Does acupuncture hurt?
This is the first question new patients ask about acupuncture and the answer is NO, acupuncture does not hurt. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin and have a filiform tip. This means the needles are solid with a round edge and therefore gently part tissues out of the way during insertion rather than cutting through the skin (unlike the hollow needles used for vaccines and injections). One of the biggest barriers people face when considering acupuncture treatment is getting over their ‘fear’ of needles. Once patients try acupuncture they are most often surprised at how painless it really is.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works by communicating with the nervous system in order to promote the body’s own self-healing and pain control mechanisms. When a needle is inserted into the body the inflammatory response is initiated which increases local blood flow and promotes blood circulation to the tissues. This in turn promotes tissue regeneration which leads to healing. Acupuncture can also be used to target specific nerves on the body which will normalize nerve communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. This can be used to improve hormonal, visceral and muscular activity.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to “work?”
Acupuncture is not a placebo. It has been studied and proven effective from a strictly scientific, physiological perspective. Its mechanism of action has been documented and recognized as a valid form of therapy by the World Health Organization. One does not require a belief or expectation in the treatment in order to receive its health benefits.
Is acupuncture covered under Extended Health Benefits?
Yes, most extended health benefits packages include coverage for acupuncture and/or Traditional Chinese Medicine Services. You will be able to submit your invoice to your insurance company and be reimbursed for treatment costs depending on the package selected by your employer. Look for Acupuncture under “Paramedical Services” to see if you are eligible for coverage. Most plans only cover treatment performed by a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac) or Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner (R.TCMP) as regulated by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner’s and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO). All practitioners at Best Health Acupuncture Clinic are registered members of the College.
What can I expect on my first visit?
The first visit is about 1 hour and includes a health history as well as a treatment. We will discuss the issue at hand and then take a look at your other bodily systems to see how you are functioning as a whole. Once the needles are inserted, they stay in for about 20min. This is a great opportunity for the patient to relax, meditate or even take a nap. It is recommended that patients wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing.
What is the difference between an Acupuncturist and an “Acupuncture Provider?”
As of April 1, 2013 Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine became a regulated health profession in Ontario. This means “Registered Acupuncturist” is a protected title and only those meeting the requirements of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner’s and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO) are legally allowed to call themselves an Acupuncturist. However, with the new law, physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and even dentists are legally allowed to provide acupuncture needling within their scope of practice as long as they do not call themselves an Acupuncturist. To get around this, practitioners who do not meet the College’s requirements will call themselves an “Acupuncture Provider.” Registered Acupuncturists have over 2,000+ hours of in class training in addition to a supervised clinical internship. They are trained in Chinese Medicine theory and diagnostics, acupuncture point location of over 365 points and clean needle technique. On the other hand, “Acupuncture Providers” will have taken a 200-300 hour course and learned about 80-100 acupuncture points.