What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment method of Chinese medicine, which can relieve pain and cure diseases. The procedure involves the insertion of needles into various points of the body. Acupuncture has been used to treat conditions such as asthma, deafness, migraines, ulcers, eye diseases, and some types of mental illness including addictions.

According to Chinese philosophy, disease and pain occur because of an imbalance between two principal forces of nature-Yin and Yang. Acupuncture is thought to restore this balance. Many Chinese and other people believe acupuncture influences a life force that flows along 12 paired and 2 unpaired meridians, channels of energy that run longitudinally in the body. Therapists called acupuncturists insert sharp needles at one or more of hundreds of specific points along the meridian. Insertion of the needles produces a sharp pinching feeling. This feeling quickly disappears and is replaced by an occasional tingling or a sense of numbness, heaviness, or soreness while the needles are in place. The patient is conscious throughout treatment.

Scientists have proposed three major theories of how acupuncture works. One theory suggests that the meridians actually exist and connect the body’s organs in a special manner. According to this theory, acupuncture increases activity along the meridians and thus influences organ function. Scientists have also theorized that acupuncture works, at least in part, by increasing the brain’s production of natural painkillers called endorphins. These substances are morphine-like chemicals that influence the body’s awareness of pain. Scientists also theorize that acupuncture may work through the nervous system by triggering signals that interrupt pain messages sent to the brain. This hypothesis is known as the “gate theory” of pain.

Since the late 1950’s, Chinese Acupuncturists have performed surgery using acupuncture as a local anesthetic; the patient remains fully conscious during the operation. Acupuncture’s practitioners say the anesthetic is effective for complicated operations on the stomach, chest, neck, and head.

Acupuncture is frequently used in the Far East and Southeast Asia. In the Canada and other Western countries, it has not yet been totally accepted as a form of medical treatment.

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system, which has been existing for almost 4000 years in China. The theory of TCM is based on Chinese ancient knowledge of anatomy, physiology, herbal knowledge and clinic experience. In this system, TCM Practitioner’s will diagnose patient with special techniques involved with detecting the patient’s symptoms, pulse, throat, tongue, color of the face, the sound of patient etc. After the TCM Practitioner give a diagnosis, patient will receive treatment including herbal medicine, acupuncture or acupressure to get rid of the disease.

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

No. Acupuncture is used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals. These animal patients do not understand or believe in the prosess that helps them get better.

Why acupuncture?

The greatest advantage of acupuncture and acupressure is the painless and side-effects free application. You can expect a whole new experience that unlocks your body’s natural healing power. By inserting sterile, disposable needles in designated points in the body, acupuncture practitioners stimulate and balance the flow of Chi, which is the body’s natural energy and life force. This unique treatment promotes physical and emotional well-being, consequently curing various diseases.

What problems can be treated by acupuncture?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report in which there are more than 50 kind of problems can be treated by acupuncture:

(1). Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders Toothaches, pain after tooth extraction, earaches, sinus inflammation, nasal inflammation or dryness.
(2).Respiratory Disorders
Uncomplicated bronchial asthma in children or adults.
(3). Gastrointestinal Disorders
Digestive tract problems, hiccups, inflammation of the stomach, chronic duodenal ulcers, inflammation of the colon, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery caused by certain bacteria.
(4). Eye Disorders
Inflammation of the conjunctiva, inflammation of the central retina, nearsightedness, and uncomplicated cataracts.
(5). Nervous System and Muscular Disorders

Headaches, migraines, certain facial paralysis or nerve pain, partial weakness after a stroke, inflammation of nerve endings, bed wetting, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, low back pain, upper back pain, and osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China, Japan and other Asia countries to treat many other problems, such as knee pain, sprains and strains. It is also uses to treat many kinds of internal diseases, such as cancer, inflections and gynecological complaints.

How deep do the needles go?

That depends on the nature of the problem, the location of the points selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution. Also upon the TCM Practitioner’s experience and education background. Generally, needles are inserted from 1/4 to 1 inch in depth.

Does acupuncture hurt?

It’s up to your acupuncturist. If your acupuncturist has obtained the correct stimulus of the needle, the patient should feel some cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling, sore, or electric sensation either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway. Generally, acupuncture will not produce any experience that you can not bear with. All the sensations of acupuncture are subtle.

Are the needles clean?

Of course. The best practice among acupuncturists in Canada today is to use sterilized, individually package, disposable needles. Needles should not be saved and reused for later treatments. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting some kind of communicable diseases by contaminated needles.

Why acupuncture works?

Conventional Western medical sciences still can not explain how acupuncture works. But some research about acupuncture conducted in China, Japan, Europe and USA, has indicated the effect of acupuncture might come from nervous system and other system from human body. When the needle insert the patient’s body, it stimulates the body nervous system and makes some reaction, this reaction will balance the inside problems of the body. Some research found there were some chemical materials detected in the patient’s body after the treatment of acupuncture. In one word, there are still a long way to go for modern sciences to explain completely about acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi(Human Energy) and Xue(Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow areas where it is deficient and away from where it is excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a saying,”There is no pain if there is free flow of Qi and blood; if there is pain somewhere, that’s because Qi and blood flow are blocked there.”

Are there different styles of acupuncture?

Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles, and America. In different countries, different styles might have developed based on differing opinions as to theory and techniques. Some experienced practitioners have also developed some kind of styles and techniques. No matter what kind of style, the mission is same: Better people’s health by a natural, pain-free way. Patients should talk to their acupuncturists about the process of the treatment and learn as much as possible.

What criteria should I use to choose an acupuncturist?

Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long the acupuncturist has been in practice, acupuncturist’s academic degree, and what experience the acupuncturist has had in treating patient’s specific disease.

How many treatments will patient need? and how often?

That depends on case to case. You may need only as single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to ten treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time. For some patients seeking general health maintenance, they may need acupuncture treatment from time to time, which is something like a car tune-up.

Treatment are normally given 1�2 intervals at weekly, although your acupuncturist may advice more or less time between treatments.

Is there anything I can do before receiving acupuncture treatment?

Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment.

(1). Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
(2). to prevent loss, do not wear jewelry.
(3). Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one-piece dresses. Avoid wearing tight stockings.
(4). Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry, full, emotionally upset, or shortly after sex.

Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?


(1), Relax. there is no need to be scared. Ask your acupuncturist any questions you have along the way so that you can get the most benefit possible from the treatment.
(2), Do not change your position or move suddenly when the needles are in your body. If you are tired of one position or you feel uncomfortable about one position, tell your acupuncturist.
(3), Some people experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, shortness of breath, or faintness during treatment. This often occurs if you are nervous, especially when it’s your first time receiving acupuncture treatment. Inform you acupuncturist immediately, so the acupuncturist can readjust or withdraw the needles. Also let your acupuncturist know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the treatment.
(4), If you find your treatment unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so that your acupuncturist can make the proper adjustments or stop the treatment.

What can I expect after treatment?

You may note a spot of blood at one or more of the needle sites and/or a small bruise could develop. These should not be harmful, but please talk to your acupuncturist if you are concerned.

Patients often experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better.

Can acupuncture help cancer patients?

A frequently asked question by patients undergoing cancer treatment is, “Can acupuncture help me?”

The issue then becomes: is there a place for acupuncture in the vast field of cancer with its diverse treatment modalities?

“Vast” since cancer is not one disease but over 300 different malignancies, each with its own unique histology, patho-physiology, and clinical behavior. ‘Diverse” because of the different chemotherapeutic classes of agents, hormonal agents, types of High-energy particle beam generators, and various delivery systems for radiation treatment. “Diverse” also because it encompasses various types of surgical procedures, nutritional support, and the body-mind holistic approach.

Timely diagnosis and early surgery offer the most favorable possibility of a cure for solid tumors. The germinal cancers and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, along with some hematologic malignancies such as childhood leukemia, are the few exceptions. These are treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow or stem cell transplantation singly or in combination. Some of the latter are the most predictably curable malignancies with or without surgery.

If the diagnosis is late, surgery unsuccessful, or should the tumor recur after surgery, then the chance of a cure, with rare exceptions, is considered lost This class of patients, along with those not amenable to surgical approaches, are treated palliatively. Palliative therapies also consist of chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation therapy and/or palliative surgery.

The role of acupuncture in the curative group is in its adjunctive use in anesthesia, in post-operative pain control, and in aiding and hastening recovery from the side effects of the various therapies. Acupuncture is effective for control of pain, of local swelling post-operatively, for shortening the resolution of hematoma and tissue swelling and for minimizing use of medications and their attendant side effects. Energetic acupuncture, an approach consisting of the use of needles with electricity and moxibustion (a form of local heating with herbs imparts a sense of well being and accelerates patients’ recovery. In conjunction with nutritional support, its use is routinely employed in some cancer institutions.

The dreaded nausea and vomiting which commonly occurs in some patients undergoing chemotherapy and inevitably, with the use of certain classes of agents, can often be worse than the disease itself.

That acupuncture is a powerful tool for general pain control is widely known. . Less known is its success use in some cancer-related pain and in reducing narcotic use and thereby minimizing the side effects confusion, disturbed mentation, behavioral changes, nausea and severe constipation.

Whole body energetic acupuncture support, .are approaches available to the acupuncturists. In the acupuncture paradigm, any chronic disease process depletes the energy level in the organism. Such depletion can be ameliorated, at least temporarily, by tonification, a process of imparting energy into the system. This is deemed necessary for more durable, successful pain control. It can also add to the patients’ sense of well being and decrease the malaise associated with any chronic disease, especially cancer.

What training is required to practice acupuncture? Do you have recommendations in this regard?

Requirements can vary significantly worldwide. In most of Europe a person to legally practice acupuncture must first be a medical doctor. In this country there are non-physicians who are licensed to practice. Again there can be significant variations in requirements depending upon local laws.

Is Acupuncture covered under OHIP?

NO, It is not .
But many Insurance plan do indeed cover it. For the details see : what insurance we Accept� page

Do the Acupuncture needles have Medication on their tips?
No, They do not.
Should anyone not have acupuncture?

Clearly anyone who is averse to needles should not consider having a therapy which involves them!

Also anyone who is or may be pregnant should avoid Acupuncture as its effect on pregnancy, although probably safe, is unproven.