Traditional Chinese medicine views acupuncture as the balancing of energy within the body. Western medicine thinks of it more as stimulating muscles, nerves, and connective tissue to promote blood flow. Either way, it’s an effective treatment for many common conditions.

What is acupuncture?

acupuncture hamiltonAcupuncture is the stimulation of specific points in the body to stimulate blood flow and encourage natural pain relief.

Traditionally, acupuncture points are stimulated by long, thin needles inserted through the skin. Modern acupuncture techniques include the use of lasers and TENS machines.

What is clean needle technique?

Clean needle technique is a specific set of practices designed to prevent the spread of infection during acupuncture. It was particularly important when needles were re-used. Today, single-use acupuncture needles ensure complete hygiene.

What is an acupuncturist?

An acupuncturist is a trained practitioner licensed and regulated by the province.

Acupuncturists study pathways in the body, called meridians, and how they affect various muscles, tendons, joints, and tissues. They then learn to identify and stimulate specific points along these meridians in order to relieve pain and promote the body’s natural healing.

In Ontario, acupuncturists must be registered with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO). In order to get and keep their registration, acupuncturists must meet strict educational, examination, and professional practice standards.

What conditions can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can treat just about any condition — physical or mental, chronic or acute.

Common uses of acupuncture are to:

  • relieve pain (acute and chronic)
  • prevent illness (common cold, flu)
  • regulate body functions (digestion, menstruation)
  • control weight or cure addiction (especially smoking)
  • treat or manage numerous medical conditions

Conditions treated or managed with acupuncture include:

  • chronic pain
  • sports injuries
  • workplace injuries
  • car accident injuries
  • headaches and migraines
  • nausea, indigestion, gas, bloating, cramps
  • musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions
  • high blood pressure and irregular heart beat
  • PMS, menstrual pain, irregular periods, menopause
  • asthma, allergies, cold, flu, bladder and kidney infections
  • anxiety, depression, insomnia, diet, fibromyalgia, addiction, stress

To discuss how acupuncture can help treat your condition, book a consultation with our acupuncturist.

What are the benefits of acupuncture treatment?

There’s a reason acupuncture has been around for over 2000 years.

Some of the reasons it’s so beneficial are:

  • It treats a wide array of conditions.
  • It promotes natural healing and pain relief.
  • It improves energy and biochemical balance.
  • It helps regulate systems throughout the body.
  • It increases physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

For more insight into how acupuncture can help you, talk to our acupuncturist.

Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

Acupuncture is not covered by provincial health insurance (OHIP), but many extended health plans now include it.

As a full-service clinic, Main Street Health can help you submit your insurance claim . We also have Qualified Partner status with several insurance companies for simpler approvals, claims, and reimbursements. Ask our staff for more information.

Other Common Questions

Does acupuncture hurt?

Most people find acupuncture comfortable or even relaxing. The needles are hair-thin, so it’s unlikely that you’ll even feel them. Sometimes, you’ll get a twinge or slight ache when the needle hits the proper depth. You may also experience slight soreness at the needle site immediately after a treatment. Overall, though, acupuncture is relatively painless.

Are acupuncture needles safe?

Yes. Acupuncture is generally considered safe. With the advent of single-use needles, there is virtually no risk of infection from acupuncture. Maximum safety comes from working with a trained, certified acupuncturist.

Acupuncture might not be safe if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners. TENS acupuncture should not be used if you have a pacemaker. Some acupuncture points may cause premature labour if you’re pregnant. Your acupuncturist should conduct a complete medical history to ensure treatment is safe and appropriate.

Are there any side effects to acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncture side effects are relatively few and fairly minor. Most commonly, they include bruising, bleeding, and/or soreness at the needle site. These effects usually subside in a day or so.

Other, less common side effects of acupuncture include crying, fatigue, and light-headedness. Let your acupuncturist know if you experience anything uncomfortable or abnormal during or after your treatment.

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