Philip A.M. Rogers MRCVS
e-mail :
(1985, rewritten 1996)


Acupuncture (AP) is not miraculous; it has its failures. There are many reviews on the role of AP in the body's defence systems (Anon 1979a; Rogers et al 1977, 1981; Lin & Rogers 1980; Rogers and Limehouse 1990). It works by activating the physiological defence mechanisms of the body, thereby helping the body to help itself. It helps to restore function to all organs, parts and functions of the body if the following requirements are met:

a. the natural homoeostatic, adaptive and defence systems of the body are capable of responding,

b. appropriate AP points are used,

c. adequate stimuli are applied


Many serious and chronic disorders can be helped by AP: paralysis after a cerebrovascular accident; chronic pain; arthritic pain etc. Post-CVA paralysis may need 10-40 sessions of AP. In human patients, a long course of therapy is acceptable if there is a reasonable chance of success. However, in animals, attempts to treat many problems which could be helped by AP are judged to be uneconomic or unrealistic because of the work and veterinary fees involved in prolonged therapy. Most animal owners do not wish for a therapy which may need at least 6 treatment sessions. There are some exceptions, especially in valuable animals and in greatly loved family pets etc. Owners of racehorses, grey-hounds, pedigree breeding females and valuable stud males may accept AP for their animals. Because of the value of dairy cows, purebred beef cows and stud bulls, AP has a definite and wide range of indications in cattle. However, profit margins in pig production are very small and a pig, even a fattener, is worth little in comparison to the veterinary fees. Thus, many herd-owners would not consider AP for individual pigs if more than 1-2 sessions were needed. Therefore AP has few economic indications in pigs in the Western system, except in adult breeding stock (sows, gilts and boars). Furthermore, because of the difficulty involved in handling pigs, diagnostic AP using Shu, Mu and Trigger Points (TPs) has little practical role in pigs.


Most concepts in these papers are based on the human system of AP and on the results of transposition of the human system to dogs and horses.


My practical experience of AP in cattle is very limited. I have studied the literature on cattle AP and have seen it used by experts such as Oswald Kothbauer, Walter Greiff and the late Erwin Westermayer.


My practical experience of AP in pigs is zero but I am familiar with the literature and have seen it used by Kothbauer, Lin and Westermayer. In spite my relative inexperience of AP in cattle and pigs, the general concepts discussed in these papers can be applied successfully in practice.


The material for the seminar will be presented in two parts: