What is acupuncture?

We provide acupuncture as part of treatment for a number of conditions and injuries.

Acupuncture, or anatomical acupuncture, combines the classical acupuncture practiced in Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western medicine by incorporating an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. Acupuncture allows therapists to treat medical conditions efficiently and effectively.

What does acupuncture do?

Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce and release its own pain-relieving chemicals called “endorphins”. Endorphins block pain signals at the spine stopping the transmission of messages from the body to the brain. By blocking these signals, the body is able to regain its biochemical balance within its internal regulating system, relieve pain, enhance relaxation, and optimize natural healing abilities.

What are the overall benefits?

Acupuncture is effective in treating both acute and chronic pain disorders by encouraging natural healing; improving mood, energy, and sleep; decreasing pain and inflammation; and improving overall function of the injured area.

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?

There are a myriad of conditions that acupuncture effectively treats including, but not limited to:

  • neurological and muscular disorders, such as sciatica, neck and back pain, headaches, migraines, tendinitis, ankle sprains, rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, De Quervain’s syndrome, neuralgia, temporomandibular joint disorders, piriformis syndrome, whiplash associated disorders
  • mood and sleep disorders including stress, anxiety, panic, and/or depression
  • acute pain and inflammation
  • chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, degenerative disc disease, cancer (for symptom control ie. pain, nausea)
  • menstrual disorders including PMS and post-menopausal syndrome

How do I prepare for my treatment?

A medical referral is not required to schedule an acupuncture treatment, unless your insurance company requires it for reimbursement of fees. Before your treatment, be sure to eat a small meal and be well rested. Do not drink alcohol, or take tranquilizers or barbituates for four hours prior to treatment. Refrain from smoking tobacco for one hour prior to treatment. Please continue to take any other medications as prescribed by your doctor.


Your therapist will conduct a thorough assessment to determine if acupuncture is medically appropriate for you. Appointments are normally 40 minutes and can either be scheduled as acupuncture only, or combined with physiotherapy, as appropriate. The number of treatments required will vary with each person and condition. Frequency of treatment is often dependant on severity of the condition. It is important to note: response to treatment is variable. For instance, some individuals may obtain immediate relief, while others may feel improvement after a few hours or days. Some people require a few treatments before they notice a difference, while others do not respond at all. By the sixth treatment, you should start to notice improvement.

Practitioners that do acupuncture

What should I do after my treatment?

When you return home, rest for two hours if possible. Avoid strenuous activity for two days following treatment, even if you are not experiencing pain. Continue to take any medications as prescribed by your physician. Please do not consume alcohol or caffeine for two hours and refrain from smoking tobacco for one hour.

History of acupuncture

Thousands of years ago in ancient China, classical acupuncture was developed as a therapy used to improve the body’s overall function by encouraging natural healing of the tissues, reducing pain and inflammation, and restoring physiological balance. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that in order for the body to function optimally, the flow of the body’s energy, called Qi (“chee”) and blood must be balanced. Any imbalances greatly affect not only the physical self, but also a person’s mental, emotional, and spiritual state. This disruption is believed to result in an increase of symptoms and disease.
Acupuncture involves inserting and manipulating fine needles into the skin at specific points on the body to correct imbalances in the body’s flow of blood and Qi. These points are located along channels, called meridians, which contain Qi and blood.

Key References

The Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute Website. Accessed at:
http://www.afcinstitute.com/AboutAcupuncture/Conditionsitcanhelp/tabid/75/Default.aspx, http://www.afcinstitute.com/AboutAcupuncture/WhatisAcupuncture/tabid/73/Default.aspx, http://www.afcinstitute.com/AboutAcupuncture/HowAcupunctureWorks/tabid/74/Default.aspx, http://www.afcinstitute.com/AboutAcupuncture/Conditionsitcanhelp/tabid/75/Default.aspx, on March 22, 2014.
The Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute. (2011). The AFCI Certificate of Anatomical Acupuncture Program Manual, AA1: 6th Edition. pp 10, 13, 20.
Chon, T.Y. & Lee, M.C. (2013). Acupuncture: Concise Review for Clinicians. Mayo Clin Proc.; 88(10):1141-1146.