Last week, I spent six days in a clinical intensive program to become certified in veterinary acupuncture through the CuraCore Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians course in Fort Collins, Colorado. For the past three years, becoming certified in acupuncture has been a dream of mine. I’ve witness firsthand the power that acupuncture and integrative modalities such as laser and electrical stimulation have on the therapeutic management of disease. I have watched them dramatically transform the quality of life for countless animals and I longed to be able to play a role in making a difference for animals in that way.
Prior to arriving onsite for the clinical intensive course, I completed roughly 60 hours of digital modules that introduced acupuncture and related integrative modalities. I completed tests and quizzes that challenged my knowledge of the subject and helped me to truly embrace the power that acupuncture holds.
Once in Colorado, we began to practically apply all that we had learned to real patients with real cases and real needs for acupuncture. From Day One, I was hooked! I saw, yet again, the power I had to change an animal’s life for the better in the span of less than an hour. I have never been able to experience such an immediate means of helping an animal. Sure, I know I’ve saved lives and that’s an amazing feeling, but seeing the entire demeanor of an animal change because you learned to listen to what they are telling you in a different way was a complete game changer for me. My hands are powerful tools. This course taught me to listen to them during my physical exam and to trust that a gentle, light touch can be more powerful than I had ever imagined. I tend to discredit the work that my own two hands can do. I reach for bloodwork, diagnostic imaging and medications before I look down at my own hands and see all that they can do. But all of that is about to change. The two most powerful tools in my diagnostic toolbox are attached to me. My hands communicate intricacies about pain or discomfort my patients are experiencing but can’t quite articulate and they help me to actually do something actionable to make a positive difference in their life as a result.
My physical exams are so much more thorough and refined with this course. I have grown as a clinician in more ways than just being able to stick some needles into animals. I have seen my potential as a veterinarian more clearly than ever before. I have been rejuvenated and inspired to go out into the world and make a difference in the lives of animals, all with my own two hands.