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What is Animal Acupressure?

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

canine acupressure points on Pomeranian

Acupressure therapy was believed to be prevalent in India. Buddhist were believed to use this therapy for treatment purposes. When Buddhism was spread from India to China, acupressure therapy was also integrated into the common medical practice in China.

In China, it took a different form and was known as acupuncture. Scholars have described the significant points of Chinese acupuncture and Indian acupressure. They found that there was no significant difference between the two.

The first document that categorically described the organized system of diagnosis and treatment was found dating back to almost 100 BCE. The document is found in the form of questions asked by the emperor to his minister about this wonderful therapy.

After that, we find several other texts describing the use of acupressure to treat different ailments until it became the standard therapy, along with massage, diet, and herbs used in China to treat ailments.

equine acupressure practitioner touching the horse

What is acupressure?

Acupressure is a holistic medicine approach in which a certain amount of pressure is applied on specific points on the body with a thumb, finger, or acupressure tool to maintain the balance of the flow of physiological energy. Pressure is applied with the help of the hand or thumb to release the muscular tension and revive the normal flow of qi.

Reflexology is a therapy in which certain pressure is applied on predetermined reflux zones, resembling acupressure therapy. However, acupressure works differently. In acupressure, we apply physical pressure on specific body points located along the meridians. Meridians are the channels responsible for the flow of body energy, and therefore the pressure on these points helps maintain the flow of qi throughout the body.

canine acupressure meridian for bladder
Photo credit: Authentica Pets

Meridians are interconnected channels, and each meridian is connected with a specific organ or body tissue. If we activate the acupressure point by applying pressure on the meridian, it relaxes the muscle and reduces the pain from the local site and other parts of the body.

The holistic therapy of applying pressure is considered an excellent strategy to manage several conditions along with many physical and physiological comforts and satisfaction.

This therapy is manually operated; there is no intervention in the body with the help of a needle or anything else. Its non-pharmacological intervention and cost-effectiveness make it a popular holistic medicine therapy worldwide.

acupressure points on a dog

What are acupoints?

The entire body is clustered with acupoints. An acupoint is a point closest to the surface and is specific for each organ system. When pressure is applied to the acupoint, it elicits a specific functional response that affects the organ system.

Acupoints are used in acupressure to maintain the flow of body energy or qi/Chi. Acupoints may or may not be in the same area where the problem exists. These points stimulate the body's meridian system to bring a balance in yin, yang, and qi.

Application of pressure is the prime step in the activation of acupoints. The acupoint, once stimulated, rebalances the qi that restores the normal functioning of that specific organ system. An organ system can be responsible for emotions, organ and physiological functions.

Acupoints are also areas of high electrical conductance that pose a specific sensation for that particular organ system. The sensation is specific to the part of the body that is experiencing pain or a specific problem.

The traditional Chinese medicine theory describes the selection of these points in different ailments. Besides treating ailments, acupressure was also used by the East Asian martial arts for self-defense.

They extensively researched acupoints, and these points were used to defeat the opponent. Additionally, these martial artists used acupressure therapy as a routine exercise to keep their health at its best.

acupressure points being touched by an acupressure practitioner for horses

What are the benefits of acupressure for animals?

Acupressure is becoming more popular these days. More people are turning towards non-invasive and non-pharmacological therapies. The change of interest is because of the fact that allopathy or modern medicine does not bear the power of healing. Allopathy deal with reducing the neurological effect of disease or decreasing the number of pathogens. The healing or damage recovery is based on the body's internal healing ability.

Acupressure has been popular among humans for several decades, but it is becoming famous for animals nowadays. The remarkable effect of acupressure is that it rebalances the body's energy, and the body starts recovering from the disease by utilizing its natural healing ability. Animals experiencing joint problems, allergies, weakened immune systems, and organ dysfunction can all benefit from acupressure as a complementary care option. But the best way to keep your animals happy and healthy is to use acupressure as a preventative measure.

canine acupressure points

These ailments and many more can be healed with the help of acupressure. Acupressure is wonderful therapy, but still, it does not replace conventional veterinary medicine. Acupressure serves as an additional alternative approach to boost the animal's recovery. Acupressure rebalances the body's energy. Therefore, it serves on two fronts: boosting the immune system to prevent the ailment and the body's healing ability to fight the diseased animal from which the animal is suffering.

Benefits of Acupressure

There is a long list of benefits that acupressure can offer. Before discussing the benefits, let us discuss the physiological changes that acupressure brings.

  • When acupoints are subjected to pressure, they stimulate the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural pain-relieving hormones. Endorphins can counter any pain in the body. In addition to endorphins, they stimulate the release of anti-inflammatory substances.

  • The competitive benefit of acupressure over conventional medicine is that it does not have any side effects or adverse effects on any organ or tissue. Unlike prescription medicine, it does not pose any danger.

  • Additionally, it does not pose any danger of interaction with other drugs or treatments. You can use acupressure along with any other conventional medical therapy, and there will only be benefits, not adverse effects. This is why this process is safe for a range of illnesses and disorders.

  • Acupressure stimulates the body's metabolism. It causes an increase in the basal metabolic rate, elevates blood flow, and increases oxygenation and waste removal.

  • Acupressure tends to relax the local muscles and benefits from pain relief. This is great for exercise recovery and relaxation for the stressed animals.

Conditions That Can be Prevented and Balanced

Let us move towards the conditions that can be prevented and balanced with the help of acupressure. A variety of conditions can be prevented and balanced with the help of acupressure. Especially the conditions that involve chronic pain and inflammation are more responsive to acupressure.

As I mentioned earlier, acupressure does not replace veterinary medicine but can increase the curative effect of veterinary medicine. You can always consult your veterinarian before arranging the acupressure session.

dog with itchy skin and allergies


Acupressure helps improve the body's healing ability and boost the immune system. Additionally, it elevates the blood flow and basal metabolic rate, which helps the body remove any allergens and boosts the immune system.

If your dog, horse, or cat are already experiencing allergic reactions, acupressure will need more or frequent sessions for a longer period of time. That's why it's best to have acupressure sessions as a preventative care option to help boost the immune system before conditions arise. Acupressure can help relieve any itchiness or other effects and provide them with comfort and pain relief.

Boosting the immune system can prevent your animals from acquiring illness. One of the biggest in the dog world would be kennel cough. Providing routine sessions for your pup can help strengthen your pups natural ability to fight against allergies and other contagions.

arthritis dog relaxing from acupressure


Arthritis is one of the common issues in small and large animals. Joint problems, including arthritis, occur more in old age animals who can't produce the amount of collagen needed between the joints. Acupressure can stimulate the release of endorphins that can provide immediate pain relief.

It also stimulates anti-inflammatory substances that will fight off inflammation. Acupressure therapy may also reduce the adverse effects of other treatment options and will render the animal responsive to further treatment.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Heavyweight animals in old age are prone to degenerative joint diseases in which the joint progressively loses its cartilage and normal functioning. Animals suffer greatly from pain and loss of function.

Acupressure can help here by increasing the motility of joints and relieving pain and tension. It will make the movement easier for your beloved animal.

Metabolic Diseases

Acupressure regulates the endocrine system of the body. It tends to cure metabolic diseases by regulating metabolic rate and endocrine system, relieving oxidative stress, and improving digestion. Acupressure serves on many fronts; it improves the blood flow to the tissues boosting oxygenation and removing toxic waste.


Accidental traumas may result in acute inflammation or pain. Traumas may occur due to accidents, fights, or falls. Acupressure can be used as a complementary care option for those conditions to boost recovery. Activating acupressure points near the area of concern will boost the blood flow and, in turn, increase the nutrients provided to the recovering tissues.

Why is acupressure a great preventive care option?

According to Chinese beliefs, energy flows in the body as the wind blows through the forest. The flow of energy in the body is a determinant that the body is alive. The body's energy is called qi/chi. When there is a blockage in the chi, there is usually pain. Acupressure has a main goal of preventing any blockage and providing that balance between all systems in the body.

Acupoints in the body are present along the meridian channels. When pressure is applied to these pressure points, they restore the balance of body energy, and the body tends to come back to its normal functioning state.

using light therapy for photopuncture benefits

What is photopuncture?

Photopuncture is the use of red light to activate the acupoints. It is also non-invasive and beneficial for all animals. This light not only activates the vast benefits of each point, but also provides the cells energy they need to preform at their best. It also helps the body release endorphins, increase the blood flow, accelerates wound healing, stimulates collagen production and more! During a red light session, the animal benefits from both red light and acupoint stimulation benefits.

Final thoughts

Acupressure is a great option to keep the body in its normal healthy state. This is the reason acupressure can be an excellent option for preventive care.

Acupressure will maintain the body's health by boosting the immune system, elevating the blood pressure to maintain oxygenation, and keeping a good flow of qi/chi. Regular sessions of acupressure will keep the health of your beloved animal at its maximum potential.

canine acupressure helping a dog become happy

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