Frequently Asked Questions – Acupuncture
- How does acupuncture work?
- Does acupuncture hurt?
- You offer so many services. How do I know what to choose?
- What can acupuncture help with?
- What happens during an acupuncture session?
- How long does a session take?
- I am afraid of needles, but I think I would like to try acupuncture. Will you help me?
- Are there any side effects or dangers associated with acupuncture?
- Are you licensed? Are you insured?
- Can I use my workplace benefits for acupuncture?
- How often do I need to come for treatment?
- How is laser acupuncture different?
- What is moxibustion?
- What is Tui Na and what is Chinese Cupping?
- Do you do cosmetic acupuncture?
- Do you offer stop-smoking programs or weight loss programs?
Does acupuncture hurt?
No, acupuncture doesn’t really hurt. There can be a slight pinch when the needle goes in, but it lasts no more than a few seconds and then you begin to feel wonderfully relaxed. If you are still nervous of acupuncture, please ask about alternative methods of acupuncture treatment like laser or Chinese cupping.
You offer so many services. How do I know what to choose?
Yes, I can offer many types of services because people are individuals. No one treatment works for everyone. We can talk on the phone or over email and decide if you want to try an acupuncture treatment. The intake process is the same for everyone. I have you fill out a questionnaire and we go over it together to decide what might be helpful for you, and to talk about your preferences. I will make suggestions and we decide together what options we are going to try. You will always have the choice to ask for different options or to decline any suggested method of treatment. I want to hear your feedback so we may adapt our strategies as we move through treatment together. My goal is to give you the most effective treatment I can, while moving at a pace that is comfortable for you.
What can acupuncture help with?
Acupuncture works with a long list of issues. Some of the main symptoms that can be relieved with acupuncture are; pain, inflammation, stress, and mobility problems, and since 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) has approved acupuncture to be an effective treatment for a long list of conditions including the following:
- Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, neck and back pain, sports injuries, sciatica, osteoarthritis, neuritis and facial pain, TMJ
- Digestive disorders: irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea and gastritis
- Menstrual and reproductive problems: dysmenorrhea and perimenopausal symptoms
- Urinary tract disorders: prostatitis and bladder dysfunction, sexual disfunction
- Respiratory problems: sinusitis, asthma, sore throat and recurrent respiratory tract infections
- Stress and psycho-emotional problems including anxiety and depression
For more information on acupuncture and to see the complete list of conditions studied by the WHO click here.
What happens during an acupuncture session?
At your first appointment I will ask you to fill out a questionnaire and we will go through it together to decide what we would like to work on. If you have not had acupuncture before I will begin with only a few basic points to see how your body reacts to the treatment.
At subsequent visits we will have a brief talk about how you are feeling, what symptoms you are experiencing and we will decide what we are going to work on for that day. I may ask you to remove some clothing so that I can access the points we need to work on. There will be a sheet to cover up with. Once you are settled on the treatment table I insert your needles, or use whatever other treatment options we have decided on.
I will then give you a few moments to rest while I make notes and I will return and offer Reiki for you for the duration of your treatment. The needles will stay in for approximately 20 minutes. The combination of acupuncture and Reiki is extremely relaxing and soothing and use of the two approaches help to get your energy flowing clearly. This brings the necessary energy, blood, oxygen and healing endorphins to the areas of your body that need healing.
How long does a session take?
Please allow 60 to 90 minutes for your first session, and about 45 minutes for follow-up sessions. If you are tight for time; say perhaps you are on your lunch hour, please let me know and I can get your session completed in 35 to 40 minutes.
I am afraid of needles, but I think I would like to try acupuncture. Will you help me?
Yes. Many people are nervous of needles. I was afraid of the needles when I began acupuncture treatments myself. The first thing you need to know is that an acupuncture needle is about 1/10th of the diameter of a regular hypodermic needle. They are almost as thin as a human hair. I use high quality needles for greater comfort, and if you like, you can come into the office and we will insert just one needle to see how you feel about it. Chances are you will be asking me, “Is it in yet?” If you don’t like it we can stop right there.
Are there any side effects or dangers associated with acupuncture?
You should be aware that there are some inherent risks involved with acupuncture. These are rare but may include minor bleeding or bruising, minor pain or soreness, nausea, fainting, infection, possible perforation of organs and stuck or bent needles.
These risks are further reduced with the proper training and procedures. My training includes several techniques for safe needling to reduce any possible risk to my clients. I am also trained in clean needle technique to minimize any risk of infection. I will not take any chances with your health. Riskier acupuncture points are simply not used as there are many safer alternatives. If you have any concerns, please discuss them with me. I will be happy to explain how I safeguard your health.
Are you licensed? Are you insured?
I am a Registered Acupuncturist with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario. I earned my diploma in Acupuncture in 2011 and I am also a Certified Acupuncture Health Practitioner registered with the Canadian Examining Board of Health Care Practitioners and I carry malpractice insurance.
Can I use my workplace benefits for acupuncture?
Yes, but it does depend on your insurance carrier. Please be sure to ask ahead of time if they will cover an acupuncturist with the qualifications listed above. Some insurance carriers will cover any acupuncturist and some will only cover acupuncture if the practitioner is a Registered Naturopathic Doctor. Be sure to check before you come for treatment.
How often do I need to come for treatment?
Although each person is different however, I usually suggest that you come twice in the first week of treatment, and at least once the next week. We can begin to taper the visits off depending on how well you respond. At least 3 to5 sessions are needed for most conditions.
Some people experience relief after the first treatment and others need to come back weekly or more, for 4 to 6 weeks. Some conditions, such as seasonal allergies, would benefit if the person comes back at least once every 2 to 3 months for a “tune-up” treatment.
These are general guidelines of course. Stubborn issues might require more frequent visits or a longer duration of treatment and other conditions might improve after only 1 or 2 sessions.
How is laser acupuncture different?
Laser acupuncture works on the same principles as regular acupuncture, but may take slightly longer to produce the same results. Also, with laser acupuncture, the practitioner can stimulate only one point at a time, so this may slow down progress. It is painless and a complete session may be done with only laser.
The laser used is a “cold” laser, so there is no tissue damage, burning or cutting as there is with a “hot” laser. The “hot” laser would be the kind of laser that is used in surgeries, tattoo removals, etc.
I often use laser therapy in conjunction with needles on sore joints and muscles. Clients report that their joints feel “looser” after use of the laser.
Another useful practice with the laser acupuncture device involves using auricular points for addictions and craving control while trying to stop smoking and for weight loss. Auricular points are points located in the ear. Clients who have tried this kind of session have found that the laser/acupuncture session helps them to control their cravings for several days after the session. Be sure to contact Bonnie if you are interested in a craving reduction program.
What is moxibustion?
Moxibustion is the process of burning herbs (usually mugwort) on a needle or directly on the skin (direct moxibustion) or near the skin(indirect moxibustion). This is done on selected acupuncture points to warm the meridians and stimulate the acupuncture points. This is particularly useful for ailments like colds, flus and achy, sore muscles and it is quite comforting to have the warm moxa stick moving over your body. The skin is not burned in the process, just warmed. This is another option for those who are afraid or intolerant of needles. Similar to laser acupuncture, if moxibustion only is used, results may take slightly longer.
I only perform indirect moxibustion in my clinic.
What is Tui Na and what is Chinese Cupping?
Please read more about these two therapies here.
Do you do cosmetic acupuncture?
Yes. Please read more about cosmetic acupuncture here.
Do you offer stop-smoking programs or weight loss programs?
Yes, please read more about craving control programs here.