Learn the most important points used for acupuncture and acupressure in dogs. Today we’ll discuss the trajectory of the Liver Meridian including the location and clinical application of the most powerful points.
Acupuncture Points on the Liver Meridian
The Liver Merdian in Dogs
The Liver meridian is the Yin meridian of the Wood element. Its starting point is in the hind feet, the last point is LIV 14 in the 6th intercostal space. LIV 03 is one of the most powerful acupuncture points. It is frequently used in combination with Large Intestine 04 (LI 04) to treat pain, to promote Qi circulation and relaxation.
Generally speaking, the Liver meridian is commonly used to treat hip pain, gastrointestinal issues, urogenital problems and mental disease. In practice, most of my point prescriptions include at least one point on the Liver meridian.
Clinical Application of Pressure Points
- LIV 03 – arthritis, liver problems, hip and tarsal pain, eye problems, urogenital issues and mental disorders.
- LIV 08 – disorders of the knee joint, genital problems, Yin Deficiency.
- LIV 13 – Any Liver problems (in TCM and western view) stomach and chest pain, important point to nourish Yin.
- LIV 14 – Hepatitis, stomach pain and muscular pain.
How to Treat Pressure Points
There are multiple different ways how to work with acupuncture points. Professional practitioners use needles or acupuncture lasers to stimulate them. But you can achieve a beneficial effect by massaging them with your hand as well. This technique is called acupressure.
Point Work Techniques
During acupressure, you will use your hands to be aware of any changes happening in the body. These could either be an existing blockage or the free flow of Qi after removing a blockage by acupressure treatment. Learning to sense what the body is communicating takes practice. You can educate your hands by focusing on the various sensations experienced during these sessions and by learning what the sensations indicate.
Two-point work techniques include:
- The Thumb Technique: During this technique, you’ll use the soft and fleshy part of your thumb at a 45 – 90° angle to the dog’s body. It’s best to use the thumb technique on the trunk of the body or the limbs of large dogs.
- The Two-Finger Technique: To perform this technique, place your middle finger over your nail on your pointer finger, making a small tent between the two fingers. Then apply the soft portion of the pointer finger at a 45-90° angle from the dog’s body.
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Practise, Practise, Practise!
The meridians and acupoints that will be treated are just under the skin so you only need to apply gentle pressure. Extreme pressure could cause additional pain. If your dog ever shows signs of discomfort at any point, stop to apply pressure and move on to a different area.
If you are unable to feel changes in your dog’s body at first, that’s ok! It takes time to learn how to feel the sensation of moving chi and removing blockages through the hands. Simply apply gentle pressure for 1 – 30 seconds, focusing on the sensations created and closely watching your dog for any communication.
How do I Know it’s Working?
Signs that you’ve helped your dog release any blockages include release signals, such as yawning, rolling over, stretching, sighing, groaning, and passing air. Some dogs will even fall asleep during their sessions! Once your dog has shared a release signal, you’re safe to move on to another acupoint.
To work with your dog will not only help them to feel better but it can also help to build a strong bond between you. You’ll likely experience that your dog comes up to remind you that it’s time for their next acupressure session!
The Five Elements
The Five Elements theory forms the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each of the five elements Wood, Fire, Earth, Water, and Metal include subcategories such as climate, body tissue, emotion, internal organ…
You can find more information on the five elemets here.
The five-element system also applies to your dog’s personality and physical constitution. Every dog can be categorized into one of the five elements. This gives us more information on dietary preferences and diseases predispositions.
The Wood Element Dog
Wood element dogs are thin and strong. They react fast to external stimuli but they tend to be impatient and become angry very quickly. Wood type dogs are always alert, dominant and capable to perform on high levels when they want to.
Predispositions: Allergies, aggressive behavior.
Do you want to learn more about acupuncture points and acupressure? Don’t miss my unique online resource on acupressure for dogs!