Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture has been proven to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and stimulate the nervous system in order to bring the body into a state of "rest and digest." These factors must all be present in order for your body to heal itself. In short, think of acupuncture as a way of modulating and boosting your body's own natural healing abilities. It gives the brain a bit of direction on what areas need more focus than others at the moment, and initiates various mechanisms (aiding toxin removal, boosting the immune system, releasing natural pain killers, aiding the re-uptake of serotonin in the brain, facilitating enzymatic and hormonal reactions, etc.) for the treatment of disease. Very thin, single-use sterile needles are inserted into acupuncture points or areas of pain. These points are located on what Chinese Medicine calls channels or meridians. We now know these meridians are the fascial bands that envelope literally every single part of our body, and take part in hundreds of physiological processes. When there is a blockage in a meridian due to injury, physical tension, emotional tension, or impairment in blood flow, acupuncture works to release these restrictions and facilitate a cascade of physiological reactions to bring the body back to a state of homeostasis. Science is still continuing to study the vast array of implications fascia has, but Chinese Medicine has known for a very long time. A review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials of acupuncture published by The Acupuncture Evidence Project – A Comparative Literature Review 2017 lists all conditions that acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment for. You can view that document by going to bottom of this FAQ page and clicking the link.

What does acupuncture treat?

PAIN Migraines and headache Sports Injury Whiplash Muscle pain Joint pain Jaw pain (TMJ) Facial pain Facial paralysis (bell’s palsy) Sciatica Neck and back pain Hip, knee, ankle, foot pain Shoulder, arm, wrist, hand pain Tendonitis Arthritis Mild sprain Tennis or golfer’s elbow Carpal tunnel Post-operative pain DIGESTIVE ISSUES Reflux and heartburn Indigestion Bloating IBS Chronic loose stools or constipation Nausea MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH Depression Anxiety Insomnia and sleep disorders Stress Trauma recovery MANAGEMENT OF CHRONIC DISEASE SYMPTOMS Parkinsons MS Fibromyalgia Stroke recovery Hypertension Diabetes Autoimmune disorders WOMEN’S HEALTH Fertility support Menstrual disorders: PMS, cramps and menstrual pain, heavy or light periods, irregular periods Fibroids and PCOS Relief from the symptoms of menopause GENERAL HEALTH Low energy and fatigue or feeling worn out Preventative treatment Monthly or seasonal ‘maintenance’ Premature aging Weight loss PREGNANCY Labor induction Fetal positioning Pre and post-delivery support and recovery Morning sickness SKIN ISSUES Acne Hair loss Eczema Dermatitis RESPIRATORY ISSUES Asthma Allergies Sinusitis SEXUAL HEALTH low libido erectile dysfunction impotence If you would like to review scientific literature on what acupuncture can treat, the Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association lists all conditions that acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment for. You can find the link to that document at the bottom of this FAQ page.

How long will the effects last?

Depending on you situation, effects can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, months, or years. Like any imbalance in the body, whether it be acute or chronic, structural, emotional, or depends on how long the condition has been present. It also depends on how much commitment you have to regular treatments, dietary changes, supplementations, lifestyle, and how strong your body is.

What will my first treatment be like?

You will book an initial appointment with us and fill out an intake form and consent to treatment form online prior to your appointment time. This form will include a comprehensive questionnaire that we will review to determine what your imbalances are from a Chinese Medicine perspective and orthopedic evaluations, and then decide the best treatment course for you. We go over the questionnaire for around 15 minutes to make sure we have the entire picture to make a proper diagnosis. A 60 minute treatment will then follow which may include Acupuncture, massage, cupping, guasha, or dietary and herbal supplements.

Does acupuncture hurt?

No! The needles we use in acupuncture are extremely thin, a standard one being 0.25mm in diameter, which is 1/4 the size of your smallest sewing needle, or about the size of a strand of hair. You may sometimes feel the initial prick of the needle going in, but it is very mild. We can also alter the treatment to not use as many needles if you are feeling nervous, or just use other treatment methods like massage, cupping, or guasha. Acupuncture is a very gentle procedure, and after the needles have been inserted your body immediately releases natural opioids which initiate total body relaxation.

I'm scared of needles. Should I bother booking an appointment?

Yes! The needles inserted into acupuncture points are extremely thin. A typical one being 1/4 the size of your smallest sewing needle. We even have ones that are thinner than that, so if it is a concern for you, you can let us know. We also offer eastern massage (acupressure point massage), cupping, guasha, Chinese herbal medicine, and diet therapy if you still wanted to experience Chinese medicine but weren't feeling ready for acupuncture.

Do the marks from cupping and guasha hurt? How long until they disappear?

In short, sort of, but the pain can be described as similiar to a very mild bruise. The first day of treatment you will feel great because we have broken up adhesions in various layers of tissue. Range of motion is increased, and pain is decreased. Depending on how long the issue has been present for and how much stagnant blood comes to the surface, the next 1-2 days post treatment can sometimes be uncomfortable because we have initiated micro-damage to the capillaries and tissues in order for new, oxygenated blood to come in. The pain is often very mild, and more of a "good" pain that you may experience after a massage. The markings can take anywhere from 2-7 days to clear up, depending on how good you circulation is and how long the problem has been there for.

Coverage for Extended Health Care, MSP, & ICBC claims

Extended Health Care Most health care plans cover up to $500 a year for alternative medicines, which acupuncture and falls under. Tuina (eastern) massage is under the scope of practise of an Acupuncturist, so if you book this treatment and it is combined with acupuncture, you will also qualify. MSP You may be eligible to receive $23 per treatment for up to 10 visits a year if you are a BC resident who qualifies for MSP Premium Assistance. ICBC 12 treatments within the first 12 weeks of any accident are automatically pre-approved. We will be offering direct billing shortly.

How much training do acupuncturists have?

In British Columbia, there is a minimum 3-year 2200 hour course which covers Traditional Chinese Medicine, anatomy, physiology, biomedicine, pharmacology, clinical safety, and a minimum 500 clinic hours. A vigorous 2-part exam then follows post graduation to ensure that a particular practitioner is fit to practice. Once the exam is passed, obtained is the "R.Ac" title which means you are now a registered acupuncturist and health care provider to the province you live in, and can porvide treatments which most extended health plans cover. Acupuncturists can also further their studies into a 4 or 5 year program to deepen their knowledge about Traditional Chinese Medicine, get more clinical hours, and learn more about Chinese herbal medicines and formulas. At this point they will be titled "Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner" or "Doctor of Chinese Medicine".