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.
Massage Techniques for Acupressure
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.
- The One-Finger Technique: During this technique, you’ll use the finger pad of your thumb. Place it on the acupressure point and apply gentle pressure to it. Depending on the location, you can gently move your thumb and work a little bit deeper into the tissue. This technique is best used on fleshy, well-muscled body parts or on the limbs of larger dogs.
- The Two-Finger Technique: To perform this technique, place your middle finger over the nail on your pointer finger and apply gentle pressure on your dog’s body surface. Use this technique on smaller dogs or on the legs.
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 Qi and removing blockages through the hands. Simply apply gentle pressure to the acupoint for approximately 30 seconds. If you don’t manage to stay on the point for the full 30 seconds, don’t worry, that’s ok too, it will still work. While performing your acupressure session, look for signs in your dog. Your furry friend will tell you when you’re getting better at what you’re doing.
ACU-HORSE: Guide to Equine Acupressure provides you with a step-by-step guide to performing an acupressure session with your horse. Also, this full-color, 230-page equine acupressure book offers tons of charts and photos to help you learn equine acupressure.
ACU-DOG: Guide to Canine Acupressure gives a step-by-step guide to an acupressure session with color photos and charts. It explains how to apply Chinese medicine theories, plus active descriptions and photos of hands-on techniques.
How do I Know it’s Working?
Your dog’s body will give you clear signs that your massage is having a positive effect on their well-being. Releasing blockages and promoting the free flow of Qi will make your dog feel much better and show you release signs such as:
- Calming down
- Becoming dozy and even falling asleep
After a few days of doing acupressure, you will notice that you’re not only helping your dog’s health and well-being with your daily acupressure session, but also you’ll see the bond between the two of you growing much stronger.
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 elements 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!