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Our next-door neighbor Judy owns a dachshund named Munchkin. Munchkin is a dear soul who loves nothing better than to run around in the yard and play fetch with her orange tennis ball and her mom-human, and every once in awhile dare to stand nose-to-nose with one or another of our feline brutes (from the safety of the other side of a screen door). She's white around the muzzle and a bit girthsome, but she's always ready for her ball, the mere mention of which sends her ears up radar-ready.

Recently Munchkin had a little health crisis, a swelling on one side of her neck. Her energy dropped to zero, and if she was petted or picked up at the wrong angle she yelped in obvious agony. We were all concerned for her, and the missus and I wondered if we were about to find ourselves consoling our neighbor on the occasion of her dear old friend's demise.

To the rescue: acupuncture!

Yes, acupuncture for a dog. Who knew? Apparently everyone but me. Judy took Munchkin to a veterinary clinic that offers acupuncture, and in a matter of days Munchy was back to her old self, dashing through the chin-high (for her) grass in search of her favorite orange orb.

Now me, I'm a natural-born yet unwilling skeptic. I like the idea of ghosts and UFOs and Nessie, but logic successfully prevents me from believing in them. Sticking needles in people and animals to make them healthier? My brain says No Way...and yet it can't be denied that thousands, nay, millions, of human beings have sworn acupuncture (and its more touchy-feely cousin, acupressure) made their illnesses and depressions and all manner of what-have-yous go away. And here's the thing that tilts my own needle closer to the “Hmmm, well...? side of the skeptic dial: Humans have an amazing ability to make themselves believe a lot of weird stuff. Yeti, Gray Men, Chupacabra! (I can't type that last term without the exclamation mark; chupacabra! See?) So certain people will accept without question and without fear the concept of introducing metal pointy things in their various bits to make them well, and in so doing, convince themselves that it's working. Bio-feedback, self-deception, whatever. BUT...

...animals don't have the capacity to wish themselves well, certainly not when some stranger in a mask is jabbing them with a sharp object.

Information about the topic I managed to find on-line states that there is no hard evidence suggesting the practice does any good. And yet Munchkin was all happy-skippy within days, after more traditional Western medical applications seemed to be ineffective.

I got nothin'. Maybe it really works, maybe it doesn't. All I can say is, whereas I found plenty of photos of acupunctured dogs, I have yet to find one showing a cat getting poked. It could be argued that dogs, people-pleasers that they are, would be willing to sit still for it if they think you're happy about it. Cats don't play that. Cats will cut you, dude.

                                 "Considering that I actually carry puncturing devices of my own at all times,

                                             this cruel insult is extremely short-sighted of you."


If you're a believer, more power to you. My googletron suggests that Natural Healing Veterinary Acupuncture, LLC and Northwest Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital are good choices for your pet pal. Should any humans be curious about the benefits of acupuncture, there's the well-regarded Inner Gate Acupuncture. A lot of people seem to swear by the treatments offered at these clinics, so who am I? Don't mind me.

But psst! Wouldn't you rather have a massage sans puncture? Tell him Rob sent you.

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Comment by Lorri E. on June 28, 2013 at 6:25am

About a year or two ago I had a random bout of insomnia that lasted for a month and I was getting so run down I was getting desperate.  I didn't want to take medication so I thought-- what the heck, let's give acupuncture a try.  Within two visits I was sleeping soundly through the night once again.  I wasn't sure if I "believed in it" either, but hey--it works, so who cares if you don't understand exactly how it works?  I highly recommend AcupunctureNWPDX.com! I see Stephanie Worth and she is amazing.

If you're looking for affordable acupuncture in Portland, my friends tell me this place is great, too: http://www.workingclassacupuncture.org/

"We provide, and advocate for others to provide, accessible acupuncture for working class patients; we support acupuncturists in being social entrepreneurs; and we share our business model for natural health care that empowers patients, builds community and breaks down class divisions.

Our sliding scale is $15 - $35 per treatment.*"

You decide what you can afford. Working Class Acupuncture strives to make acupuncture affordable for you to come as often and for as long as needed in order to feel better!"

Seriously, if you haven't given acupuncture a try, you might want to--Portland has so many  great healers. (p.s. Rob, you're right - those massages at www.HolisticPortlandMassage.com are amazing, too. :-)


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