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What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a scientifically proven treatment technique that helps to reduce or relieve pain, encourage healing, and improve overall healthy function of the body. It has been used for hundreds of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but it has recently gained popularity in Western Medicine as well. The practice involves inserting very fine needles into targeted anatomical sites with, or without the use of a light electric current.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture encourages the body to release endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body’s own pain relieving chemicals, which block pain messages from the body to the brain. As a result, the patient experiences pain relief and general relaxation.

How are acupuncturists trained?

There is currently no standard training required to perform acupuncture, however many Ontario colleges offer acupuncture programs as a post-graduate study. These colleges, including the McMaster Medical Acupuncture Program and the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute, regulate the use of acupuncture in every profession.

AIM Health Group clinics offer acupuncture services from certified acupuncturists only.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Most people feel only minimal discomfort when the needles are inserted. Some people feel nothing at all. Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort at all.

What is acupuncture used for?

Acupuncture is very effective for treating many neuromuscular disorders and painful musculoskeletal conditions, including:

  • Headaches
  • Neck Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Muscle Strains
  • Ligament Sprains
  • Temporomandibular Joint

Does acupuncture have any risks or side effects?

Acupuncture has few risks or side effects. AIM Health Group clinics use disposable needles to prevent any risk of infection or disease transmission. Acupuncture is a safe, low-risk therapy, however women who are pregnant and people with Hemophilia should be treated with caution.

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

No. Acupuncture creates a physical response in the body. In fact, studies show that 80-90% of people who try acupuncture have some degree of pain relief. It is worth note, however, that a positive attitude towards wellness may reinforce the effects of any treatment.

How many acupuncture treatments will I need?

The number of acupuncture treatments required in order to find optimal relief varies from person to person. While some patients find relief after just one session, those with chronic or complex conditions may require several weeks of treatment. Sessions usually last 15-20 minutes, and relief my come immediately or within a few hours or days.

Is there anything I should do before or after my acupuncture treatment?

It is best to avoid consuming alcohol or sedatives for four hours prior to treatment. Patients should also make sure they have eaten before they come in for their session.

After the treatment, it is best to avoid strong exercise, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes for at least two hours.

Who pays for my acupuncture treatment?

Unfortunately, OHIP does not cover acupuncture at this time. Most private health plans cover acupuncture to treat work-related or motor vehicle accident injury, however.