Acupuncture FAQs:

Does acupuncture hurt?

No, acupuncture does not hurt. It is normal when a patient sometimes feels heaviness, aching or tingling around the site of the needle insertion. The acupuncture needles used are very fine and thin, and are unlikely to cause any discomfort. In general, most patients describe acupuncture as very relaxing.

 Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe. It is absolutely drug-free; thus, there are no side effects except feeling relaxed after the procedure. The skin is treated with alcohol and disposable sterile needles are used, so there is little danger of infection.

 How deep do the Acupuncture needles go in?

Typically, the acupuncture needles are inserted to a depth of ¼ to 1 inch. Depth depends on the size of the person and the target structure and location.

 How long are the Acupuncture needles left in place?

Once the needles are inserted, they are left in place for around 20 up to 40 minutes, depending on the patient’s condition. During this time, the patient should remain still, relaxed and in a comfortable position.

 What can I expect?

At your first visit, a full health history will be taken. Diagnosis will begin with questions regarding your health and lifestyle and any other information that is pertinent. The acupuncturist will then check your pulses and look at your tongue and also conduct a physical exam. All this information is used to form a diagnosis based on the theories and philosophies of Chinese medicine. While you are being treated, you generally either feel a sense of deep relaxation or you are immensely energized. When the needle is inserted, you may feel numbness or tingling. Some say that they feel energy (also known as Qi) spread from the point of insertion. All of these are signs that the treatment is working.

 Why do they want to look at my tongue?

The tongue tells many things about your body. It can reflect your general health as well as the health of your organs and meridians. The acupuncturist will examine the color, shape and coating.

 Why do they want to feel my pulse?

An acupuncturist will want to feel 12 main spots on your wrist. Each spot corresponds to an organ and meridian system. There are 27 different pulse qualities that your acupuncturist will be looking for. These 27 qualities will reflect your balance of Qi and any imbalances will appear in your pulse.

 Can I combine acupuncture and Western medicine?

Acupuncture treatment can be combined with Western internal medicine, osteopathic, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy or massage.

 Are the Acupuncture needles clean?

We only use sterilized, single use, stainless steel Acupuncture needles. Once the needles are removed from their sealed packaging they are only used once and then disposed of.

 How many Acupuncture treatments does it take to get better?

This depends on the condition being treated. If the condition is fairly new and uncomplicated, a patient may only need up to ten Acupuncture treatments. However, if it is a more serious condition the patient may require anywhere from 10 to 15 Acupuncture treatments. Some chronic conditions may require more sessions of Acupuncture.

The number of treatments that a patient will require depends on a variety of factors, the severity and duration of your problem, your current health, and your overall quality and quantity of Qi. Your acupuncturist may suggest one or two treatments per week for several weeks, or monthly visits over time for health maintenance, seasonal “tune ups” or preventative medicine.

 How long does each Acupuncture treatment take?

The first visit will include a full assessment where the patient is asked a number of questions about his or her health. Afterwards, the practitioner checks the pulse and looks at your tongue. Following this, the first treatment is performed. This process takes about one hour, and around 30 to 50 minutes for subsequent treatments.

 Do insurance plans cover acupuncture?

Yes. The majority of Canadian workers have partial or full coverage for acupuncture services in their workplace health care plans. Patients should check their individual extended health coverage plans to ensure adequate coverage. OHIP does not cover these services.

 What is Moxibustion?

This is also known as heat therapy. This technique involves burning a roll of an herb called moxa, above the acupuncture point. Sometimes a slice of ginger root or some salt is directly place on the treatment area, depending on the patient. This is a deep penetrating treatment and is very effective in treating weakness and sensitivity to cold.

TDP is a warm apparatus that looks like a lamp. It functions to promote metabolism, balancing some physiological disorders, and reducing inflammation and pain. It is used in almost all hospitals in China and more and more in Europe. When used in TCM, it strengthens the effects of acupuncture.

 What is Acupressure and Tuina massage?

Acupressure is an ancient Asian technique that involves using the fingers to press key points on the skin, causing the body’s immune system to heal itself. Acupressure is very relaxing and promotes the release of endorphins that help ease pain. It focuses on the same points on the body as acupuncture, but without needles. Acupressure is a good way to reduce tension and increase circulation, improving health and resistance to sickness.

Tui Na, a different term for acupressure, is essentially the same as acupressure and directly translates to “push grasp” – a powerful style of massage.

 What is cupping?

Cupping involves attaching jars to the skin to treat pain and other disorders. It causes local congestion through negative pressure. The jars are placed along specific meridians or around the pain area. It promotes the flow of Qi, while warming, dispelling cold dampness and helping with swelling and pain. Cupping is usually used to treat Bi syndrome caused by wind dampness, such as pain of the lower back, shoulders, legs, and gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea and lung afflictions such as cough and asthma.

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