Although Western medicine is the most commonly practiced veterinary medicine, a growing number of Eastern therapies are gaining popularity.
Eastern medicine, or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the philosophy of Taoism. Similarly, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), is the animal counterpart of TCM.
While Western medicine separates health from the disease, the fundamental difference between the two is that TCVM views wellness as a state of balance.
For example, instead of honing in on the symptoms of a specific illness, TCVM practitioners study a patient’s life as a whole to determine the unbalance causing the illness.
Another way of viewing it is: Eastern medicine adapts to an environment while Western medicine changes an environment.
In TCVM, balance within yourself and with others, as well as balance in nature and diet, are key to overall health and wellness. The practice originated through years of meticulous observation of nature, the cosmos and the human body.
Eastern Veterinary Practices
As mentioned, the principles of TCM and TCVM developed over a period of more than 3,500 years and are practiced all over the world, particularly in Eastern countries. However, TCVM is rapidly growing in the West as an adjunct to traditional approaches. This modality is often beneficial for animals that do not respond favorably to typical Western veterinary treatments.
TCVM practices include five major fundamental branches: Food Therapy, Acupuncture, Eastern Herbals, Tui-Na("twee-na") and Qi-Gong ("chi-gong").
All animals are susceptible to illness.
Instead of waiting for an ailment to occur and then treating it, TCVM practices emphasize prevention through a healthy and balanced life.
For example, in treating common viruses, allergies, and illnesses, a traditional veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, which are often over used, or strong pharmaceuticals with harsh side effects. The TCVM practitioner, however, may suggest a combination of Chinese herbal therapy, various forms of massage, acupuncture, and specific dietary guidelines.
These treatments are excellent in addressing ear infections, allergies, skin problems and chronic pain.
How NTVS Applies Eastern Medicine
In order to stay current, Dr. Marc Smith attends the Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida for continuing education in Eastern Medicine/TCVM.