Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for treating horses

Compend Contin Educ Vet. 2011 May;33(5):E1-11.


Acupuncture exerts diffuse analgesic effects through the release of endogenous opioids and other locally and centrally acting mediators. Successful therapeutic interventions for various musculoskeletal conditions in horses are well documented, and acupuncture may significantly enhance performance. The use of acupuncture is specifically supported in treating nonsurgical gastrointestinal disorders, in which specific techniques can alter motility and contribute to visceral analgesia. This article describes the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for equine reproductive management and for treating respiratory disease. A careful review of available data and ongoing efforts to enhance unbiased research should continue to guide practitioners of evidence-based medicine in refining the most useful applications of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods
  • Acupuncture Therapy / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Horse Diseases / therapy*
  • Horses
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal