Holistic Rehabilitation Therapies for Pets

April 14, 2009

As the acceptance and demand for holistic therapies in humans increases, many pet owners are seeking similar therapies for their pets as well. As a result of this increased demand, the American Veterinary Medical Association has established guidelines for veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathic and holistic treatment.

The Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation and Fitness Service at The Animal Medical Center (AMC) offers a wide array of therapies for pets, including holistic approaches such as acupressure, acupuncture and Reiki.

acupressure-chartAcupressure is an ancient healing art using the fingers and other parts of the body to skillfully press key points (see image, right), which stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. Acupressure uses gentle to firm pressure and integrates body work therapies, therapeutic touch, somatic work, healing imagery, energy psychology and massage therapy techniques. The goal of practicing acupressure is to restore and maintain the natural balance needed in the body to create optimal health and well-being. Some benefits of acupressure include strengthening muscles, joints and bones, increasing blood flow and reducing swelling and inflammation.

The word acupuncture comes from the Latin acus (needle) and pungere (to prick). Traditional Chinese acupuncture points are situated on meridians along which qi, the vital energy, flows. When these trigger points are stimulated, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of acupuncture-catblood and the body’s life force energy to aid healing. Acupuncture involves inserting fine, sterile, disposable needles into specific body parts. When these trigger points are stimulated, they release muscular tension and promote circulation of blood and the body’s life force energy to aid healing.

Acupuncture and acupressure use the same pressure points and meridians, but acupuncture employs the use of needles. Many conditions may benefit from acupuncture treatments, including orthopedic and neurological conditions. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of certain neurotransmitters like endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killers, and smaller amounts of cortisal, an anti-inflammatory steroid.

reiki-dogReiki is a gentle, noninvasive, holistic energy healing system that yields powerful results for body, mind and spirit. Reiki is a wonderful healing tool for pain relief following surgery, easing symptoms of chronic conditions and calming an animal’s anxiety and fear.

The Rehabilitation and Fitness service offers Reiki sessions to both inpatients and outpatients. Reiki can be offered in conjunction with rehabilitation or as individual Reiki sessions.

The Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation and Fitness Service at
The Animal Medical Center
The only facility of its kind in New York City, The AMC’s Rehabilitation and Fitness Service provides innovative and state-of-the-art therapies for cats, dogs, birds and exotic animals. The Service specializes in non-invasive therapies to prevent the need for surgery, and in cases where surgery has been performed, it helps to accelerate and achieve a more complete recovery. Therapies offered include hydrotherapy, treadmills and deep-tissue ultrasound, as well as holistic therapies such as Reiki, Acupuncture and Acupressure.

The Service is directed by a team of professionals who are experts in the rehabilitative care of companion animals, including New York City’s only Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioners and Therapists.

The Rehabilitation and Fitness Service Staff
Deirdre Chiaramonte, DVM, DACVIM
Renee Shumway, LVT, CCRP
Taisha Gonzalez, LMT, LVT, CCRP
Shawna Sheridan, LVT

To reach the Rehabilitation and Fitness Service, call 212.329.8610 or email rehab.fitness@amcny.org.

For more information about The Animal Medical Center or to make a donation, visit www.amcny.org.


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