What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, single use needles into specific Acupuncture Points to stimulate the body’s own natural healing resources. The needles act like a switch; turning off something the body is doing too much of, or turning on something the body is not doing enough. The basic principles of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) state the Qi, Yin & Yang need to be in balance within the body to maintain health. Acupuncture is one part of TCM used to restore or maintain that balance.
What is Qi?
Qi can be described as; life-force, health, energy, vitality. Qi flows throughout the body and is constantly being recreated. Qi can sometimes encounter blockages or disturbances. These disturbances can be caused by something as simple as a virus, such as the common cold, or an injury causing Qi and blood flow to stagnate (we can see this- as a bruise!). Or the disturbance can be more complicated, such as poor digestion leading to poor nutrient absorption leading to poor Qi begin created leading to tiredness, depression, poor complexion, and a number of other complaints.
What Are Yin and Yang?
Yin and Yang are two parts of a whole, one cannot exist without the other. Yin is the quiet, sustaining aspect, while Yang is the active, motive force. Too much Yang results in a person feeling hot, restless, and agitated. Conversely too much Yin results in feeling cold, tired, and lethargic. Health and wellness are dependent on Yin and Yang being balanced and in harmony with one another.
What is TCM?
TCM stands for Traditional Chinese Medicine, a healthcare modality that has been in use for thousands of years, which includes Acupuncture. TCM also includes the use of; cupping, moxabustion, herbs, gua sha (muscle scraping), Tui Na (Chinese Massage), QiGong, Tai Chi, and nutritional counseling.
What does Acupuncture do? Studies indicate that:
There are many great studies being conducted all over the world looking at how acupuncture works, and how to explain it from a Western medical point of view;
• Acupuncture helps the body release endorphins, which helps reduce pain, promotes relaxation, and often gives the patient a sense of calm and well being, or something similar to an “exercise high”.
• Acupuncture may have applications in the treatment of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Especially in terms of managing pain, and reducing the nausea and toxic effects of other cancer treatments.
• Acupuncture helps regulate blood pressure and hormone levels.
• Acupuncture promotes sleep by helping the body release serotonin, and reduces stress and mood-swings by regulating the nervous system.
• Acupuncture helps promote proper digestion, which is important for overall health.
Is Acupuncture Regulated?
Yes, since April 1st, 2013 Acupuncture has been regulated in the province of Ontario. In order to practice, Acupuncturists must meet specific educational guidelines as set out by the CTCMPAO (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario). In order to continue practicing, each year Acupuncturists must complete continuing education credits and comply with all rules and guides lines set out but the CTCMPAO and Registered Health Professionals Act.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
When the needle penetrates the skin there is sometimes a slight pinch, or prick. However, many patients report that they do not feel the needle at all.
Once the needle has entered the skin the acupuncturist may manipulate it slightly. This manipulation helps the Qi “grasp” the needle, and will cause a sensation called “DeQi”. DeQi can feel differently depending on the patient, area of the body, and disorder being treated. Typical DeQi reactions include; tingling, spreading warmth or coolness, a dull ache, itchiness, or a quick electric shock. Sometimes patients laugh, cry, or twitch when the needle attains DeQi. All of these reactions are normal, and a sign that the needle is in the right place.
Do You Do Labour Induction?
Yes, both Meghan and Tracey will do points to induce labour, but only in a full term (past 40 weeks), low risk pregnancy. You may be required to bring a note from your primary care giver (Doctor or Midwife) to your appointment. The note should state you are over 40 weeks, and low risk. Please keep in mind, babies do have a mind of their own and there is no guarantee, it can also take a few treatments, which can be done every 24 hours.
Are There Any Risks?
Acupuncture is very safe. There are, however, a few complications that have been associated with needling. Organ puncture and nerve damage have been known to occur in extremely rare cases. It is important to know that while these complications are possible, they occur in rare cases, and often when the Practitioner is not sufficiently trained in Anatomy.
Less serious but more common side effects of Acupuncture include; tingling or numbness at the needle site which may last for a few days, and slight bruising.
Many people ask about infection, rest assured the needles used are sterile, and single use only. You will probably notice a bright yellow “Sharps Container” in the treatment room. This is for used needles and any cotton balls that have been soiled. Once full, the Sharps Container gets dropped at a drug store where it will be disposed of in the same manner as biomedical waste. Acupuncturists are also trained in, and practice Clean Needle Techniques.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is the application of glass cups on the skin. Suction is created by burning a cotton ball inside the glass cups. Cupping can feel like deep massage, and is used to; increase Qi and Blood flow, open pores in the skin to release toxins, move stagnation (think of tight muscles and knots), as well as to balance and realign the flow of Qi. Cupping does leave bruising on the skin that can last a week or more. The cups can be left in one spot on the body, or with a little oil on the skin they can be moved around.
What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion, or Moxa is a type of traditional Chinese medicine therapy. It uses an herb- Moxa in Chinese, Mugwort in English. Moxa was traditionally burned over an Acupuncture Point, some Acupuncturists use a liquid form of the herb so there is no smelly smoke. A heat lamp is placed over the area to intensify the effects of the Moxa liquid. Moxa is used to invigorate the Yang- which means Moxa adds warmth to the body. Adding warmth and invigorating Yang helps in many ways, but is especially beneficial with- certain types of Arthritis, cold hands and feet, frequent urination, as well as sore back and stiff joints.
Is Acupuncture Covered by Insurance?
Yes, many insurance companies cover Acupuncture by a Licensed or Registered Acupuncturist (Meghan and Tracey are Registered Acupuncturists) but you’ll have to check with your insurance company to be sure. Usually insurance companies cover Acupuncture up to a certain amount per year. Fees are collected up front, and you can submit your receipts to your company for reimbursement.
We offer direct billing to Veterans through Blue Cross, however in some cases a prescription from your Doctor is required. Please call Blue Cross before booking your appointment to confirm if they require a prescription for your specific case.
What are the Most Common Reasons People Get Acupuncture?
Stress, relaxation, pain, fertility, menstrual irregularities, and digestive problems are all very common reasons people come for Acupuncture.
Is there anything Acupuncture Cannot Treat?
Unfortunately yes, there are a few things Acupuncture cannot treat. Bone on bone pain caused by complete deterioration of cartilage in a joint, major structural/ anatomical defects, cancer (though Acupuncture does a great job treating the nausea and pain associated with Chemo), and AIDS/ HIV.
How Many Treatments do I Need?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is no preset limit on the number of treatments. This is because each patient responds differently to the needles, and to their own health conditions. If a patient has had a condition for ten years they will generally need more treatments than someone who has had the same condition for six months. However, everyone responds differently so the opposite is possible. When you come for your first few appointments Lailee, Meghan or Tracey will give you an idea of how many treatments are needed, based on your symptoms and how you respond to the treatments.
How Frequently Will I need to Make My Appointments?
The frequency of appointments will vary depending on the condition being treated, as well as the overall health of the patient. Acupuncture is cumulative- it works better with more, and more frequent appointments. Just like taking a course of antibiotics from the Doctor, you need to take multiple doses to get good results. Generally the acupuncturist will recommend 1-2 appointments per week to start seeing good results, at which time the frequency of appointments will be reduced to once weekly, and will then be reduced further as the treatment process continues. The acupuncturist’s goal is always to get the best possible results in the shortest time period. However, certain chronic conditions may take months to improve, and require follow ups for maintenance, especially around season changes or during times of stress.
Why Don’t You Have Testimonials?
The CTCMPAO (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists or Ontario), our regulatory body, has strict rules about advertising that all registered Acupuncturists and TCM Practitioners must adhere to. One of those regulations is that we are not allowed to use testimonials of any kind in our advertising or on our websites. We are bound by rules of confidentiality and there is no way to publish a testimonial and have it be verifiable without revealing patient information. Without verification there is no way for patients to know if the testimonial is true, or made up.