December 20, 2022 8 min read
Most everyone has heard of acupuncture. After all, it’s been around nearly forever. Acupuncture has been practiced in Chinese human and veterinary medicine for thousands of years. BUT, did you know that acupuncture can be done in conjunction with ozone therapy? Just think of the possibilities of these two powerful treatments combined into one! The sky IS the limit here!
Let’s start at the beginning—always a good place to start.
The Acupuncture Now Foundation indicates that acupuncture is a medical therapy that uses extremely thin wires/needles to stimulate healing and to promote health. It works by stimulating specific points on the body with heat, pressure, and/or those very fine needles. Acupuncture can be used in every area of medicine for chronic and acute conditions.
According to an article from the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, acupuncture stimulates specific points (“acupoints”) in the body resulting in physiological changes for the better. Some of these changes include immune system stimulation, increase of blood flow, and blood pressure regulation. The stimulation of an acupoint causes nerve fibers to conduct electrical signals leading to endorphin release. Acupuncture works to block pain, and it can activate T-cell lymphocytes and increase the number of white blood cells for the treatment of immunodeficiency.
Acupuncture has been used in veterinarian medicine in the USA since 1972, and it is becoming increasingly popular in veterinary medicine given its highly impressive track record. In fact, many of God’s incredible species of animals including elephants, dogs, cats, monkeys, rats, rabbits, horses, cows, reptiles, and I’m sure many more, have experienced the benefits of acupuncture for chronic disease, lameness, degenerative joint disease, and even colic. Acupuncture is a definite go to for pain management, and it is safe to use in animals ranging in ages from infancy to geriatric.
The techniques used to administer acupuncture vary. The article referenced above tells us that dry needling is the most popular technique used in veterinary medicine. Dry needling uses filiform needles that are inserted into an acupoint. Other types of acupuncture include electro-acupuncture, aqua-acupuncture, hemo-acupuncture, acu-pressure, and pneumo-acupuncture. Sometimes, veterinarians will also use herbs when administering acupuncture.
Ozone therapy is so many things, but to summarize, ozone therapy is a powerful medical treatment that uses activated oxygen (ozone--O3) to treat chronic and acute diseases. It is a biological response modifier that increases oxygen utilization, optimizes mitochondrial function, and improves cellular health. Ozone therapy regulates antioxidants and immune cells. It assists circulation and oxygen uptake, and it has an antimicrobial effect on cells.
WOW! That covers about everything!
To say that ozone has been around for a long time would be a gross understatement. Ozone was discovered in 1785 and began being used in medicine in the late 1800’s. Just 96 years later, Nikola Tesla patented the first ever ozone generator. Obviously, ozone generators have evolved, and the means of carrying ozone to the body have increased substantially since that first generator hit the medical field.
Ozone hasn’t been used in veterinary medicine for hundreds of years, BUT, there are studies of ozone therapy helping animals dating back to the 1950’s, which is probably before most of you entered into this thing we call life. And ozone therapy IS gaining quick ground in its popularity in veterinary medicine as word gets out as to how powerful and effective it is in healing animals.
Ozone can be administered in over 14 ways! It can be applied topically, infused into the blood and tissue through various means, and/or introduced into a fluid or oil which acts as a carrier. Some of the specific ways that ozone is administered include rectal insufflation, O3UV, limb bagging/cupping, nebulizing through oil, as a rinse/lavage for wounds, ear insufflation, subcutaneous saline injections, Major Autohemotherapy, Minor Autohemotherapy, and the list goes on.
AND ozone can be used in conjunction with acupuncture.
Because both ozone and acupuncture reduce inflammation, relieve pain, assist in wound healing, and help with kidney and liver disease, what doesn’t make sense about combining the two treatments into one super, ultra, dynamic treatment?
Ozone can be used as a precursor to acupuncture and can actually enhance the benefits of acupuncture by delivering essential oxygen to the area. Ozone is versatile and can be used on any part of the body receiving acupuncture, and the combination of ozone and acupuncture can be used for almost any ailment, disease, or illness.
According to the International Scientific Committee of Ozone Therapy (ISCO3), “ozone-oxygen produces lipoperoxides, which produce metabolic stimulation, analgesia, and anti-inflammatory effects in both soft tissues and in nervous tissue. Ozone-oxygen has been used in traditional acupuncture protocols for localized pain relief and for systemic autonomic balancing.”
The Standard Operating Procedure written by the ISCO3 for ozone indicates that, when ozone is “introduced into tissue, it immediately reacts with lipids to form lipid peroxides. These peroxides can persist in the tissue for days to weeks. The ozone acts locally without any systemic implication and works to (1) stimulate vasodilatation increasing local circulation; (2) stimulate oxidative processes such as metabolism, anti-oxidant enzyme synthesis, and NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) activation; (3) produce an analgesic effect through the activation of the descending anti-nociceptive system; (4) release endorphins which block transmission of the noxious signal to the thalamus and cortex; (5) elevate the pain activation threshold through the oxidative inactivation of C-nociceptors; and, (6) decrease edema and inflammation.”
Using ozone with acupuncture also provides more oxygen to the mitochondria, which detoxifies and supports the immune system.
Ozone will go where it is needed in the body, so if it’s being injected before an acupuncture treatment, and there is congestion of CO2, which causes tightness, the ozone gas will move through the fascia to that area.
The process for administering ozone with acupuncture involves infusing ozonated saline subcutaneously around the areas where acupuncture will be done. When ozone has saturated the areas where acupuncture will occur, the acupuncture needles can be passed through the ozonated saline allowing for the ozone to be carried deeper into those acupoints.
Ozone gas can also be injected into the acupuncture points; HOWEVER, this is painful to the animal! If ozone gas is injected before the acupuncture treatment, it is VERY important that the concentration of ozone not be over 12ug/ml. Using a higher concentration of ozone can cause an animal to have a shock reaction due to the pain, and nobody wants to go there.
The chart below shows a suggested dosing guideline for the ozonated saline injection prior to an acupuncture treatment.
Following is a suggested protocol for an ozone/acupuncture treatment:
Determining the correct amount of ozone to use before performing acupuncture is a particularly important detail! And the answer isn’t cut and dry because it depends on which acupuncture point is being treated.
If the acupuncture point is on a small animal’s back, 3ml to 5ml of ozone would be appropriate. If the acupuncture point is on a limb of a small animal, 1ml to 2ml of ozone can be used.
As mentioned above, I must reiterate here that the concentration of the ozonated saline is very important! If it is determined by a veterinarian that an animal needs more than the recommended amount of ozonated saline before an acupuncture treatment, that ozonated saline should be made using a reduced ozone concentration level (less than 35ug/ml.)
A human study on ozone and acupuncture published in 2007 involved 120 patients with low back pain who were divided into three groups. The first group received electro-acupuncture. The second group received Danggui (an herb) through an injection point, and the third group received ozone through an injection point. The result showed that there were “significant differences in the therapeutic effect of the O3 acupoint injection group as compared to the electro-acupuncture group and the Danggui point injection group, but there was no significant difference between the electro-acupuncture group and the Danggui point injection group.” This study concluded that ozone acupoint injections are a convenient and highly effective therapy for low back pain.
The proof that ozone and acupuncture work profoundly well together really lies in the patient! As veterinarians begin to utilize ozone therapy along with acupuncture, the testimonials of success begin to surface.
Penelope was a ten-year-old female Dachshund who presented with rear-end paralysis. She was brought into a traditional veterinary clinic unable to stand. The diagnosis was a probable disc located between T3 and L1.
The owner was presented with a couple of options.
Unsatisfied with any of these options, Penelope’s guardian took her to an integrative veterinarian who recommended ozone therapy and acupuncture. Penelope was treated with ozonated saline, as well as ozone and acupuncture, and miraculously, she was walking three days later! Ozone therapy was a key factor in cutting the inflammation and increasing oxygen utilization, which ultimately led to total healing for Penelope. In the final analysis, Penelope’s guardian was thrilled with the fact that her beloved pup returned to full bladder tone and was able to walk normally.
Alice’s legs were chewed down to the bone by a rat or a raccoon. For pain and wound treatment, Alice received acupuncture and ozone along with ozone limb bagging, cold laser therapy, vitamin injections, and wound healing topicals. Alice healed up very nicely.
Pinky, the potbellied pig, was accidentally left out in the sun without shelter and got terribly sunburned. Pinky received acupuncture and ozone and an ozone sponge bath. She was in the animal hospital for a few days and recovered beautifully.
Hanky’s story is another wonderful example of acupuncture and ozone at work: Hanky was a ten-month old Mandarin duck when she presented at the clinic with an injured wing and serious sores on the bottom of her feet. Hanky was in rough condition when she arrived at the clinic. She greatly benefitted from acupuncture and ozone and an ozone bath. In fact, Hanky loved her ozone bath so much that she started drinking the water from the bath! Her feet were also lasered. Hanky, too, healed up very well.
Sabrina is my final example, though there are so many others!! From the mouth of Dr. Mitchell McKee comes Sabrina’s beautiful true story:
“It was about the time that I joined y’all (O3Vets) at the first ozone therapy forum and heard about combining acupuncture with ozone. “She (my client) brought Sabrina in for the first treatment. She brought her in with her back legs in a sling. Not really knowing yet how to use the ozone well, I gave 30ml of ozonated saline on either side of the bladder channel and then did electrical acupuncture. The next day, after we did our first session, the owner walked into the living room, and Sabrina was up and walking around. She was not able to use her back legs one day, and then she was up and walking around the next!”
Without further ado or words spoken, I leave you with this epic visual message about the absolute healing power of ozone and acupuncture!