A tale of two horses

 

If you have any doubts about the efficacy of acupuncture and moxa treatment. Please read below. Animals do not “know” about acupuncture and oriental medicine yet the results I think prove that something good is happening.

 

3 Years ago…

I was asked by the owner of a ranch if I could look at one of her sick horses.

I had never previously treated a horse before, but because I knew the owner very well  I decided to see if I could help and take a look at the horse. Horses have served humankind really well. They deserve to be well looked after.  When I actually saw the condition of the horse it didn’t look well, its coat was oily and it looked really tired and I thought that perhaps I may not be able to help. I was told that he had been like it for a couple of years and hadn’t been ridden for around the same time.

Methods of perception

Before seeing the horse I’d read up a little bit about how vets sometimes treat horses and in some cases, they were approaching the treatment from a very scientific angle. Acupuncture definitely deserves a better explanation or approach. Well, let me put it another way Oriental medicine can’t be compared to western medicine, technology or science because the paradigm is completely different. This is because you can’t measure “perception” by creating a machine  ( Technology ) to measure it ( Science ). We determine the effectiveness of the application of our art by looking at the perceived results unfolding in front of us. Of course, the better the application, then the better the results. This is also not so easy, because the practitioner will need a certain level of experience doing acupuncture. Even though I had never previously treated a horse, a “level” of experience was in my favor.

This is quite different than following point formulas written in a book and making comparisons with western medicine and isn’t, I should add, a necessarily wrong approach. Both approaches will give results. But we’re after a certain level, quality, and experience, which is sometimes limited in the scientific approach. Also, one’s application is limited by technology and it is foolish for any acupuncturist to say they are only as good as their tools. Furthermore, the practitioner needs to have been able to perceive the potential of their craft to get the best out of it. To be a master in anything, then you have to dispense with the approach of a technician. Anyway…I will add that treating people is more sophisticated than treating horses but the methodology of the artist is basically the same.

The general principles of Ki ( energy )

In treating the horse, I used needles on points that connect with the organs (transportation/ storage ) via the meridians ( circulation/ radiation ) on the Tai Yang meridian plus a couple of points that I felt were good. Following just one session, a week later I asked the owner how her horse was. She told me that the horse had changed significantly. It sounded too good to be true, so I asked to see the horse. Even I have my own doubts sometimes any “miracle” makes me somewhat suspicious.

I was shown to the same stable where the horse was, but when I saw the horse I thought it was a different horse, and she must be mistaken. It was the same horse. I treated it again, and we took it to the paddock and it rolled on its back. This the owner explained a horse will only do if it is comfortable.

After this, I didn’t see the owner or treat any more of her horses until..

3 years later!

I hadn’t seen the owner for this long, she walked into my clinic to make an appointment a few weeks ago. I was pleased to see her. She told me that she was very very tired and had been seeing another practitioner ( not acupuncture ) but it didn’t really help her much. I said that I was sorry she didn’t come to see me as it was always a pleasure to see her. She was indeed very tired. I treated her and booked her in the following week. When I saw her at the next appointment she was much happier and healthier looking. She told me that she was surprised how quickly she responded and when we finished I said ok, would you like to pop in again. She said, “ Steve, I have this horse that’s really bad..” it made us both laugh, I said, of course, ill see it. I was sure that acupuncture and moxa are excellent for horses and just kept in mind to just follow the basic principles of Ki ( energy ) but this time I also wanted to do a bit of moxa which I hadn’t used on the horse 3 years previously.

Doing the moxa ( I used a stick ) was somewhat amusing given that we were surrounded by straw…I laughed as I lit the moxa and looked at the straw, the owner and the horse, the wooden stables.

I heard a couple of days later that it had made a significant change, with more energy and stability. It was, she said, definitely in less pain and she felt that the horse will recover. I will see it again for another treatment and I think this will probably be sufficient.

I would like to leave you this statement to ponder yourself. Horses and children or seniors over 70 are really great for acupuncture and moxa treatments and evidently, sometimes respond better than younger adults or humans.

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Illustration by Etsuko Nagahama // Photos by Harumi Urano
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