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Love 4 Paws

Canine Rehabilitation Therapy

Acupressure & TCM

Acupressure and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are ancient healing arts, having been used in the East for thousands of years. Acupressure is performed by skillfully putting pressure on key points, which stimulate the body to heal itself.

Acupressure and Acupuncture use the same pressure points, but Acupuncture employs needles, and acupressure uses gentle firm pressure. Acupressure can be used as a treatment for almost any condition that can be treated with Acupuncture.

Acupressure is not used to treat conditions requiring surgery.

Where are these key acupressure points?

The Acupressure points lie in the depressions between muscles, tendons or ligaments and bones. If you can think of muscles, tendons and ligaments as being mountains, the acupressure points are in the valleys between the these and the bones - and not on top of the mountains. Acupressure points are almost never on a bone. They usually lie just to one side, in front or behind the bone.

There are very early records in the East of the use of Acupressure and Acupuncture in animals. However, the Acupressure Point Charts which are used to find the points for domestic animals are mainly devised from the Human charts. With an in-depth knowledge of animal anatomy, the points are easy to find.  

How do you know which points to use?

In practicing Acupressure with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the practitioner considers all aspects of an animal's life and their characteristics. We cannot separate an animal's health from their environment, the food they eat, how they spend their time, the amount of daily exercise, their physical traits, gait, response to sound, how they smell, and the look in their eye - everything that characterizes the animal's life. We view the animal and their life as whole.

The Acupressure Practitioner uses Health History, Visual Observation, Listening and Smelling, and a Physical Examination to determine which acupressure points will benefit the animal.

In a healthy animal, 10-12 points are used in one session. In very young, very old, or animals that are not well, 4-6 points are used in one session. 

How Acupressure works

Acupressure works on Meridians. Meridians are a network-like channel system that transports energy to all areas of the body. There are 12 major meridians that are each associated with an organ in the body. There are also other pathways that connect and collect energy from the meridians.

When these acupressure points are pressed, they can redirect energy flow, strengthen or tonify the muscles, bones and internal organs, or disperse pain. These all help to create balance in the body. 

What conditions benefit from acupressure?

Here is a list of some common conditions that can be treated with Acupressure:



Dry, Itchy Skin


Gastrointestinal Disorders

Grief & Sadness

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

Immune Strengthening

Low Back Soreness


Respiratory Conditions

Shoulder Soreness

Some Hearing & Vision Disorders

Trauma & Shock

"As part of my treatment programs, I invariably instruct clients to perform either acupressure or massage techniques on their animals as part of a home healing process. I often suggest that clients massage even young and healthy animals on a regular bases because, not only can acupressure and other forms of massage be used to treat various conditions and keep them from worsening, but such treatments can often prevent imbalances from occurring in the first place."

Dr. Cheryl Schwartz, DVM from the book "Four Paws, Five Directions - A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs".