Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a therapeutic method that originated from
China and has been practiced for about 3000 years. It
involves inserting thin hair-like needles into selective
key points on the surface of the body, to encourage
natural healing, balance the body's vital energy,
relieve pain, cure disease, increase immunity and
improve function of the body.
2. How does acupuncture work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that illness
results from imbalances or blockages in a person's
energy meridians. The flow of energy is restored, when
acupuncture needles stimulate certain points within
those meridians. Acupuncture stimulates the body to
produce pain relieving chemicals called endorphins or
other naturally occurring chemicals and hormones that
affect mood, health and pain perception.
3. Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are extremely fine and disposable.
Most patients feel only minimal discomfort as the
needles are inserted, some feel no pain at all. Brief
needling sensations vary from pinching or stinging, to a
feeling of numbness or distension and are a sign that
treatment is having a positive effect. In fact, most
people find acupuncture treatments relaxing and
4. How many treatments will be required?
The number of treatments will vary with each individual
and the condition being treated. For acute problems,
only a few treatments may be required. For complex or
long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week
for several months may be recommended. For health
maintenance, once every two weeks or a month may be
5. Are there any side effects to the treatment?
Usually not. As energy is redirected in the body,
internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and
healing begins to take place. Occasionally the original
symptoms worsen for a few days. These shouldn't cause
concern as they are simply indications that the
acupuncture is starting to work.
6. What is cupping?
This method is where fire is introduced inside a glass
cup in order to release air to create a negative
pressure and then place the cup on the skin surface. It
is warm and open the blockage of meridians, in order to
circulate Qi and blood, to dispel cold-damp, to draw
toxins out. The cupping method is used to treat
obstruction syndromes, such as pain in the low back,
shoulders and legs, cough, asthma ....
7. What are Chinese herbs?
Chinese herbs are natural plant substances used to heal
and balance the body's Yin and Yang and invigorate Qi
and blood. Usually doctors put several herbs together to
make an herbal formula based on the patient's condition.
The most common method for taking herbal medicine, is
for a decoction like tea. However, there are also
powdered extracts for patients who do not have time to
make a tea. If acupuncture does not work well alone, a
combination of acupuncture and herbs may have better
Q: Who should you see for acupuncture?
A: See your registered acupuncturist (R.Ac.). Check
the CTCMA website for your qualified professional.
Registrants of the CTCMA (BC Ministry of Health) have
the highest standards of training in BC and Canada of
any medical professional employing acupuncture.