1) Introduction

To discover some basic principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (M.T.C.), we offer some examples gleaned from the daily life of your animals ...

• Dull coat
Carthusian catMany cats have dull or poor quality coat without luster. Without being a disease, this imbalance is often experienced as a minor problem, if not from an aesthetic point of view. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that it is most often an energy imbalance, which, in the long term, can bed a serious illness. It is therefore important to maintain a good energy balance for your cat.
Acting on the cause and not only on the consequences is one of the main principles of this medicine.

• Osteoarthritis - dysplasia
golden retriever puppy and dog

In addition to hereditary causes, we are faced with a multifactorial problem where the essential factor is linked to ageing. The Chinese speak of YIN deficiency which sets in with age. It is a physiological reality specific to all living beings. A fearful psychological profile, and a sedentary lifestyle are aggravating factors. In this case, prevention is fundamental.
Thanks to Chinese Medicine, by nourishing the YIN with a complex of plants, which consists in restoring bones and cartilages, it is quite possible to remedy this weakness, subject to offering your pet a healthy lifestyle appropriate.

• Behavioral problems
Life too sedentary, lack of activity, absence of the master, veterinary care, competitions, are stressful situations which, over time, can disturb your dog and make him less resistant to diseases. By not dissociating the body from the mind, Chinese Medicine makes it possible to provide global solutions whose benefits stand out as much on the physical as on the psychological level.
By being at best on a physical level, your dog will be able to offer you the best of himself ...

• Difficult heat
Grazing horseMany mares live very badly during the heat season. Difficult behaviour, ovarian pain, restlessness, irritability and loss of performance are a common picture. Without being a disease, this imbalance is often experienced as an insoluble problem. Chinese Medicine shows that it is most often a blockage of energy at the level of the "Liver" sphere on which the gynaecological sphere is dependent. When an uprooted tree blocks alluvial deposits on a river, there is no need to hire a backhoe to clear the pile; removing the obstructing tree is enough to restore water circulation.
The idea is the same in Chinese Medicine: restoring the circulation of energy by acting on the cause and not on the consequences, this is one of the main basic principles of this medicine.

• Influenza
Have you found it easier to get sick when you are tired or stressed? It is the same for your animal.
In M.T.C. it is possible to harmonize the balance of energies to increase resistance to disease.

• Colics
The horse is an animal that must move. The sedentary life in the box can be the source of many problems induced by various stagnations (blood, energy) and in particular food. The latter is the main cause of colic in horses.
Thanks to Chinese Medicine, it is possible to overcome the drawbacks linked to the sedentary lifestyle of horses, thus allowing animals to be at their best and preventing the risk of colic. The concept of energy and its circulation, the YIN / YANG balance, the link between body and mind, vitality or stagnation are some of the many concepts that make the specificity of Chinese Medicine…

2) Poetic terminology

snailAs the concern of the Chinese is not to explain but to describe, certain expressions used by a practitioner in Chinese Medicine can seem strange or make smile ...
For a fiery, aggressive and easily bleeding animal, the Chinese will evoke the fire of the Liver (!).
For an animal with diarrhoea, it is the humidity in the Spleen that will be mentioned (!).
For a female who has difficulty making pups, the first hypothesis will go towards a blocked Liver energy (!).
For a fearful animal, we will think of the Kidney YIN!

All this has nothing to do with modern medicine. Aside from the communication problems that arise between people with different backgrounds, this is of little importance. The important thing is how to find balance. To moderate “the fire of the Liver”, the practitioner knows that he must use acupuncture points located on the hindquarters or a remedy based on gentian root. Even poetically expressed, every problem has its answer.

3) The particularity of the Chinese diagnosis

Lotus flower

The fundamentally different way of making a diagnosis prevents any comparison with modern medicine. Western problem terminology is not found in Chinese terms. How to compare a flu and Wind-heat in the Lung?
The Chinese diagnosis is expressed by syndrome: weak YANG of the Spleen, cold in the Lung, etc ... There are several dozen syndromes listed where each syndrome brings together a set of symptoms. For example, energy blocked in the "Liver" sphere can lead to the following signs: headache, irritable behaviour, gynaecological problems, breathing difficulties, eye problems, fatigue, stomach ulcer ... If the 'we stick to modern physiology, it seems difficult to explain the link between all these signs. On the other hand, in M.T.C. it is impossible to make a diagnosis from a single symptom. For example, the symptom "shortness of breath" occurs in many syndromes, hence the importance of having a comprehensive approach to the animal to avoid taking a remedy for each symptom.
Thus, different diseases (in the sense of modern medicine) may require the same treatment but the same disease may require different treatments.

4) The Animal and the Universe

“The parts represents the whole and the whole reprensents the part”

White lotusTaoism is one of the three main currents of Chinese thought whose emblematic figure is LAO ZI (LAO TSEU). It is by observing Nature that LAO ZI realizes that man or animal are microcosms among the macrocosm. Thus, each being is an integral part of Nature according to a balance of which all the laws are not yet known.
The art of TAO is to live in harmony in the Universe, with humility and application. The ancient Chinese sages advocated respecting the laws of nature several millennia ago. For your animal, this will consist of avoiding physical overexertion, limiting sources of stress, ensuring good nutrition, using natural modes of care if possible, etc.
The analogy between the animal and the Universe:
The seasons, the lunar months, the alternation of day and night are some of the cycles of nature. Your animal, too, has its cycles. For example, each sphere associated with an organ is in fullness of energy in a given season: for the Liver sphere, it is spring, for summer it is the Heart sphere, etc ...
Besides, have you ever encountered animals that have the same health problems every year at the same time? Think about the season when your pet has the most health problems, it probably corresponds to an energy imbalance in the corresponding organ. The principle is the same for a period of one day. Each sphere associated with an organ has its maximum energy at a specific time of the day. Difficult mornings, reduced performance at certain times of the day, restlessness in the evening are examples of these energy movements that do not take place in a harmonious manner.

5) Yin / Yang Theory

This theory is based on the idea that everything exists through the action and the permanent and immutable interaction of two principles: YIN and YANG.
All this is summed up in the well-known symbol of Taoism

Yin Yang - sun - moon
The circle defines the unity of everything. 
YIN cannot exist without YANG and vice versa. 
Harmony exists if YIN and YANG balance each other. 
Nothing is ever completely YIN or completely YANG. 
There’s always a little bit of each other. 
The ripple shows the dynamic aspect of the two principles. Everything is constantly changing.

What connects YIN and YANG is called TAO.

corresponds to warmth, activity, the masculine principle, light, summer, day, etc. 
YIN corresponds to cold, rest, the feminine principle, darkness, winter, night, etc.

For your animal are of a nature:
YANG> The functioning of the body, the head, the back, the periphery (the skin), etc ...
YIN> The physical body, the claws, the belly, the interior (organs), etc ...

Pour mieux vous faire saisir cette théorie, les chinois comparent l’animal à une marmite de riz en train de cuire : sont YIN le riz et l’eau ; est YANG le feu sous la marmite. Si le feu est trop abondant, le riz brûle. Si l’eau est insuffisante, le riz brûle aussi. Si le feu est insuffisant, le riz cuit mal...

Yin Yang - pot of water

To better understand this theory, the Chinese compare the animal to a pot of rice being cooked: are YIN rice and water; is YANG the fire under the pot. If the fire is too abundant, the rice will burn. If the water is insufficient, the rice also burns. If the fire is insufficient, the rice cooks badly ...
In summary, an imbalance between YIN and YANG will be the cause of all health problems. The severity of the disease will be proportional to the magnitude of the imbalance.
The purpose of Traditional Chinese Medicine (M.T.C.) will be to provide your animal with the means to find a good energy balance according to the YIN / YANG ratio present.
Do not hesitate to consult the “Training” section on our site if you wish to discover the great resources offered by the M.T.C.

6) Five Elements Theory

This other fundamental theory highlights the interrelationships of elements of the same nature present in the Universe. The emblematic figures are: WOOD, FIRE, EARTH, METAL and WATER.
Here are some examples :

Five elements theory - Traditional Chinese Medicine
How to use this table ?
All the elements in the same column are linked together. Thus, the Liver sphere will have its maximum activity in spring, the season when nature is reborn in a green colour.
Another example: an animal that has an energy imbalance in the kidneys will have more mobility problems in winter. Conversely, by being confronted with distressing situations, the animal will disturb the functioning of its Kidney sphere and may have blurred vision or palpitations. To compensate, the animal may have a desire for salt. The list is long and the riches of this theory are endless.
Now you can better understand why an animal can behave completely differently at certain times of the year.

In addition, the Chinese noted that there were privileged relations between the elements:

Yin yang - Five elementsThe cycle of fathering: "the mother feeds the son
WOOD is the mother of FIRE, which means that the Liver nourishes the Heart.
FIRE is the mother of EARTH: the Heart nourishes the Spleen. For example, an anxious animal (Spleen) depletes its FIRE energy through the blood (by the way, we say "to make bad blood"). In this case, he may suffer from dry skin, a manifestation of impaired blood functions (Spleen) and palpitations (Heart).
EARTH nourishes METAL, METAL nourishes WATER and WATER nourishes WOOD.

The control cycle: Each element or organ controls another.
Take the example of salty flavour: in moderate quantities, it stimulates the functioning of the Kidneys' sphere which will moderate the activity of the Heart sphere. What the Chinese describe in a poetic way, modern medicine has found, by prohibiting salt to subjects suffering from heart problems ...

The LIVER controls the RATE which controls the KIDNEYS which controls the HEART which controls the LUNG which controls the LIVER and so on ... There is a lot to say about these two cycles. The main idea to remember is the interaction of the organs with each other. Promoting or tempering the activity of an organ therefore inevitably has repercussions on the whole body and these remain to be discovered by scientists.

7) Therapeutics means

The M.T.C. includes a whole range of possible treatments, here are the main ones presented succinctly :

system of meridians and acupuncture points7.1) ACUPUNCTURE   
Meridians and acupuncture point system
Energy (QI, pronounced "chee") flows through channels called "meridians". These are unknown to modern science and have no known connection to either the nervous system or the blood circulation system.
The circulation through the meridians forms a closed circuit of energy which nourishes all the organs and all the parts of the body. Each organ is linked to a meridian. Therefore, a problem of energy circulation on a meridian will affect the organ concerned and vice versa. The role of the acupuncturist is to help your pet restore a harmonious flow of energy. To do this, it intervenes using needles (In ancient times, it was flint or bone fragments that were used ...) on specific points of the body located on the meridians.
Each point has a very precise action known to the Chinese for millennia. Nowadays, we know that an acupuncture point is characterized by a lower electrical resistance. For an experienced practitioner, the devices are useless, palpation and a good feeling are enough. In China the points have a poetic and evocative name. In the West, they are identified by a serial number on a meridian.


It is the use of sticks (cigars) of sagebrush (scented plant of the tarragon family that we find on the edge of our roads) which are used to heat the points (to increase the fire under the pot !) in addition to acupuncture.
Moxibustion is particularly suitable for back pain, rheumatism, diarrhoea, fatigue, etc.

The Chinese Pharmacopoeia uses the treasures of Nature. Over 5000 Chinese Phytotherapy (YAO) substances are used in the plant, mineral and animal kingdoms. Note that these are no longer used if they come from protected species, in accordance with the law and common sense.
According to tradition, the old masters, initiated into the Knowledge of the Mysteries of the Universe, transmitted a coherent teaching based on universal laws and on an intimate perception of nature. Thus, the first writings on the pharmacopoeia date from 3 millennia before our era. The first collection, actually written (SHEN NONG BEN CAO JING) dates from the 2nd century AD. The BEN CAO MU SHI YI published in 1650, includes 1871 medicinal substances and 1861 therapeutic recipes.
Despite some adaptations, this BEN CAD is still authoritative in this area. It is for these reasons that it is possible to estimate the clinical decline acquired at least 5 millennia.
The basic principles of the pharmacopoeia are very simple: reheat what is cold, cool what is hot, circulate what is stagnant, etc. On the other hand, it is in the harvest, the preparation and products between them that resides all the resources of this mode of care.

gingerPlant preparation (YAO): to describe the subtleties, let's take the example of a well-known product: ginger. Taken very cool, it disperses externally to treat cold-related illnesses. Fresh, it eliminates stagnant food. Dry, it warms the internal for diarrhoea problems. Calcined, it will be haemostatic (stops bleeding). This simple example highlights the importance of how a product is prepared. In addition, it is also possible to sauté it in alcohol, vinegar, etc.
The combination of plants (YAO): Apart from ginseng, it is rare to use a single product (YAO).

A remedy is constituted by a combination of products according to ancestral principles.
Piles of plants powderThe main product is called “Emperor”. It is the main ingredient in treating the problem. Its effect is decisive, it is intended to act on the most basic aspect of the pathology. Quantitatively, it often has the highest dosage.
Then comes the “Minister” product: its function is on the one hand to potentiate the action of the remedy "Emperor" and on the other hand to act on a particular aspect of the disease.
As for “the Assistant”, it can either help “the Emperor” or control the undesirable effects: a product reconstituting the YIN is fatty therefore indigestible; by this fact it is associated with an "Assistant" which promotes digestion.
Finally, for "the Ambassador", he often has a harmonizing role which makes possible the convergence of therapeutic actions.
On average, the prescriptions contain around ten ingredients. It is these skillful combinations that make the formulas free of any unwanted effects.

When to use herbal medecine ?
Herbal medicine can represent a basic treatment in almost all cases. Its implementation requires good training in T.C.M.
However, for the non-professional, it is very easy to use it with the technical sheets available on the site. In summary, we can always use herbal medicine, especially for:
Old chronic problems (TAO-OLD for example).
Act quickly and powerfully (TAO-BI for example).

puppies and kittensIs phytotherapy suitable for animals ?
Of course, and we have taken great care to adapt our plant complexes to the physiology of animals.

Can phytotherapy be used in kittens, puppies, foals?
Yes, from the first months, it is completely possible to use this phytotherapy, it is enough simply to adapt the dosages according to the weight of the animal.

The purpose of massage is to awaken energy and allow it to renew itself by circulating better. This branch is part of the 13 fundamental disciplines of the M.T.C. In China, it was in the 6th century that a massage academy was established within the Imperial Directorate of the Academy of Medicine.
In the canine and equine world, we especially know the SHIATSU, which has its roots in Chinese Medicine but there are other types of massages.

7.5) QI GONG
Chinese herbal medicine for horses The QI GONG (pronounced “Tchi kong”) literally means “work on energy”. The theory behind it is the same as the one behind acupuncture.
There are many forms of GONG IQ (Taoists, Buddhists, medical, etc.). In general, these are gentle and harmonious postures or movements associated with breathing exercises. We can assume that Qi Gong is natural in animals since many exercises are inspired by their attitudes ...



It must be carried out in accordance with the description given previously. The practitioner questions the owner of the animal to obtain the maximum information.

Quality of cares

The average length of a consultation is 3/4 of an hour, except for the first, for which it is better to plan a little more. In addition to the treatments, the practitioner devotes time to give additional advice to the treatment (dietetics, lifestyle ...).


In the context of a traditional practice, the needles used are very fine (an inexperienced person cannot successfully plant them because they are easily bent) and for single use: a new needle is used for each point.
Moxibustion is carried out with sagebrush sticks, the combustion of which gives off a characteristic odour. Direct moxas (on the skin) are not used in the West, thus eliminating any risk of burns.


acupuncture on the handFor standard treatment, the average number is 7 needles. Puncture is almost painless. The sensation encountered, linked to the action of the needle on energy (IQ), is more unpleasant than painful. There are 3 kinds of puncture, the choice of which depends on the diagnosis:
> Tonifying : for points that lack IQ. The needle is inserted and then withdrawn after a few minutes.
> Sedating : for points that are full (too much) of energy. The needle is inserted and then manipulated. This is where the sensation is most unpleasant, especially with the points of the ends.
> Harmonization : for a medium action. The needle is inserted and then withdrawn after a time which can be quite long.

Reactions to acupuncture: after an acupuncture session, the body seeks to rebalance. The whole system strives to awaken and regenerate. It is from these processes that transformations can appear.
The usual reactions are: a feeling of tiredness and a desire for sleep, a feeling of weakness, a feeling of dizziness, a feeling of spring and energy. If one of these reactions occurs, do not be alarmed, because in fact it shows that the animal reacts and tries to respond to the care provided. The reactions are temporary and range from a few hours to two or three days. Avoid planning a significant effort (competition, outing) in the two days following a session.

Herbal medecine

Chinese herbal medicineMost plant complexes are taken with the staple food and as regularly as possible. The quantities can be adapted according to the gravity of the situation. Chinese herbal medicine never causes side effects. If this is the case, contact your practitioner to adjust the dosages or correct the timing.
Sometimes the body can take a few days to harmonize with plants. This may consist of a slight softening of the stool for a reconstitution of the YIN or slight agitation during an overly strong toning of the YANG.
In addition, we must also take into account the metabolic fluctuations of the body and weather conditions. A plant complex that does well in a cold climate can be too powerful when the thermometer goes up. Acting on the balance of the body sometimes requires some precautions that a professional can explain to you during the consultation.
In any case, a cure with Chinese herbal medicine always goes in the direction of improvement, there is never a worsening of the situation.
The average duration of a treatment: many factors must be taken into account to assess the duration of a treatment and in particular:
> The seriousness of the problem: it must be assessed from the point of view of the M.T.C.
> The chronicity of the problem: this is the time it took to reach the state of illness which brings you to consult. It is often in the order of several years.
> The vitality of the animal.
> Healthy living: stress, emotions, psychological trauma, diet, etc.
Despite the difficulty, but still to give an order of magnitude, we can estimate three or four sessions for a case of acupuncture and 1 or 2 months for a case of herbal medicine. Remember that each technique has its field of application but for serious problems, it is acupuncture which is the complement of herbal medicine and not the reverse, as we too often believe.

How long does it take to notice significant effects?
For acupuncture :
> Acute case: from a few minutes (pain, swelling ...) to a few hours (cough, sinusitis, retention of urine ...),
> Chronic case: after one or two sessions (fatigue, cough, gynaecological problems ...).
For herbal medicine:
> Acute case: from a few minutes (haemorrhage, stress ...) to a few hours (flu, diarrhoea ...),
> Chronic case: after ten days (rheumatism ...).

What to do in case of overlapping care?
If there is an overlap of treatment with conventional medicine, you should never abruptly stop taking medication, even with the appearance of signs of improvement. Weaning should be done gradually, gently, and always by mutual agreement with your veterinarian.

9) Some examples

Traditional Chinese Medicine applies to all types of problems. It seemed interesting to take as an example three cases frequently encountered: osteoarthritis, otitis and stress.

Consequences : these problems are sources of discomfort for the animal and a substantial budget for the owner. Rheumatism that is not treated in time can sometimes lead to irreparable deformities or osteoarthritis. Coryza and poorly treated flu (in the sense of M.T.C.) are one of the factors favouring the appearance of rheumatism.

The point of view of Chinese medicine : rheumatism and joint pain are often perceived as inevitable ailments due to age. What is false and whatever the age of the animal, it proves useless to suppress the symptom by analgesics (painkillers) if one does not tackle the basic problem. This is very often linked to a deficiency in the functioning of the Spleen, Liver or Kidney spheres, functions that must therefore be reactivated. It is these cases that have made acupuncture famous in the West which, indeed, is sovereign for pain.
However, treating the pain is not enough to truly achieve healing. To have a lasting result, the use of phytotherapy is essential (See technical sheet on TAO-SPORT and TAO-OLD).

Energy balance and solution : rheumatism is linked to a sensitivity to external causes (Wind, cold and humidity) due to an internal deficiency of the Spleen, Liver and Kidney functions, as well as a problem of energy circulation.
    In case of erratic pains (which move), it is rather the sensitivity to the wind and the Liver sphere which are the problem.
    In case of pain, it is rather the sensitivity to cold and the Yang of the Kidneys which are in question.
    In the event of swelling, it is the sensitivity to humidity and the spleen sphere which are involved.
Initially, there may be rheumatism without bone involvement. This only appears over time, depending on the stress on the joints. The ideal is to treat as soon as possible, at the first signs, if you want to avoid treatments that are too long. Again, contrary to popular belief, herbal medicine allows bone regeneration. Another advantage is that by regenerating the bones, you reconstitute the Kidney sphere, including the teeth and eyes which are directly part of it, and the claw horn by indirect effect on the Liver sphere.

Consequences : in mild cases, antibiotic treatment is toxic to the liver and the response time can really make your pet miserable. In the case of otitis, conventional treatments are far from harmless for your animal (toxicity, stress, discomfort) and still too costly for the owner.

The point of view of Chinese medicine : otitis almost always has its origin in an infectious episode (coryza or flu) which can go unnoticed (called attack of Wind-Heat by the Chinese) combined with an internal imbalance. Otitis is most often recurrent due to too strong energy at the level of the Liver sphere, which pushes the energy too much upwards, consequently producing an inflammatory state favourable to the proliferation of germs.
The flows are the consequence of waste produced by a malfunction of the digestive system (caused by the Liver sphere which disturbs it).
The more yellow and thick the flow, the stronger the heat. The greater the quantity of flow, the less the digestive sphere functions properly.

Energy blance and solution : it is advisable to eliminate the Wind-Heat (in particular at the level of the head) with plants which have a refreshing effect but which make perspire, purge the heat at the level of the Liver sphere and drain waste in level of the digestive sphere. The effects appear in the half hour on the pain and in the half day on the discharge.
In general, healing takes place within a few days (See technical sheet on TAO-BI).

Consequences : if we compare the life of an animal in a natural state, therefore wild, with that of a domestic animal subjected to confinement and the absence of freedom (it is impossible for him to flee), it must be admitted that the animal seems to adapt well to the constraints imposed on it. In appearance only ...
Joint, heart, respiratory and performance problems are only the consequences of too high a level of stress due to living conditions unsuitable for one's physiology.

The point of view of Chinese medicine : stress has the effect of weakening the energies of the "Kidneys" sphere. Although this concept does not exist in modern medicine, the problems are however multiple:
    Urinary problems,
    Heart problems,
    (Stubborn) behavior,
    Performance decrease,
    Stomach (ulcer),

Energy balance and solution : in this case, the Chinese solution will consist in nourishing the energy of the "Kidneys" and "Heart" sphere with acupuncture or phytotherapy (See technical sheet on TAO-CALM).
The replenishment of YIN energies takes time, be especially careful to do a sufficiently long treatment.

10) When to use Chinese Medicine ?

We hope, through this quick overview, to have helped you to better perceive the riches of the M.T.C. but it would be illusory to want to be exhaustive in so few lines.
Due to the current context, Traditional Chinese Medicine for animals is little known and very often the owners learn too late that they could have found help with this medicine.
It therefore seems that the simplest solution and which commits to nothing, is to inform you with our online help about any problem that you may encounter, physical or psychological, from the mildest to the most serious. We will be able to tell you to what extent it is possible to act, based on the various pieces of information you will share with us.
Do not hesitate, call us, it's free and the AnimoTAO experts will be happy to answer you to help you define the strategy best suited to your situation.
You now know that the M.T.C. helps restore the good energy balance of your companion. Knowing that chronic diseases often take years to settle in, the sooner you act, the more your animal will be able to use its regenerative capacities to be at its best.

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