Is a TCM acupuncture treatment covered by my benefit plan?

Acupuncture is covered through most extended health care plans. Extended health care plans vary so please check your plan for coverage details. We now offer direct billing to patients covered by many insurance providers. A $23 rebate is available for Acupuncture for limited income patients on Premium Assistance (MSP).

I had acupuncture once before and it seemed to make my pain worse. How is this possible?

It is not uncommon that after an acupuncture treatment, conditions may be aggravated. This is part of the healing process. Everybody's body regulates and returns to homeostasis in their own way. Some individuals may feel better right away and may only require a couple of treatments, and for some their pain worsens before it begins to improve. This in itself is not a bad sign, it means that your condition is changing, but may require more than one treatment to obtain maximum results.

How much training to acupuncturists require?

Today, acupuncturists undertake three to five years of extensive and comprehensive graduate training at certified schools, as well as up to 2 years of university/college level pre-requisites to be accepted into the program. All acupuncturists must pass a national exam and meet strict guidelines to practice.

Can I receive acupuncture if I am pregnant?

Absolutely. In fact acupuncture can help alleviate a lot of pregnancy related complaints such as morning sickness, fatigue, haemorrhoids, constipation, as well as gently invigorate fetal movement to treat breach presentation, or induce labour. A liscenced acupuncturist will understand the limitations of practice during pregnancy and what acupuncture points to avoid at what times.

Does acupuncture hurt? Is it safe?

Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy, yielding almost no side effects if provided by a trained practitioner other than occasional mild bruising at site.  More serious side effects have been reported but are extremely rare. Acupuncture needles are sterile, used once, and then discarded. They are about the size of a human hair and it is said that almost 100 of them may fit inside a hypodermic needle. Some patients report feeling the little "prick" as the needle is inserted, some report a deeper sensation like an ache, tingling, heaviness, pulling, travelling, heat, cold. All of these sensations are transitory and will fade. If they don't your acupuncturist will happily adjust the needle for you so that you are able to relax during treatment. Some people do not feel anything at all. Most leave feeling relaxed and feeling good, full of endorphins after treatment.

What is cupping and how can it benefit me?

In a typical cupping session, a flammable substance is introduced inside glass cups using a cotton ball or other

to remove all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.  The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balance and realign the flow of qi, break up obstructions, and create an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body. This makes it an effective treatment for various aches and pains as well as colds & flus, or other respiratory complaints. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Sometimes medicated/massage oils are applied to the skin just before the cupping procedure, allowing cups to slide up and down particular acupoints or meridians after they have been applied. Cupping will often leave dark patches on the skin where the cups were retained that may last for a day or two and sometimes up to a couple of weeks, though they are not painful.

How many treatments will I need?


The number of treatments will vary from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief; others may take months or even years to achieve results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes.

Treatment frequency depends on a variety of factors: your constitution, the severity and duration of the problem and the quality and quantity of your Qi. An acupuncturist may suggest one or two treatments per week, or monthly visits for health maintenance and seasonal “tune ups”.

What can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Below are some of the health concerns that acupuncture can effectively treat:

Addiction, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, colitis, common cold, constipation, depression, diarrhea, digestive trouble, dizziness, dysentery, emotional problems, eye problems, facial palsy, fatigue, fertility, fibromyalgia, gingivitis, headache, hiccough, incontinence, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, low back pain, menopause, menstrual irregularities, migraine, morning sickness, nausea, osteoarthritis, pain, PMS, pneumonia, reproductive problems, rhinitis, sciatica, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), shoulder pain, sinusitis, sleep disturbances, smoking cessation sore throat, stress, tennis elbow, tonsillitis, tooth pain, trigeminal neuralgia, urinary tract infections, vomiting, wrist pain

How can I prepare for my acupuncture treatment?

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points. Cover sheets will be provided.

  • Please refrain from caffeine, alcohol, or drug use prior to treatment, but yes, please take your regular medications.

  • Eat smaller meals just before and after your visit. 

  • Drink plenty of room temperature or warmer water to flush out any toxins that may have been released in the system from treatment.

  • Refrain from overexertion, working out, drugs or alcohol for up to six hours after the visit.

  • You may feel sleepy/relaxed after treatment. If possible avoid stressful situations, make time to relax, and be sure to get plenty of rest.

  • Between visits, take notes of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of problems.