Acupuncture for Pengiuns?

By now we know many of benefits of acupuncture on the human body - increased circulation and mobility, decreased pain, improvement in sleep and digestion , relaxation – just to name a few.

And while humans continue to benefit from the ancient practice, research and experience continues to show impressive results in animals treated with acupuncture, too.


In a recent article from The Seattle Times, acupuncture was provided as a service to a geriatric penguin named Ernie, who calls the Audobon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans home.

Veterinarian Cyndi Benbow treated 36 year old Ernie, who suffers from arthritis and blindness in one eye, as he was having difficulty swimming in his old age.

While Ernie didn’t appear to enjoy being held, he had his fourth acupuncture center with acuneedles used in his back, and the article reports, “the result was essentially a brand new bird.”  In fact, Ernie apparently dove into the water and swam, “as if he was a 2-year old.”

Experts attribute his improvements  to the carefully placed acupuncture needles being inserted, “into nerve clusters, leading to increased blood flow to the joints and improved circulation,” one of the many, many benefits of traditional acupuncture in humans too.

His first treatment resulted in a bit of a sleepy penguin, with noted benefits within the initial says that followed, with Ernie navigating his environment more smoothly. By the second treatment, he was jumping in the water and swimming, showing signs of an improved appetite, too.

Similar to repetitive treatments in humans, Ernie’s experience demonstrated the benefits of multiple sessions over time.

Even though there have been many examples of the benefits of veterinary acupuncture, similar if not the same as the benefits of  human acupuncture, it’s certainly not mainstream within the world of animal medicine – yet. Though, it seems that more and more professionals are learning and embracing the. Treatments.