How does Acupuncture work?

Eastern perspective

The main purpose of acupuncture is to restore energetic balance of the body, which is believed to impart overall health. By inserting fine needles into specific points along your body, the energy flow is restored therefore restoring health.

Western perspective

The physiological changes of the body have been observed to see how in fact acupuncture produces the results that it does. There have been several physiological changes observed but no real answer to the mystery of the healing powers of acupuncture. Here are the prevailing theories:

1. Augmentation of Immunity theory – white blood cell counts, antibody and prostaglandin levels are increased.

2. Endorphin Theory – Acupuncture stimulates the secretions of endorphin in the body.

3. Neurotransmitter Theory – Levels of Seratonin and Noradrenaline are increased during acupuncture treatments.

4. Circulatory Theory – Acupuncture increases circulation through the release of vasodilators causing dilation of blood vessels.

5. Gate Control theory – The perception of pain is controlled by a part of the nervous system which regulates the impulse, called the “gate”. If the gate is hit with too many impulses, it becomes overwhelmed, and it closes. This prevents some of the impulses from getting through. The first gates to close would be the ones that are the smallest. These are the gates that close during Acupuncture therefore decreasing levels of pain.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is safe and effective when performed by a trained professional. Licensed practitioners use sterilized, disposable needles to prevent any risk of communicable diseases.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are solid hair thin, and they are not designed to cut the skin. They are also inserted to much more shallow levels than hypodermic needles, generally no more than a half inch to an inch depending on the type of treatment being delivered.

Are there any precautions for acupuncture and Chinese medicine?

The patient should always advise the practitioner if they suffer from a communicable disease or is or planning to become pregnant so that treatments can be altered to ensure the safety of the patient and the practitioner. Individuals suffering from bleeding disorders should not seek acupuncture treatments.

What are the side effects of acupuncture treatments?

Acupuncture treatments may cause temporary light headedness, drowsiness or slight bruising.

Does it interfere with medications that I am already taking?

Acupuncture and herbal medicines do not interfere with allopathic medication. However please advise your practitioner of prescriptive and non-prescriptive medications that you are taking as it may effect your response to the acupuncture and herbal treatments.

What to expect on my first visit?

As with most health practitioners, the first visit to an acupuncturist usually begins with the practitioner taking a detailed history. Since traditional Chinese medicine takes a more holistic approach, you may be asked questions that appear unimportant (questions about your sleep habits, your ability to tolerate heat or cold etc.) but are actually vital to the type of care you will receive. After reviewing your history, the practitioner will begin diagnosing your ailment. Depending on your condition, you may be subjected to an examination of the tongue, as well as an examination of the pulse a major diagnostic technique in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Using all the information obtained during the history and diagnosis, the practitioner will then determine the cause of your symptoms. Depending on the condition, needles will be inserted into specific acupuncture points on the body.

Does OHIP/Extended health insurance cover acupuncture?

OHIP unfortunately does not cover Acupuncture; however most extended health insurance benefits do cover acupuncture treatments. Please contact your provider to obtain details on the extent and conditions of coverage. 


How Does Cosmetic Acupuncture Work?

Cosmetic acupuncture also referred to as acupuncture face lift uses centuries old Chinese medical theory to restore and rejuvenate your skin from the inside out. A combination of acupuncture, herbal masks and tuina massage is used to increase blood circulation to the face promoting collagen production, increased muscle tone and tightening facial tissue for a healthy, glowing complexion.

What results can I expect from an Acupuncture face lift?
  • Increases circulation, therefore oxygenates the skin
  • Tightens and tones skin
  • Help minimize or eliminate fine lines;
  • Help reduce frown lines;
  • Help lift sagging skin, puffy or droopy eyelids;
  • Increase collagen production;
  • Improve muscle tone and dermal contraction;
  • Even facial complexion and tone
  • Soften scars
  • Because acupuncture works from the inside out, you not only look better but you feel better too.
What is the course of Treatment?

One course of the treatment is between 10-12 sessions, twice a week for 5-6 weeks. Each individual will respond differently to the treatment depending on their age and lifestyle. Visible results will be noticeable after 6 -7 sessions. Maintenance may be needed once every month.

What to expect during a cosmetic acupuncture treatment?

For the best results, a series of 10-12 sessions performed twice a week is recommended. Monthly maintenance sessions will prolong the results as will facial exercises, a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle. A treatment session will include the following:
·  Initial Assessment and Diagnosis
·  Cleanse and Exfoliate skin
·  Herbal Facial Mask
·  Medical and Cosmetic Acupuncture
·  Facial Tuina Massage (acupressure)

Note that each treatment will be tailored according to each individual’s constitution. Therefore the treatments will work externally on the skin condition and also internally to bring balance between the individual’s mind, body and spirit.

Duration of treatment ranges from an hour to an hour and a half.

What are the risks involved with Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Acupuncture face lift is a less invasive procedure then surgery and the risks and injuries are minimal. The risks of using acupuncture includes minor bruising. Treatment is not recommended for those that suffer from a bleeding disorder.

How long do results last?

Results last from 3 to 5 years. Note that maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet are essential to prolonging the effects of an acupuncture face lift.


What causes infertility and miscarriage?
There are several different causes behind infertility and miscarriage. For women, the natural decline of estrogen that occurs as we age affects egg quality and can be one reason for difficulty in conceiving. Hormonal imbalances causing irregular or absent periods and/or ovulation can also affect fertility. Often these imbalances are attributed to physical, emotional, or mental taxation on the body as well as improper nutrition. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Endometriosis are other factors that can affect a person’s ability to conceive and maintain a pregnancy. Finally, blockage in the Fallopian tubes due to conditions such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or chlamydia can prevent conception from occurring.

For males, there are also hormonal, physiological and structural factors for infertility as well which include low sperm count, poor sperm quality or shape due to aging, physical, mental, and/or environmental stressors, blocked vas deferens or epididymis from a varicocele or STD such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, as well as sperm allergies in one of the partners.

In some cases, there is unexplained infertility or both partners may have factors which may affect the ability to conceive.

What conditions can acupuncture and Chinese Medicine help?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine may be helpful in most of these conditions except for structural factors causing severe scarring or tubal blockage in which case, surgery or other measures may be required first before using acupuncture and herbal medicine to assist in healing of scar tissue and improve circulation to the local area.

How does acupuncture and Chinese Medicine help?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine work by balancing the body so that the body functions at its optimum. Western physiological studies have shown that acupuncture has a direct effect on the nervous system and can therefore help to reduce stress, regulate endocrine and therefore hormonal functioning, and improve blood circulation in the local area.
Can acupuncture be used in conjunction with western based therapies?
Yes, of course. Many patients use acupuncture in conjunction with other assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, ICSI, GIFT, ZIFT, and TET and studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly improve the chances of conceiving with these methods. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can also be used as a stand alone therapy for persons who opt for the least invasive (and least expensive!) treatment options first. This is a personal decision of the parents to be to decide based on their particular situation and beliefs.
What else can I do to improve my chances of success?
Do everything you can to enjoy this time. Whatever you do, be creative! The more fun you have, the less stress you and your partner will place on the situation and this single measure can significantly increase your chance of success. Also, make sure that you and your partner have eliminated all possible environmental factors (direct or indirect exposure to known carcinogens) that can further aggravate your condition. Talk to your doctor about healthy meal options (drink lots of herbal teas and consume lots of dark green, leafy vegetables, legumes, and fruits (preferably organic) with smaller amounts of meat/fish/dairy/breads. For easy delivery and exciting food recipes, consider subscribing to a food delivery service such as www.frontdoororganics.ca Exercise routines that not only work the body but the mind and spirit are also excellent in helping to regulate the proper functioning of the body. Consider a yoga, pilates, or tai chi and qigong routine to complement your regular workouts. Track your fertility cycles though natural methods. For more information on the Billings Method and Natural Fertility Awareness, please click here: www.woomb.org

You can also download free BBT charts and track your monthly cycle through www.mymonthlycycles.com

How long is the treatment course?
This will depend on your particular condition. Generally, chronic conditions will need at least 6 to 10 treatments on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to see noticeable results. It is also not uncommon for fertility treatment courses to last for several months before the body is primed for conception. Herbs may also be given in conjunction to promote healthy reproductive functioning. If you do not see any changes at all in your pattern in the first few months (3-6 months), you should ask your practitioner to re-evaluate your condition or consider seeking the advice of an alternate practitioner.
Why should both partners be treated?
Ideally, it is helpful for both partners to be treated especially if both partners may have factors which affect their fertility. Think about it: who wouldn’t want to increase their odds of success by 2?

The best time to start is at least 3 months prior to planned conception since it takes 100 days for new egg and sperm to mature and the quality of the egg and sperm is thus determined at this time

What if only one of us can come for treatment?
This can still improve your chances of a successful conception and pregnancy depending on the circumstances. These can be discussed with the practitioner.
How much does the treatment course cost?
Treatment cost will depend on how long the treatment course lasts. If no results are seen within 9 months, the practitioner may consider referring you to another specialist or offer a different treatment protocol.
What happens when we do conceive?
Should you conceive prior to the completion of a treatment course, you may keep the package and apply it towards future treatments (ie. Either during or following pregnancy).


What types of pregnancy-related concerns can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can be used to treat:

  • Nausea/ morning sickness and severe hyperemesis (vomiting)
  • Stress
  • Migraines
  • Heartburn
  • Back pain, Sciatica
  • Pubic and Hip pain
  • Joint pain
  • Breech presentation
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Surgical scarring
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Post partum depression
  • Lactation difficulties
  • Mastitis
  • Stretch marks
When can I begin treatment?
If you have never tried acupuncture before but would like to alleviate current symptoms, you can begin treatment right away. To optimize your body’s own potential for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, it is best to begin treatments a few months prior to conception and then again throughout your pregnancy as prescribed by your practitioner. Since acupuncture works by restoring proper circulation and energy flow, regulating the endocrine system (which controls hormone function) and reducing stress levels, it can help to make your experience of pregnancy and the birthing process as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
How often would I receive treatment?
This would depend on your particular condition. For acute symptoms, you may need to come on a daily basis until the symptoms subside.
For chronic conditions, we recommend at least one to two visits per week.
Are there any side effects of acupuncture for pregnancy?
Most patients find acupuncture to be very relaxing and often fall asleep during treatment! Acupuncture is very safe when done by a qualified practitioner. You should inform your practitioner if you are on any blood thinning medication, as acupuncture can promote blood circulation and thus increase your chances of bruising around the acupoints. For patients who have had previous miscarriages or complications in pregnancy or are currently experiencing a high risk pregnancy, it is necessary to inform the practitioner who will assess you and decide whether alternative modalities of treatment would be better for you.


What is Massage Therapy?
Massage Therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage therapy helps alleviate the soft tissue discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions. If employed early enough after accidents involving trauma and injury, massage therapy can greatly reduce the development of painful muscular patterning.

What is a Registered Massage Therapist?
A Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) is a regulated health care professional. RMT’s governing body in Ontario, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) sets Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Registered Massage Therapists are regulated under the Regulated Health Practitioners Act and the Massage Therapy Act. Massage Therapists have completed many hours of education at accredited schools and have extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, neurology, assessment, manual techniques and pathology.
What are the Benefits of Massage Therapy?
There are tremendous benefits to be achieved through regular massage therapy treatments from a Registered Massage Therapist. Whether your need is to have a moment of relaxation, reduce muscle tension or attain relief from chronic pain, a therapeutic massage can enhance your overall sense of emotional and physical well-being as well as your quality of life.

The following is a list of conditions for which massage therapy, when provided by a Registered Massage Therapist, can prove beneficial for:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Back, leg and neck pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Dislocations
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Headaches
  • Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and bursitis
  • Insomnia
  • Kyphosis and scoliosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Muscle tension and spasms
  • Post surgical rehabilitation
  • Pregnancy and labour support
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Stroke
Benefits of Massage Therapy During Pregnancy?
Studies support what more and more women are discovering about massage therapy during pregnancy – it has been shown to:

  • improve maternal mood
  • decrease depression and anxiety
  • decrease fatigue and insomnia
  • decrease swollen hands and feet
  • decrease pain and stiffness (low back, neck, shoulders, feet and legs)
  • decrease stress hormones in pregnant women (including those suffering from depression)
  • decrease obstetrical complications
  • improve neonatal health and development
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Fertility?
The preconception period can become an extremely stressful time for everyone involved, and one of the primary factors in fertility challenges is often a high stress level. Massage therapy is an excellent means of decreasing stress and anxiety.
What to expect during my first visit?
On the first visit you will complete a confidential health history as part of your assessment. This is important as the Massage Therapist needs to know if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications. The Massage Therapist will listen to your concerns, assess your individual needs as well as other factors that may be contributing to your injury (lifestyle, nutritional status, etc.). The Massage Therapist will then develop a treatment plan with you to ensure you receive appropriate treatment that will help you return, as much as possible, to your normal activities.
Most prenatal massages will be done in a side lying position with pillows supporting the legs and belly for comfort, this gives the massage therapist easy access to the back as well as the hips and legs. You will start on one side then turn to the other and end positioned on your back (only if you are comfortable) for a relaxing foot, and head and neck massage, as well if you are comfortable a belly massage to relax and sooth baby.
Do I need to undress?
No. Your comfort as a client is of the utmost importance to all Registered Massage Therapists, whether that is in the context of the clothing you wear or the treatment you receive. Massage Therapists can provide important treatment whether you elect to remove any, some, or all of your clothing. All RMTs are trained in proper draping procedures to ensure that your privacy is completely respected at all times during treatment. Your comfort and ability to relax is paramount to effective treatment.
Does OHIP/Extended health insurance cover Massage Therapy?
OHIP unfortunately does not cover Massage; however most extended health insurance benefits do cover massage treatments. Please contact your provider to obtain details on the extent and conditions of coverage.



How do I know when I need therapy?

Both psychotherapy and counselling can benefit any aspect of your life that you feel is unfulfilling. Throughout your sessions, you can unravel and understand how and why things came to be and make small steps towards change. If you find yourself having difficulty in dealing with your present life or stuck in a painful pattern of behavior of feeling, your past is very likely impacting you in ways that you are not yet able to recognize.

Why would I come to therapy if I’m not in a crisis?

Sometimes, it is most difficult to feel happy when things in our lives are seemingly at their best. We feel guilty for feeling dissatisfied and unable to appreciate our full lives. There is no requirement to be in crisis to participate in therapy, there is only the desire to be heard and understood.

What does a therapist actually do?

Primarily, a therapist helps to guide you along your way to self-understanding and appreciation. This could be compared to taking a trip, where you are the expert on yourself guiding the two of you through the interesting parts of your life you have not visited before or for a very long time.

The therapist aids to keep you safe along the way. The therapist will also keep you on track in your journey, and will notice features of your personal history that are worth appreciating. Through this time together you will have a better understanding of your life and its possibilities.

How does psychotherapy and counselling work?

Therapy is about the feeling of being heard and understood, which often not a common occurrence in our everyday life. In therapy, you get to speak freely in a safe and confidential setting in order to understand and know you. This special dialogue either in words or through art allow valuable changes to occur.

How many sessions does it take?

Therapy or counselling can either be short term or longer depending on the goals set by the patient and the therapist. Because you are unique, the time it takes to gain trust in the therapist and a sense a change in feelings or behaviours can vary. This is an open discussion between you and your therapist.