Acu in Practice: Pathogen Prevention

Welcome to acu in Practice! With all of the recent concern across the globe regarding the spread of viruses, I thought it might be a good time to review TCM strategies for pathogen prevention. These apply to people and pets. They are as follows:


1. Nourish the body = eat good food, breathe clean air, take adequate rest, get adequate exercise.

2. Maintain balance = homeostasis and emotional/mental health

3. Strengthen Defensive Qi = immune system

4. Recognize and address constitutional weaknesses = genetic or acquired


Nourishment is the area where we can achieve positive effects for our pets on a daily basis. Feeding healthy foods and utilizing the principles of food therapy to address imbalances greatly fortifies the body’s defensive systems. We are also directly responsible or making sure our pets get the appropriate amount of exercise. If a patient is not sleeping well, seeking the advice of an integrative veterinarian could result in herbal or natural recommendations for helping the pet get his or her rest.


Patients experiencing stress and/or anxiety on a daily basis may be more likely to have a weakened immune system. Using the Five Element theory, veterinary acupuncturists can offer additional insight as to why the patient is chronically anxious. Environmental modification recommendations are a typical piece of the integrative medicine plan while acupuncture and herbs are helpful in reducing stress and cortisol levels.

Veterinary acupuncture and TCM herbal formulas can be used to improve emotional and mental state and strengthen the Wei Qi, as well as to expel Pathogens, especially in the early phases of sickness.



While it is not possible to change genetics or inherent constitution, TCM can be used to assess the patient and determine which imbalances may be contributing to their current or chronic health problems. Then, foods, acupuncture and herbs can be selected to help balance out the imbalances.


Acupuncture points for fortifying Wei Qi/Immune Defense: LI 4, LU 7, SP 21


While acupuncture, herbs and foods can help us and our pets when we are sick, PREVENTION of the pathogens is still the best medicine!




This post is created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA, FAAVA and is for informational use, not to replace medical advice.

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