The Use of Tui-na, Acupuncture and Herbal to Treat a Horse Lameness Due to Subluxation

The Use of Tui-na, Acupuncture and Herbal to Treat a Horse Lameness Due to Subluxation

By Ferdinand Niessen, DVM, CVA (Duesseldorf, Germany)

Author: Chi Institute/Monday, August 1, 2011/Categories: Student Case Reports, TCVM Newsletter, 2011 Summer Issue

An 11 years old Islandic gelding used for western horse riding was injured during training in the field. During training outdoors, both the rider and the horse fell down. The horse showed a lameness in the left front leg immediately after falling down.The western vet made the diagnosis of a subluxation of the left shoulder joint: Lamenes Grade IV. The patient was treated with Phenylbutazone 1mg/kg BID and stall rest for 14 days. There was only a little improvement after 2 weeks of treatment. The western vet referred the case to me.

TCVM Patient Evaluation

Constitution: Earth Tongue: little lavender

Pulse: wiry to normal Channel: LI, TH

Sensitive points on palpation: LI-1 (Ting point) on the left, LI-15 on the left, TH-14 on the left, TH-15 on the left

BL-54 on the right

TCVM Diagnosis: Qi and Blood Stagnation in the Large Intestine and San Jiao Meridian (Channel Bi syndrome)

TCVM Treatments

Herbal Medicine: Body Sore 15 grams BID

Acupoints dry needled: LI-1, TH-1, GB-34, BL-11

Tui-Na Techniques Applied:

1. Moo-fa (Touching skin and muscle)

a) Action: Harmonizes the middle Jiao, regulates Qi, removes accumulation and drains stagnation.

b) Indications: Chest, abdomen and hypochondriac areas

c) Locations applied: From neck to hip region (Zhang-mo-fa) concentrating over inner and outer bladder channel. Backshu points, Hua-tuo-jia-ji points of cervical area thru the lumbar region, concentrating over the hips and GB points around the hips.

2. Gun-fa (Rolling)

a) Action: Invigorates the Blood, smoothes the tendons and joints, warms the Channels and expels Cold.

b) Indications: Pain in the shoulders, waist, buttocks and the limbs with thick muscles; Bi syndromes, numbness in the limbs, hemiplegia and obstruction of the joints movements.

c) Locations applied: Shoulder, waist, back

3. Yi-zhi-chan (Single thumb)

a) Action: Regulates the Zang-Fu organs, promotes the circulation of the Meridians and Collaterals and smoothes the tendons.

b) Indications: Headache, insomnia, facial paralysis, coronary heart disease, gastric ulcers and pain in the joints and tendons.

c) Locations applied: Various points on the whole body, usually on the head, face, chest, abdomen and limbs.

4. Tui-fa

a) Action: Relaxes the tendons, dissipates local stagnation, excites the muscles, and improves circulation of blood.

b) Indications: Various parts of the body, Bi syndromes. Useful for Qi-Blood Stagnation and internal organ disorders.

c) Locations applied: Applied to lumbar, pelvic and hip muscle groups.

5. Ca-fa (Rubbing)

a) Action: Warms the Channels, unblocks the collaterals, and tonify the Zang-Fu organs

b) Indications: It is used to treat internal organ disorders or dysfunction of Qi and Blood. Asthma, chest pain, Qi stagnation, Cold pattern, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

c) Locations applied: The shoulder, chest and abdomen.

6. An-fa (Pressing)

a) Action: Invigorates the Blood and Qi and unblocks obstructions.

b) Indications: Whole body, sore areas, painful joints, headache, toothache, angina, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness and limb pain.

c) Locations applied: Whole body sore area or painful points.

7. Rou-fa

a) Action: Regulates the Yin and Wei, unblocks the Qi and Blood, extends the chest and regulates Qi, eliminates food retentention and swelling and relieves pain.

b) Indications: Headache, dizziness, insomnia, palpitations, stifling sensation in the chest, distention of the gastric and hypochondriac regions, constipation and diarrhea or swelling and pain from an injury or trauma.

c) Locations applied: Various points on the whole body.

8. Ba-shen-fa (Stretching)

a) Action: Stretches the tendons, regulates the Channels.

b) Indications: Malposition of the joints and injured tendons.

c) Locations applied: Performed to the patient’s tail.

9. Zhen-fa (Vibrating)

a) Action: Invigorates the Yang Qi, eliminates accumulation, regulates the middle Jiao, balances the intestine/stomach functions.

b) Indications: Chest, abdomen and back. Digestive disorders and local Qi and Blood stagnation.

c) Locations applied: Chest, abdomen, waist and back

Outcome and Follow Up Treatment

This horse was checked 2 weeks later. The lameness had almost disappeared. Only a lameness Grade I was seen.

Tongue: slightly swollen and wet, color pink

Pulse: wiry to normal

Channel: LI

Sensitive points on palpation: LI-1 (Ting point) on the left, LI-15 on the left

TCVM Diagnosis: Qi and Blood Stagnation in the Large Intestine Meridian (Channel Bi syndrome)

Herbal Medicine: Body Sore was continued

Acupoints dry needled: LI-1 left side, ST-45 right side

Tui-Na Techniques Used: Moo-fa, Ba-shen-fa, Zhen-fa

Follow Up

Two weeks later at the 3rd visit the horse was sound and much more relaxed. This case demonstrated the use of Tui-na along with acupuncture and herbal medicine to effectively treat equine subluxation that conventional medicine made little improvements on.


  • Xie, H. Diagnostic Points for Equine Conditions, Reddick, FL. Chi Institute . 2007.
  • Xie, H. Preast, V. Chinese Veterinary Herbal Handbook, 2nd Edition, Reddick, FL, Chi Institute. 2009.
  • Xie, H. Preast, V. Xie’s Veterinary Acupuncture. Ames Iowa, Blackwell Publishing, 2007
  • Xie, H., Ferguson, B., Deng, X. Application of Tui-Na in Veterinary Medicine, 2nd Ed, Reddick, FL, Chi Institute . 2007.

Notes, Certified Veterinary Tui-na Class 2009, November 12 to 15, 2009, Reddick, FL, Chi Institute

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