In chinese philosophy health is defined as ‘harmony and equal flow of all life energy’. When this flow is disturbed, altered function and behaviour result –leading ultimately to signs of illness.

Acupuncture can be used to intervene at an early stage in this pathway. Thus, not only is illness averted but performance can be enhanced. This occurs not through bypassing certain organs but by optimising the physiological functions of the body.

In order to achieve good long-term results from acunpuncture, we must use it in accordance with the chinese philosophy. In this way conditions which may be difficult to manage with conventional medicine can be approached from an entirely alternative perspective. This philosophy opens the way to benefits entirely beyond those of limted ‘recipe acupuncture’ whereby a certain point is used for cough and another for lameness.

Acupuncture can fulfill a role in enhancing the body’s own healing abilities. Conventional medicine sometimes tends to supress this facility. In other cases the body’s natural defences are in full working order but are insufficient to overcome the illness. Such cases are not suitable for acupuncture and must be treated with conventional therapies.

As a vet it is important to me to establish, in each individual case, which approach will be best suited to that particular patient. Sometimes this means western medicine using the latest scientific developments and hi-tech equipment. Sometimes acupuncture from the ancient Chinese -and sometimes a combination of both.

To conclude this quick review of the possibilities and limits of acupuncture, let me leave you with the following thought:

‘With acupuncture we treat the horse rather than the illness’

With what do you perform acupuncture?

Acupuncture needles are made from stainless steel and packed in individual sterile wraps. In exceptional cases gold or silver needles may be used. The needles are 1.5-15cm long and between 0.15-0.4mm diameter. With the right technique their insertion is virtually painless.

What is the procedure?

Initially, the many indicator points are palpated and the case history is taken from the owner. After this diagnostic examination, needles are inserted by special technique at acupuncture points.

Very often the horse becomes deeply relaxed. For this reason he/she should not be distracted during the session (for example by food, other horses or body contact).

The duration of an acupuncture session depends on the patient and is rarely predictable. However, you can generally expect something between a few minutes and 45 minutes. The needles are removed when, after being firmly embedded, they suddenly become loose or when they start to come out on their own. After acupuncture your horse should not work for 2-3 hours.

At subsequent visits your horse will be fully examined again. With longstanding, chronic problems this is especially important. Often progress involves progression from a chronic to an acute state before health is reached.

Are there any side-effects?

Acupuncture is a potent method and, in order to be practised safely, should be performed by a technician with ‘quality controlled’ standards through, for example, the German Veterinary Academy for Continued Professional Formation (ATF) or the German Association of Physicians for Acupuncture DÄGfA.

The following side effects may be seen even with competent acupuncturists:

· Very occasionally, mild circulatory disturbance. For this reason I always stay until the end of the procedure.
· Signs may get worse before they get better.

Since sterile, single-use needles are used, infection is almost never a problem.

If you have any further questions or if you wish to fix an appointment for the treatment of your horse, please contact Dr. Isabell Herold.


Dr. med. vet. Isabell Herold  Mobil 0178-8886650

Dr. med. vet. Tilman Simon   Mobil 0178-8886651

Bürg 27, 83627 Warngau 08021-507888