GTPulse: Traverse City Vet Offers Holistic Pet Healing
Holistic health practices have become something I’m increasingly interested in. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older and looking for more ways to keep myself healthy, or if it’s because I’ve just been around it more after moving here. Either way, I’m grateful. Things like acupuncture and various natural herbal remedies have made an impact on how I feel about my mental and physical health. The other day a friend brought up how her dog benefits from holistic medicine, and my curiosity was piqued.
“I had developed several chronic, inflammatory issues which Western medicine really wasn’t addressing all that well. So when I turned 40 I said, something needs to change. That’s when I went back to eating a lot better. That’s how I introduced this kind of healing to the animals.”
Dr. Albert Lynch is a Traverse City-based holistic veterinarian. He grew up on a dairy farm and loved animals from a young age. He spent his career as a traditional vet, but has begun working part-time at Integrative Veterinary Services to provide complementary and alternative medicine to pets.
When your four-legged friend needs something extra in tandem with his or her traditional treatment, Dr. Lynch is the guy to go to. He’s studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and adopted the healing methods into his own life. He’s found a way to transfer the same healing to animals.
Diet: Dr. Lynch described the body as a tree. What truly needs fixing cannot be made better until the soil is addressed first. “If you have unhealthy soil, you’re going to have an unhealthy tree. Simply put. So if you have an unhealthy tree, the soil is creating unhealthy leaves. So that’s the difference between Western and Eastern medicine.” The soil is your diet, exercise lifestyle choices, nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep, and genetics, among other things. Dr. Lynch’s first step of care and suggestion for patients is changing their entire diet to a whole, natural foods diet. “To me, diet is the underlying cause of a lot of diseases, it’s also the way things heal. Once you process something it changes its energetics. Whole foods are designed for the body to utilize. When you process or change something it’s a totally different thing for your body so it’s not utilized the same way.” A whole foods diet for your pet looks different depending on health issues, size, and weight, but it would include vegetables. Despite what you may think about a dog getting excited to eat greens, he rarely gets owners saying their pet doesn’t enjoy it.
Acupuncture: Tiny, hair-thin needles are placed at various points of the body for healing anything from anxiety to digestive issues. Pets can benefit from acupuncture in the same ways we can, and it doesn’t interfere with any medications they may already be taking. Depending on what’s ailing your pet will depend on what kind of acupuncture treatment Dr. Lynch will do, but he takes a detailed history for all pets beforehand. “I take a very detailed history, so I probably tend to take maybe 15 minutes. Where they were born, it makes a difference what their personality is like. Do they like to sleep up top or where it’s cold? Do they get restless at night? Do they agree to drink lots of water? All of that matters.”
Herbs: With things like crystal healing, reiki, and an increasing amount of attention to yoga and meditation benefits, it can be easy to think that these are new age things. But all of these practices have been around long before us. Chinese herbs are a gentler approach than pharmaceuticals to healing and can be used in conjunction with medication under a vet’s care. Treatment could consist of multiple herbs and will help treat a range of issues. Pet owners particularly rave about its effectiveness with anxiety, IBD and kidney issues. “The herbs basically do the same thing as acupuncture between acupuncture treatments. They’re all trying to rebalance the body and get things working. They’re a lot slower to work but you don’t have the side effects. They often can replace medications.”
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