What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points indicated as effective in the treatment of specific health problems.  These acupuncture points on the body have been mapped and used by the Chinese over a period of approximately two thousand years.

Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed the point locations.

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is extremely safe.  It is a “drug free” therapy, yielding few side effects, and results in a feeling of relaxation and being grounded.  There is no danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they are clean, sterile, individually packaged and used only once.  All needles are disposed of after each use.

How does acupuncture work?

Modern western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works.  Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat similar to the nerves and blood vessels.  According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where there is a Deficiency and away from an area where there is an Excess.  In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body, thus restoring health and vitality.

Is acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture does not hurt like a hypodermic needle.  Hypodermic needles are thick in comparison to thin, fine hair-like acupuncture needles.  When acupuncture needles are inserted and manipulated, to some there is a sensation, often a very mild electrical, heavy, distending or tingling feeling, that may be localized or travel up or down the affected meridian, but usually not pain.  Yet to others the sensation could be completely unnoticeable.

Are there different styles of acupuncture?

There are many different styles of acupuncture.  Acupuncture originated in China but is now widely practiced in Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles and North America.

In the different countries, various styles of acupuncture have developed based on varying opinions as to theory and technique.  Patients are encouraged to talk to their Practitioner about the particular style practiced in their clinic and the proposed treatment plan.

How should I prepare for my treatment?

The following suggestions will assist you in receiving the maximum benefits from your treatment:

1.  Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.

2.  Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

3.  Eat a snack or light meal at least half hour prior to your treatment.

4.  Do not consume any stimulants prior to treatment (ie .. coffee, alcohol, metabolism boosters etc.).

5.  Do not arrive rushed, excessively fatigued, hungry, too full or emotionally upset for treatment.

6.  Arrange a ride to and from the initial appointment as you may feel too sleepy and/or tired after treatment.

7.  It is best if you are able to enjoy a nice, easy day post-treatment.  It is not particularly advisable to receive a

treatment prior to a hectic, stressful day at work.  It is best if you are able to rest after your treatment and

let the body balance itself. 

How long does an acupuncture treatment take?

The initial treatment will be longer as your practitioner must collect a complete medical history and perform a diagnostic consultation and evaluation prior to the treatment.  It is generally advisable to set aside one to one and a half hours for the initial treatment.

The subsequent treatments should take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour depending on the condition being treated.

What should I know about the proposed treatment plan?

Your practitioner will explain the nature of your condition and review the treatment plan she is recommending.  You will also be informed of the benefits and risks of the proposed treatment and other treatment options available to you through this practitioner or by referral to another practitioner or physician.

Is there anything I need to do while receiving acupuncture?

The following suggestions will assist you in getting the maximum benefit from your treatment.

1.  Relax and clear your mind.  If you have reservations, ask your practitioner and questions along the way so

you may experience peace of mind and enjoy your treatment.

2.  Do not change your position or move suddenly once the needles have been inserted.  If you are

uncomfortable or experiencing any discomfort, let your practitioner know.

3.  Let the practitioner know if you feel an increasing amount of pain or burning sensation during the


4.  Some people may experience dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath or fainting during treatment.  This

often occurs if you are too nervous.  Should you experience these symptoms, inform your practitioner so

she can readjust or withdraw the needles.

5.  If you find your treatment uncomfortable or unbearable at any point, be sure to speak up so that your

practitioner can make the proper adjustments or stop the treatment.

How many treatments will it take before I see an improvement in my condition?

This is a difficult question to answer because it varies from person to person.  Some people will see an improvement right away.  Others, however, may require as many as ten treatments before they notice a difference.  Every person reacts and heals differently.  It also depends on the length of time a person has experienced the condition (acute or chronic) and the severity of the condition.

What can I expect and how will I feel after treatment?

Aside from feeling sleepy or tired after treatment, you will experience a general feeling of wellbeing and of feeling grounded.  It is recommended that you arrange a ride to and from your initial treatment as you do not know how your body will respond and operating a motor vehicle may not be safe.

Occasionally, you may notice a small spot of blood at one or more of the needle sites and/or a bruise could develop.  These are not harmful but you should speak to your practitioner if you are concerned.

Sometimes you may even experience a worsening of symptoms or pain.  These symptoms and occurances are nothing to worry about since they are generally indications that your body is attempting to achieve aand regain a proper balance and regulate its Qi (energy).

How do I choose a qualified acupuncturist?

Patients are encouraged to make the following inquiries of the practitioner of their choice:

1.  Where did you complete your training?

2.  How long was your training?

3.  What is your designation? (ie.  R.Ac. is a registered acupuncturist)

4.  How long have you been practicing?

5.  Do you have a licence to practice? (licence should be in a visible location somewhere in their clinic)

6.  Are you a registrant in good standing with the CTCMA (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and

Acupuncturists of British Columbia)

5.  Do you keep your skills updated? (ie. continuing education)

Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession in the province of British Columbia.  All acupuncturists must pass a licencing examination administered by the CTCMA and be a current registrant and  member in good standing with the CTCMA in order to practice acupuncture legally in the province of British Columbia.

The CTCMA is a regulatory body for the acupuncture profession that is designated to protect the general public from acupuncturists who are practicing illegally in the province or who are not properly trained or qualified to practice acupuncture.  You may visit the CTCMA website at  www.ctcma.bc.ca to view a list of all qualified acupuncturists in the province of British Columbia.