactive.
In my opinion, where TCVM truly excels at identifying and treating debilitating chronic disease, even when no western diagnosis is made. While western medicine is a quick effective method for acute disease management. For example, if a dog has an ear infection, I'm going to reach for a western pharmaceutical to combat the infection and inflammation in the ear. But if that ear infection keeps coming back, I'm going to identify the TCVM pattern that keeps allowing the body to set up an environment where infections happen. One is reactive medicine, one is proactive medicine. They work together very well. They "compliment" each other.
What pet can benefit from TCVM? Most of my clients seek me out when western medicine has failed their pet. While, in most cases, I can help these pets, I would prefer to see a pet as a lifelong program of balancing. By identifying imbalances early, or identifying what could potentially be an imbalance based on their lifestyle and their constitution, we can hopefully avert more debilitating problems. So, the short answer is that any pet can benefit from TCVM.
Where can you find a TCVM practitioner? Me! Me! Pick Me! Seriously, if you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I'd love to see you. Call us! But if you are not in DFW, then you can easily find a TCVM practitioner. Just head to the Chi Institute website and use their resource provider to locate someone in your area!
Integrative medicine can change the course of your pet's life. Just ask my 17 year old dog, Freckles (She actually does have a ton of freckles under all that fur). Four years ago, she could barely make it up the stairs, and she coughed. ALL. THE. TIME. Her western diagnosis was chronic bronchitis and arthritis. Basically, western medicine said she was old. She was wearing out, winding down... And at 13 years old, western medicine was right. But, that's when I started my journey to get a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. I diagnosed her in the TCVM way. I treated her with just TCVM modalities. I changed her diet, added herbal supplements, performed some acupuncture....
Freckles just turned 17. She rarely coughs. She goes up and down the stairs. She chases bunnies (when she can see them, her vision isn't what it used to be). She bounces in and out of the house. She is a happy, symptom free, 17 year old dog. I thought 4 years ago, she would not be around much longer. Without TCVM, she wouldn't be. Both of us are grateful for the extra years and extra energy. (And no coughing). Isn't that the life we all want?? Especially our "babies"?
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