Acupressure to Restart the Heart, Relieve Pain and Anxiety
Caution: If your horse shows signs of illness or a health emergency, call your veterinarian and seek medical care. Use acupressure in these situations only as time and safety permits.
- GV 26 helps revive Tilly, a mare who collapsed on a mountain trail
- GV 26 used during emergency colic surgery done without enough anesthetic
- GV 26 helps a mare in shock from a trailer accident
- GV 26 calms a nervous gelding with a busy mouth
Governing Vessel 26 (GV 26)
The text in this article is written by Diana Thompson. It was originally published in two of Diana’s books:
- Acupressure Point Charts for Horses, An Illustrated Guide to 128 Point Locations and Uses by Diana Thompson. Click here to see additional charts from this book and learn about purchasing it.
- Acupressure for Horses – a Comprehensive Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine by Diana Thompson. This book is a text manual used by students in Diana’s Acupressure courses.
Governing Vessel 26 (GV 26) is known as a resuscitation point – it has been documented as having the ability to restart the breathing (respiration) and/or restart the action of the heart when either function stops due to shock, cardiac arrest, illness or injury. In addition to its emergency uses, the point is used to prevent the horse who is injured or ill from going into shock and losing consciousness. In this role, the point is used to help the horse who is dizzy, fainting or having a nosebleed. It also helps relieve pain from injuries, colic and other illness or foaling and calms the horse.
Point Location and Caution
Governing Vessel 26 is located in a hollow in the center of the horse’s upper lip. Click here to view and print the free point location charts for Governing Vessel 26 from Diana’s book Acupressure Point Charts for Horses. Caution: A horse may object to acupressure on Governing Vessel 26 when he is healthy because his upper lip area is ticklish or the horse fears rough handling or twitching of the lip. The primary use of the point is during emergency injury or illness, however, and in these situations horses readily accept acupressure on the point.
Comments from Four Veterinarians on Governing Vessel 26
In the book, Alternative and Complementary Veterinary Medicine, author and veterinarian Dr. Are Thoreson, writes that Governing Vessel 26 is an “analgesic point (pain relieving) and the most important emergency point….It is the most important point for use in apnea (when breathing stops), shock and emergencies in humans and animals.”
Thoreson explains the restraint device for horses known as a twitch stimulates Governing Vessel 26. A twitch is a short wooden or metal handle connected to a rope or metal loop. When the loop is tightened around the horse’s upper lip it “induces an endorphin release and gives a degree of anesthesia sufficient to allow slightly and moderately painful interventions to be done without too much retaliation from the horse.”
Veterinarian Dr. Meredith Snader reports in the chapter on acupuncture in her book Healing Your Horse that Governing Vessel 26 stimulates respiration and circulation on newborn foals (it is also helpful for use on failing newborn puppies and kittens). She says that pressure on Governing Vessel 26 releases pain-killing and euphoria-producing chemicals called endorphins. This makes the point valuable in any situation that is painful or emotionally upsetting for the horse, such as colic, illness or injury.
Veterinarian Dr. Allen M. Schoen, an experienced acupuncturist who is the author of Love, Miracles and Animal Healing, says Governing Vessel 26 works as a resuscitation point on all species.
In the textbook Veterinary Acupuncture by Allen M. Schoen (the second edition), equine veterinarian Dr. Peggy Fleming includes Governing Vessel 26 in her chapter titled “Transpositional Equine Acupuncture Atlas”. Under the heading of Western medical indications for GV 26 Dr. Fleming writes: “Increases brain activity, increases heart and respiratory rates, epinephrine point, anesthetic apnea (apnea is when breathing stops), coma, fascial paralysis and enterospasm (colic). A useful shock point in emergencies. Massaging this point stimulates respiration and circulation in new-born foals.”
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Viewpoint
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the main function of acupressure on Governing Vessel 26 is to settle the spirit. One extension of this benefit is the point’s remarkable ability to help the horse (or human, cat or dog) during medical emergencies. This is because Governing Vessel 26 revives the spirit, brightens the spirit and brightens the mind.
TCM explains that in circumstances where the horse loses consciousness, the spirit actually goes out of the body, or at least has a very minimal presence. This leaves the horse without any of the higher functions of the body. The horse not only loses consciousness, he loses any thought process, the will to move and conscious movement. In this state, the horse’s base functions of breathing and heart beat are still taking place.
If the situation is extreme, the horse loses consciousness and the ability to breathe and operate the heart. If these vital actions do not start up fairly quickly, the horse will die. Death also results if the spirit becomes completely lost.
GV 26 Helps Anxiety and Mouthy Behavior
For emotional issues, GV 26 may help the horse who is agitated or withdrawn. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when the spirit (shen) is disturbed by emotional or physical chaos, it leaves its place (its palace) within the Heart. Then, the spirit is not available to give inspiration and guidance to the Heart and the Heart becomes unable to direct the functions of the body in a clear, orderly manner. While GV 26 is similar in this function to the other calming points, it is more suited for the horse who is in a more extreme emotional state.
GV 26 may also be effective for Heart Fire, an energy imbalance where the horse is emotionally agitated or over-active in the movement of his mouth and tongue. This horse may put everything within reach into his mouth for chewing. He may grind his teeth, hold his tongue out of his mouth and move it around.
Note: Diana has created a 6-page laminated color chart of emergency acupressure points for horse owners. The chart is titled: Emergency Acupressure Points for Horses. Click here to see sample pages from the chart and learn about purchasing it.