Getting Started: Dog Anatomy And Energy Flow

Anatomical Directional Terms

Anatomists have developed standardized anatomical terms of location on the body. These six terms will help you locate the acupoints in relation to other anatomical landmarks.

  • cranial – towards the head
  • caudal – towards the tail
  • dorsal – towards the back
  • ventral – towards the abdomen
  • distal – away from the torso
  • proximal – closer to the torso

Cun Chart

The Cun (“Body Inch”) is a measurement relative to the dogs body size. It is used to find acupoints. It’s easy to remember that the widest part of the shoulder blade is 3 cun! This is the most important measurement.

  • 3 cun – widest part of shoulder blade.
  • 9 cun – shoulder to elbow.
  • 16 cun – center of knee joint to hock.
  • 19 cun – hip to center of knee joint.

Meridians & Acupoints

All the acupoints are located on meridians. The concept of meridians plays an important role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They are considered pathways that facilitate the flow of life energy (Qi) throughout the body. Constant and free flow of Qi is essential to keep the body in balance and to maintain all its functions. Stagnant Qi causes malfunction and pain. 

Where there is no free flow of Qi there is pain.

Learning the meridians

According to TCM, meridians form a network of pathways through which all the energy in the body circulates. All the points that you’re going to treat are located on a meridian. There are 12 paired meridians, one on each side of the body, and 2 extra meridians running along the dorsal (back) and ventral (underside) midlines.

Meridian NameShortcut
Large IntestineLI
Small IntestineSI
Triple HeaterTH
Gall BladderGB
Governing VesselGV
Conception VesselCV

All acupoints are aligned on the meridians. To keep it simple, we number them starting with “01” at the beginning of the meridian. In treatment charts, you’ll find the points labelled like this: 

This is point LI 04. LI stands for “Large Intestine Meridian” and “04” indicates that the point is the 4th point on this specific pathway.

Tips & tricks before you start

When you look at your first point charts, you might need some time and practice to figure out the right location on your dog’s body. We have tried to make it as easy as possible for you to locate and treat the points. Here are some tips on how to read the charts and find the point locations:

  1. Each point location is described and indicated in a drawing as well as in a photo. For most points, it is easier to transfer the correct position from the photo rather than by reading the instructions — though always do both!
  2. There is always an overview of all point locations when we present the recommended points for the particular problem. Bony landmarks will help you locate the points. Pay good attention to them.
  3. Additionally, there are high-resolution photos that make point location effortless for you! Note that some points are located on the inner, others on the outer side of the leg. Make sure you pay close attention which side needs to be treated!
  4. All acupoints are located in little depressions. After a few sessions and a bit of practice, your finger will automatically slide into the proper location.

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