What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been around for over 3000 years, originating in China and serving as a primary care medicine for thousands of years. In Canada, we use it as adjunctive care for all chronic and acute ailments. Commonly treated health conditions range from sprained ankles and common colds, to insomnia, reproductive health, and cancer support. The practice consists of the insertion of tiny, single-use, stainless steel needles into acupuncture points, located all over the body, to stimulate a healing response or to stimulate your “qi” (pronounced 'chi').

In my practice, I treat patients as young as 7 years old to adults and elderly with any acute and chronic ailments. I also utilize other Chinese modalities of healing such as gua sha, cupping, nutrition, and shitasu.  I am trained in the  use of herbal medicine both topically and internally and often make recommendations based on each individual patient, their health status and their chief complaint.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Not typically. Sensations can range from nothing at all, to that of a mosquito bite, to a potentially stronger feeling, known as a qi response, which will only lasts a couple of seconds. The goal of the treatment is to both address your main health concerns and to relax your body as much as possible so as to allow for deeper healing.

How long does AN acupuncture appointment last?

Initial appointments are 60 minutes in duration; during this time I gather detailed information about you and your health history, as well as provide an acupuncture treatment. Follow-up appointments are typically 45 minutes in length and consist of a short check-in and acupuncture for the duration. For young children and the elderly sometimes a 30 minute follow-up is all that is needed.

How many times do I need to come back?

Acupuncture is not a magic bullet and due to the organic nature of the medicine, sustainable changes can take time. That said, patients can often feel relief from acute conditions very quickly. Chronic conditions take longer to treat, but the key to successful care is consistency with your appointments. As soon as you start feeling better and are experiencing lasting relief, we start reducing the frequency of your appointments. I can give you a better idea of treatment duration during your first visit, after we have completed an initial intake together.

Will you put needles all over my body?

Potentially. While there are over 400 acupuncture points on your body to activate qi and create a healing response, I will access between 10-15 for your first treatment. The mark of a good treatment does not have anything to do with using the most needles possible. In this medicine, more is not always better. I will always tell you what I am doing before I do it and make sure you are comfortable with the number of needles I use. I have many options to choose from with acupuncture points, as well as other modalities like cupping, gua sha, or the use of herbal medicine to help you. We have options if something makes you uncomfortable. 

Do I have to “believe” in this for it to work?

No. Acupuncture has thousands of years of documented clinical benefit. This is a fact. Animal acupuncture has also been used effectively for many years and I guarantee you animals have not been convinced by their practitioners about this medicine and it works for them. Having said that, I am interested in treating people who are willing to explore the healing potential of acupuncture and allow me to treat them. Listen to yourself and choose if this is something that you are interested in being a part of. Chinese medicine is a fascinating, gentle, and tremendously effective medicine. 

I have had acupuncture from my chiropractor/physiotherapist/massage therapist...is this the same thing?

No. From an outsiders perspective it may look the same given that the same needles are utilized in treatment; however, the assessment, philosophy, and application of the medicine are incomparable as our training differs greatly. While chiropractors and physiotherapists have 4 years of graduate school training, as I do, their focus and main modalities are not based on Chinese medicine theory and acupuncture. Similarly, massage therapists attend 2-3 years of massage training. Most chiropractors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists acquire their acupuncture training in an abbreviated weekend course series. The breadth and depth of their acupuncture training, and thus their ability to treat you, will differ greatly.