What is TCM Acupuncture?
Simply put, acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to heal or regulate itself.
By inserting single-use sterile, hair-fine needles in specific points, acupuncture can help balance, strengthen and unblock stagnant areas that may be causing pain and leading to illness.
Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been extensively studied and successfully used for centuries. Acupuncture coupled with herbal medicine are the primary aspects of TCM that have been advocated by the World Health Organization as reliable therapies for a multitude of conditions.
Clinically speaking, acupuncture works in several ways. As each needle passes through the skin's surface, the immune system is activated and blood flow (circulation) is increased to the needling site. Additionally, certain points stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals can control and alter many functions of our regulatory system.
For musculoskeletal injuries, greater circulation means faster healing. For pain management, acupuncture increases levels of adenosine (an inti-inflammatory and natural painkiller) in the damaged tissue. If you suffer from sleep disorders, depression or anxiety, acupuncture is proven to release dopamine and serotonin which are essential for mood stability and relaxation. For digestive issues, acupuncture can regulate gastrointestinal contractions and reduce lactic acid secretions. This scope of practice is quite limitless.
A visit with a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner includes a truly comprehensive look at wellness. We listen to your history, inquire about nutrition, sleep, digestion and stress. For each patient, we develop a customized treatment plan that may include cupping, heat therapy, as well as exercise and nutrition suggestions. At the heart of our work is a deeply trusting relationship with our patients, one that naturally allows the healing response to happen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it actually work?
Absolutely! There have been hundreds of studies and documentation over centuries to support efficacy of this medicine. As with all medicines, the body needs time to heal itself. Depending on your age, health and condition you may feel better right away or it could take weeks or months to fully recover. You will be given an estimated course of treatment on your initial visit.
Does it Hurt?
Hurt? NO. Feel weird? YES.
Most people are scared to try acupuncture due to their fears or dislike of needles. I mean, who really enjoys getting needled? But the neat thing about acupuncture is that it does not hurt. Different sensations like warmth, an ache or pressure may be felt, aka ‘Qi’, but it isn’t painful – just unfamiliar. The needles that we use are extremely thin – you can take 10 acupuncture needles and put it inside a hypodermic one. There is nothing to inject, the purpose is just to stimulate different areas in the body. To give you a clearer picture - they are just slightly bigger than a dog's whisker. The cosmetic needles are just slightly thicker than a hair. On occasion patients will note an itching, buzzing or the simple sensation that something is happening around the insertion site, however most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing.
What Can It Treat?
The World Health Organization has created a list of all the diseases and disorders that can be treated with acupuncture, proven through clinical trials. This is a BIG list so please click on the attachment.
What Should I Expect on my First Visit?
The initial consultation with an acupuncture treatment will last approximately 45 minutes. TCM takes a 'whole body' approach to health. This means that we will take into account your whole self, and not just your symptoms to address the root cause of your health concerns. We may be asking about your digestion, periods, moods, sleep patterns, etc to try and figure out the what ailment was the starting point of your issues. Once we've discovered a diagnosis, we can decide the best course of treatment for you. We then ask you to go onto the treatment table, we dim the lights, put on soft music, quickly insert the selected acupuncture points, and let you relax (or sleep) for 20-30 minutes. Follow up treatments also include a short consultation to address any changes, and the appointment time is also approximately 45 minutes.
As with all visits, it is important that you have had something to eat and drink prior to your appointment. It is also ideal to schedule on days where you will have some time to relax afterwards as treatments may temporarily leave you feeling fatigued.