Frequently Asked Questions
See answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin sterile needles into the skin to stimulate acupuncture points and Qi (energy) in the body in order to correct imbalances and produce a therapeutic effect. It is commonly used for pain relief and weight management, and for treating nausea, sleep disorders, menstrual, and fertility issues.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The needles used in acupuncture are several times thinner than the typical hypodermic (syringe) needle, and usually feels like a slight pinch when inserted quickly into the body, so patients do not normally feel much pain. Once the needles are inserted, your practitioner may rotate the needle slightly to increase the therapeutic effect, resulting in a dull, numbing sensation near the insertion point.
Is acupuncture safe?
The needles used in acupuncture are sterile and are for one-time use only. The risk of infection is minimal when procedures are performed by a licensed acupuncturist.
Precautions for acupuncture
We recommend that patients do not begin treatment right after a meal, and wait at least 30 minutes after a meal before receiving an acupuncture treatment. Also, on the day after an acupuncture treatment, patients should avoid alcohol or spicy foods, as this helps to disperse the Qi (energy) within the body and will counteract the effects of the treatment.
How many acupuncture treatments do I need?
The amount of treatment sessions needed varies between conditions and individuals. Many patients feel noticeable improvement in their symptoms after 2-6 treatments, while some conditions (such as symptoms associated with diabetes) may require a longer treatment plan. Since the needles stimulate the body to produce its own therapeutic effects, lifestyle choices will also influence the body’s own healing process.
What can herbal medicine do for me?
A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis will attempt to identify the imbalances within the body in terms of several dimensions (exterior/interior, heat/cold, deficiency/excess, yin/yang) based on symptoms that you describe and other information that the practitioner elicits from you. Consequently, your practitioner will prescribe a Chinese herbal medicine formula that usually consists of one or more herbs, which will work in conjunction to correct these imbalances, resulting in the improvement of symptoms.
Do herbs taste bad?
Some patients will report that herbs have an unpleasant taste. Please keep in mind that the herbs are designed to correct imbalances in your body, so try to not focus on the taste. Most herbs consist of naturally occurring plant and animal parts (bark, root, flowers, oyster shells, etc), so they would not have the same satisfying flavour of modern processed foods. It will help if you consume the herbal teas quickly while they are warm, and not too hot.
If I am on a vegan diet or have food allergies can I still take herbs?
While some herbs consist of animal parts, such as oyster shell, bone, etc, most of these can be substituted with one or more plant alternatives. If you have any diet restrictions or food allergies please let you practitioner know.