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Acupuncture Today – February, 2015, Vol. 16, Issue 02

Animal Acupuncture Gaining in Popularity

By Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large

We have just finished the year of the fire hoarse and now it is time to spend some time alone, daydreaming and thinking outside the box in terms of where our profession is headed. The sheep person is well organized and creative so this should not be difficult to do.

And thinking outside the box is exactly what the founders of the International Academy of Animal Acupuncture have done. The IAAA was founded in 2013, being a well organized endeavor. The founders of the IAAA are Gene Bruno, Barbara Ota and Becca Seitz along with Joel Rosen, DMV, had this vision and began working to bring it into fruition.

Unfortunately, Dr. Rosen passed away in December 2013. Veterinarian Dr. Claire Peterson and animal handler Angie Steagall joined the teaching staff in 2014 and Erin Leider became the administrative director in 2014.

This project has taken several years to get its start. Actually, animal acupuncture has been around since the late 1960s. Gene Bruno, Bill Prinski and Steve Rosenblatt learned it early in their careers. In today's culture, many acupuncturists are working and treating animals. It is becoming a very popular course at Veterinary School. Why? Because it is so effective in treating animals and their many ailments and conditions.

iaaa attendees - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Recent attendees of the Animal Acupuncture Academy. A fact that most people do not know is that animal acupuncture's first recorded existence was around 955 B.C. This was during the reign of Emperor Mu in China. During this time, acupuncture was used on military horses. This probably means that it should be in the domain of acupuncture and Asian medicine.

I was invited to attend the initial kickoff meeting for the American Board of Animal Acupuncture. This is designed to be a certification program. The first group of acupuncturists gathered together in Portland in November 2014. These practitioners came from many different states throughout the nation and they all have a common thread of interest, "A love for animals and animal Chi."

iaaa - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark In one of the classes I teach, we were discussing the class and its contents. One of the students spoke up and said the acupuncturist's that she works for attended the class and just could not stop talking about how excited they were and what a great time it had been. I would say that joy and happiness was the mood and intent of the seminar.The content was new and somewhat difficult. They studied animal anatomy including the cat, the dog and the horse.

This training program consists of six, three-day modules. It is currently a 135 hour course that will train acupuncturists the critical competencies needed to treat large and small animals with Acupuncture and Asian medicine. Upon completion of the classes, the acupuncturist will qualify to sit for the National Certification Exam of the American Board of Animal Acupuncture.

iaaa - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Every state has different laws and regulations regarding the treatment of animals. Before treating animals, an acupuncturist should look into the laws and regulations to be sure that it is legal in their own state. An attorney, Chris Best, spoke on the legal status of this field and is working with Gene Bruno to help create new laws and regulations for these treatments. The American Acupuncture Council will cover this area if it is legal in a state for an acupuncturist to treat animals.

For additional information, visit

Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.

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