What I'm Thankful For

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to share a quick story. For thepast year, I've made monthly visits to Raven Rock Ranch, owned by Tim and Sandy Matts, to provide pro-bono acupuncture services for the horses. The relationships forged on this ranch between at-risk youth and the re-homed/rescued horses are therapeutic for everyone involved. The place just has a wonderful energy.

I've become a lot more sensitive to energy as I've shifted my practice from Western medicine to an Eastern approach to healing. Learning acupuncture has led me to slow down and to be much more observant of the subtle cues that horses use to communicate. I am incredibly grateful to have access to a modality that the majority of my patients really enjoy. Until I started Balanced Horse Vet, I hadn't realized how important it was to me that my patients enjoy their treatment, something which I rarely encountered when practicing Western medicine.

Horses lining up for acupuncture!

Horses lining up for acupuncture!

I don't always treat the same horses at Raven Rock Ranch, but I do have a couple that have become my regulars. At my most recent visit, the volunteers were redoing much of the fencing, so the horses were loose on the property, happily grazing on the front lawn. I had just started working on my first patient, when Rachel, one of my regulars, stopped grazing and wandered over to the barn. She came into the aisle and waited patiently. I was flattered that she had stopped her grazing to come say hi, and since she was there, I started working on her. A few minutes into Rachel's acupuncture treatment, Rocky, another of my regulars, stopped grazing and wandered into the barn to wait his turn. There were no treats or lead ropes involved; these horses just love their acupuncture! I was humbled that these kind creatures would leave their fresh green grass to come spend time with me. Every day, I am thankful that I can serve our four-legged companions in a way that fosters positive relationships. It's a rare vet that can say that her patients voluntarily line up to get poked with needles.


If you are looking for a great cause to support both horses and children, you can find out more about the great work that Raven Rock Ranch does at www.ravenrockranch.org.

Do you know which of the five elements most influences your horse?

According to traditional Chinese medicine's five elements theory, a horse is influenced in varying degrees by five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Horses whose constitutions are strongly influenced by one element will tend to have medical conditions associated with the systems governed by that element.  Many horses are influenced by multiple elements, but it can be fun to determine which element most aligns with your horse's personality. Below is a list of some of the traits associated with each element when the individual is in a healthy, balanced state, as well as the most common issues that arise when that element is out of balance. Do any of these sound like your horse?


Wood

The main organ associated with the wood element is the liver. Wood governs the storage of blood, maintains smooth flow of qi, nourishes the tendons and ligaments and opens to the world through the eyes.

Balanced

  • competitive/decisive
  • assertive, confident
  • dominant
  • aggressive
  • strong, fearless
  • athletic stamina
 
Wood

Wood

Unbalanced

  • tendon/ligament problems
  • liver problems
  • red eyes
  • irritable or easily angered
  • seizure activity
  • hoof/nail and foot problems

Fire

The main organ associated with the fire element is the heart. Fire governs the blood vessels, houses the Shen (mind,) controls sweat and opens to the tongue.

 
Fire

Fire

Balanced

  • lively
  • playful
  • communicative
  • friendly/affectionate
  • loves to be petted
  • center of attention
  • sensitive

Unbalanced

  • behavioral problems
  • separation anxiety
  • restlessness/hyperactivity
  • mental disturbance
  • heart problems
  • tongue ulceration
  • spooky behavior

Earth

The main organ associated with the earth element is the Spleen. The earth element governs transporting and transforming functions in the body. It also controls the blood, muscles and limbs. The earth element opens to the mouth and lips.

Balanced

  • relaxed, laid back
  • friendly
  • loyal
  • slow and consistent
  • serene and balanced
  • good appetite
  • easy keeper

Unbalanced

  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • colic/ abdominal pain
  • muscle atrophy
  • obesity
  • gum disease
  • excessive worry
 
Earth

Earth


Metal

The main organ associated with the metal element is the lung. Metal governs qi and respiration. It regulates water passage, controls the body surface and opens to the nose.

Balanced

  • loves order
  • obeys rules
  • aloof
  • quiet
  • independent
  • disciplined attitude
 
Metal

Metal

Unbalanced

  • nasal discharge or congestion
  • sinus problems
  • cough
  • asthma/ trouble breathing
  • upper airway or lung disease
  • weak voice
  • dry hair coat

Water

The main organ associated with the water element is the kidney. This element stores the prenatal essence (jing), governs the body water, controls the bones, urinary and reproductive systems, and opens in the ears.

 
Water

Water

Balanced

  • careful, cautious
  • timid, shy
  • self contained
  • hides or runs away
  • meditative
  • long life span

 

Unbalanced

  • arthritis or disc disease
  • urinary problems
  • kidney problems
  • hind end weakness
  • withdrawn
  • poor growth
  • deafness, bad teeth
  • reproductive problems
 

Having fun trying to figure out your horse? For more extensive reading on how the five elements align with personality types, please click here.

Do you know what the Yin-Yang symbol really means?

The Yin-Yang Symbol

The Yin-Yang Symbol

Almost everybody has seen the yin-yang symbol, but few have taken the time to understand the complexity of its meaning. In designing the logo for Balanced Horse Veterinary Service, PLLC, I drew my inspiration from this symbol because it represents a philosophical view at the heart of traditional Chinese medicine. I encourage you to join me in taking a closer look at this classic symbol.

My mentor, Dr. Huisheng Xie, gives this description of the symbol in his text book Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine; Fundamental Principles:

“The symbol above is traditionally used to represent the interrelationship of Yin and Yang. One can think of Yin and Yang as a way of trying to understand the events of the universe by organizing phenomena into distinct categories. It is at once extremely simple and staggeringly complex.”

To understand the complexity of its meaning, we must first understand the 5 principles of Yin-Yang.

1. Everything in the universe has two opposite aspects: Yin and Yang

  • Yang is used to characterize warmth, energy, motion, loudness and light. It is represented by the color white
  • Yin represents things that are cooler, quieter, more still and darker. It is characterized by the color black.
  • Example: Daytime is characterized as more Yang, whereas night is characterized as more Yin. A young boy would be more Yang, while an elderly woman would be more Yin.

2. Any Yin-Yang division can be further divided into Yin and Yang aspects.

  • Within the white half  of the symbol, there is a black dot (Yin within Yang)
  • Within the black part of the symbol there is a white dot (Yang within Yin)
  • Example: Within Daytime (Yang) the morning/ sunrise is more Yang while the afternoon/ sunset is more Yin. The afternoon is an example of “Yin within Yang”

3. Yin and Yang control each other

  • The two opposite forces that compose everything in the universe are in constant struggle to regulate each other.
  • Example: Heat (Yang) can dispel cold (Yin), but cold can also lower a hot temperature.

4. Yin and Yang mutually create each other

  • Because Yin and Yang are defined as opposites of each other, each cannot exist without the other.
  • Example: There can be no concept of cold (Yin) without an understanding of heat (Yang).

5. Yin and Yang may transform into each other

  • Yin and Yang are not static. Under certain circumstances each may transform into the other.
  • Example: Day (Yang) becomes Night (Yin), and night transforms into day. Summer (yang) transforms into winter (Yin), and winter into summer.
Balanced Horse Veterinary Service, PLLC

Balanced Horse Veterinary Service, PLLC

As we look at the Yin-Yang symbol, we see these five principles represented. Within the black there is a little bit of white, and within the white there is a little bit of black. Nothing is all Yin or all Yang. As your eye follows the flow clockwise, the white becomes black, then the black becomes white.

The balance of Yin and Yang in the body is critical to maintaining health. Disease can be described as patterns of excess or deficiency of Yin or Yang. My goal at Balanced Horse Veterinary Service, PLLC is to restore your animal's body to a natural state of Balance.