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Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old TCM treatment technique, and in modern times, the therapeutic techniques guided by its theoretical system have been continuously enriched and developed. Acupuncture is now covered by many insurance policies and is widely used to relieve pain and treat internal medical diseases.


Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites--commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects. Other acupoint stimulation techniques include manual massage, moxibustion or heat therapy, cupping, and the application of topical herbal medicines and linaments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe, and the body, in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called "qi" (pronounced "chee") flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture’s effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.


Unlike Western medicine which usually addresses a specific symptom or disease, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views the entire body in terms of qi, its energy. When qi is flowing smoothly throughout the body, good health is enjoyed. However, if this flow of energy is blocked (ie, from trauma), acupressure can release qi to work toward restoring the body’s balance.

Qi flows through channels located near the surface of the body. Another name for channels is meridians or meridian points. There are 12 channels linked to specific organs, such as the liver, heart, and kidneys. Acupoints, or pressure points, are located on the channels (meridians). When precise pressure is exerted onto an acupoint, the gate is opened and qi flows through.

Think of qi in terms of blood circulating continually throughout the body to sustain life. If blood flow is blocked or interrupted, the affected part may starve from lack of oxygen and nutrients. The body responds by sending a warning signal in the form of symptoms. Some of these symptoms might include pain, inflammation, muscle spasm, or tingling sensations.


First, your acupuncturist will ask about your health history. Then, he or she will examine your tongue’s shape, colour, and coating, feel your pulse, and possibly perform some additional physical examinations depending on your individual health needs. Using these unique assessment tools, the acupuncturist will be able to recommend a proper treatment plan to address your particular condition. To begin the acupuncture treatment, you lay comfortably on a treatment table while precise acupoints are stimulated on various areas of your body. Most people feel no or minimal discomfort as the fine needles are gently placed. The needles are usually retained between five and 30 minutes. During and after treatments, people report that they feel very relaxed.


The frequency and number of treatments differ from person to person. Some people experience dramatic relief in the first treatment. For complex or long-standing chronic conditions, one to two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, usually eight to ten visits in total. An individualized treatment plan that includes the expected number of treatments will be discussed during your initial visit.

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