What kinds of diseases can be treated by acupuncture?
The following conditions have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as treatable by acupuncture:
Anxiety and Depression
Arthritis and Joint problems
Bladder and Kidney Problems
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Constipation and Diarrhea
Cough and Bronchitis
High Blood Pressure
Immune System Deficiency
Neck and Shoulder Problems
PMS and Menstrual Cramps
Radiotherapy Side Effects
Many more conditions and diseases can be treated or cured by the Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture (the insertion of very fine needles to promote the flow of energy within the body) is a balancing technique purported to restore the body to optimal health.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The sensation experienced by the patient with acupuncture is largely subjective and may be quite variable. Needling sensation is not painful, but it is a dull, bursting or numb feeling around the site of the inserted needle. Occasionally sensations may travel up and down the channel on which the acupuncture point is situated; for example, the stimulation of an acupuncture point on the left leg may precipitate a strange warm or numb sensation in the right shoulder.
Acupuncture needling sensation is probably best defined by some patient's statement: "When needling sensation is experienced, the needle no longer feels like a needle!"
How long does an acupuncture treatment take? How many visits are required?
What is the patient's typical response to treatment? Each treatment takes about an hour. Acupuncture is usually given in a series of treatments. Since each person is unique, the number of treatments will vary. The determining factors include the type of conditions, whether the conditions is chronic or acute, and the individual response to the treatment.
It is almost impossible to predict how a patient will respond to acupuncture. Very occasionally, one treatment is all that is required, whereas other people may need a number of treatments to gain the same result for the same disease. In general most people, and their problems, do not respond magically to one treatment, and between 5 and 10 treatment sessions may be required in order to obtain the best results from acupuncture.
Acupuncture usually works in stages. The first 2 or 3 treatments represent a process of "understanding the needs of the patient", and are therefore a sort of experiment designed to assess the specific requirements for that person in that particular condition. Some people respond to classical body or ear acupuncture, whereas others respond better to acupuncture with electricity or moxibustion. This partially reflects the skill of the acupuncturist in the use of specific techniques, but it also represents the fact that the body responds in a slightly different way to different stimuli.
If there has been no response to treatment after the first 5 sessions, then it is doubtful whether any response will occur. However, sometimes improvement may be very delayed and symptoms may not clear until the treatment ceased. Occasionally patients who have been abandoned, with no improvement after three weeks, will suddenly find improvement some weeks after cessation of acupuncture.
Although in China acupuncture is given daily, acupuncturists in the West tend to treat people on a weekly basis. After 10 years of practice in the West, we notice that the best plan is twice treatments in the first 2 weeks then followed by weekly basis.
Many clinical reports claim that acupuncture can have a curative effect in the treatment of conditions like acute injuries, but there is no evidence to support that acupuncture can reverse the damaged structure, like osteoarthritis, to normal. Although majority of patients get a long-term relief of the symptoms after acupuncture, it doesn't mean that their bodies have already gone back to normal, the problems they suffered before will possible recur later on. The traditional Chinese approach is to attempt to maintain the patient in a state of health, and regular one-monthly treatment patterns for those who with chronic problems, like osteoarthritis, may therefore be justified. However, for most people who with non-chronic conditions, we usually treat them when symptoms recur.
Sometimes the patient may experience a temporary worsening of symptoms due to acupuncture; this response to treatment and in general is a good sign, usually only lasting for a day or two and being followed by improvement.
After an initial evaluation the acupuncturist should provide you with a treatment plan that includes the modalities to be used as well as the frequency and duration of treatment.
How much do you charge for the treatment?
Initial Consultation and Assessment
plus 1-2 other therapeutic techniques, if necessary
$60 (for 60 minute session)
Chinese Herbs: $11 per 2 day pack
Does my insurance plan cover the treatment?
Acupuncture is been accepted by most of insurance companies like MSP (for low incomes), WCB, ICBC, DVA and many extended health benefit plans. Patients who have coverage can reimburse all or part of the treatment fees. Fees also can be deducted from personal income tax under the medical expenses section.
Canceling or Rescheduling
If you are unable to keep your appointment, please provide at least 24 hours notice.
What kinds of needles are used? Is acupuncture safe?
Extremely fine stainless steel needles are used. To avoid the risk of transmission of contagious disease, all needles are pre-sterilized and pre-packaged by the manufacturer, and disposable after being used.
Unlike injection, there is no medicine on the acupuncture needles. The acupuncture aims to stimulate one's own internal healing power, it is unlikely to cause any side effects as the medication. Therefore, it is a particularly safe form of therapy.
Many people, when learning acupuncture, are very worried about the fact that needles may penetrate nerves or organs to cause paralyze and serious damage. However, this possibility is very little because a well qualified acupuncturist has good knowledge of anatomy and good needling technique to avoid this potential hazard. Occasionally a small amount of bleeding at the site of needled insertion does occur, then a small local bruise can result, but these are not dangerous and never been reported as adverse reactions. The use of an electro-acupuncture is contraindicated if the patient has a cardiac pacemaker, because it may either switch off the pacemaker or drive it at a dangerous rate.
In conclusion, acupuncture is a very safe procedure, providing the practitioner has well training and experience. Over the last 25 years of practice, we have never seen any damage caused by acupuncture. All the serious acupuncture adverse reactions reported by the literature are due to inadequate training, thoughtlessness or incompetence of the practitioners. For the safety of the general public, the College of TCM and Acupuncture of B.C. advises you to seek out a licensed registrant. To find out a licensed registrant in your city, you can go to or call the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia (CTCMA) at (604) 638-3108.
What is the difference between a bulging disk and a herniated disk?
Disks act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. They're composed of an outer layer of tough cartilage that surrounds softer cartilage in the center. It may help to think of them as miniature jelly doughnuts, exactly the right size to fit between your vertebrae.
A bulging disk extends outside the space it should normally occupy. The bulge typically affects a large portion of the disk, so it may look a little like a hamburger that's too big for its bun. The part of the disk that's bulging is typically the tough outer layer of cartilage. Bulging usually is considered part of the normal aging process of the disk.
A herniated disk, on the other hand, results when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disk. Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks.
Bulging disks are more common and usually cause no pain. Herniated disks are more likely to cause pain, but some cause no pain whatsoever.
I have a pack of dry herbs. How do I prepare it?
The following are the instructions of tea preparation:
Place herbs into a glass pot with 4-5 cups of water and let soak for about 10 minutes until all herbs have absorbed some water.
Boil with the lid on the pot for about 1 hour stirring a few times while reducing the liquid to approximately 1 cup. Use a pot that has a small hole in the lid or place the lid so that some vapor will escape.
Strain liquid into a smaller dish then add 2-3 cups of water to the herbs and boil again until there is 1 cup remain. It takes about 45 minutes.
Strain liquid and mix the two strained portions together. Divide this in two and this will provide 2 days of drinking tea.
The tea may taste bitter but if you stick to the guidelines given to you, you will notice improvement. Remember this is not a quick fix like taking a pill but rather a cleansing or supporting of the internal organs.
What are the key differences between T.C.M. and Western Medicine?
No. 1. Difference in perspective
As an analogy, Western healing would say this picture is of a vase whereas TCM would argue that it is a representation of two faces. Neither is wrong, they are just different approaches to achieve the same outcome.
No. 2 Difference in classification
The western doctor observes the facts before him and uses the current physiological theories to explain them.
It separates the various systems and organs of the body and delves deeper and deeper into the particles that comprise matter.
Chinese medicine views the body and further, the whole person, as a unified organic whole. Spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects are all seen as interrelated and interdependent. This perhaps explains why some people see Chinese Medicine as a "holistic therapy".
TCM consider the human being as a part of the universe and the nature. Anything happens in the nature could affect the function of our body. It also understands the physical and pathological biology of the body from outside, not from the inside. The body functions are all summarized into Yin and Yang in principle and into five-element in practice, e.g. based on functional links, not as analytical (structural) links. Therefore TCM is to make complex things simple by summarizing co-related things together, while Western medicine makes things simple by isolating a given factor from various complex other co-related things. It may work for non-alive things, but quite often it is not a good way to understand complex biological lives. This is why the conclusion made by such analytical way is hardly reproduced in complex human body.
No.3 Difference in Theory
No. 4 Difference in Diagnosis & Treatment
Pros & Con
Since it can directly and quickly remove the cause of the disease, if the cause of disease is clear, it will be effective. It is suitable for the acute and seriously ill rescue.
(1) Since it targets the pathogenic of the disease, it often derived from other systems (such as taking anti-inflammatory for arthritis disease, but it causes gastrointestinal, liver and kidney damage), especially patients require long-term medication for chronic disease, the dangers of side effects is more remarkable.
(2) If the cause of the disease can’t be found, it helpless.
Suitable for patients with chronic functional problems, especially for those that Western medicine can’t find the cause, but there are uncomfortable symptoms.By correcting organ dysfunction, TCM may prevent severe diseases before they are detectable by Western medicine. Compare to Western medicine, TCM, particularly acupuncture, has few and less severe side effects.
Because focus on stimulating healing power rather than target specific diseases, its effect is different individually, and sometimes take longer time to manifest. So for acute or severe diseases, conventional medicine is still recommended as first line treatment
In spite of their radically different philosophical assumptions, it is wiser to look upon Chinese and Western medical systems as mutually beneficial rather than exclusive. Each approach has ideas and therapeutic methods that can be explained both scientifically and philosophically, each can benefit the individual and together they can broaden the philosophical and ideological bases of medicine.
To summarize, Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been viewed as two distinct and divergent medicines. Their approaches to physiology and healing appear quite different in terms of perspective.
For example, the picture will have two ways to make a classification.
Western medicine's view is that we should put the cow and chicken in the same group and the grass into another, since cow and chicken both belong to "animal" but grass belongs to "plant". That is scientific classification system.
TCM will have different way. We can put the cow and grass into one group and the chicken into another. This is because the cow and grass are in the same biological link. If in a year the cow grows well, we can make a conclusion that the grass in that year must also grow well, vice versa. We cannot make such prediction whether the chicken in that year grow well or not.
For conventional means, they use modern pathology, physiology, microbiology and pharmacology to study human diseases. Its research process from macro to micro (start from system, now develop to DNA molecular). Although its history is not long, the theory updates very quickly.
Use the theory of Yin and Yang and Five elements to human body. When the entire system is in balance, optimal health occurs. Disease occurs when there are obstructions to the flow of Qi, deficient or excessive Qi, or when there is an imbalance of Yin and Yang.
Despite the long history, but the basic theory is almost unchanging. There is unfortunately still not enough evidence-based medicine in TCM as there is in conventional medicine
In addition to history taking and physical examination, also by means of a large number of modern scientific instruments to check on the human body (such as blood tests, urine, stool, X-rays, isotopes or computer imaging, ultrasound and other organs function to check). Doctors make diagnosis until all evidences were collected. It is an Evident Based Medicine.
Treatment: Treatment directly target to the pathogen or etiology. For example, with chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, antibiotics kill bacteria, immunosuppressants to control autoimmune diseases, or surgery to remove the lesion tissue.
TCM doctors make diagnosis by analyzing patient’s tongue, pulse, and whole body situation (reaction, hair, posture etc) during history taking and physical exam. Diagnosis base on symptoms related to the imbalance of Yin/Yang rather than diseases itself.
This is a holistic therapy by boosting your own healing power to heal yourself. Patients with the same disease may have different Yin/Yang imbalance, their treatment may be different even tough having same disease. On the other hands, different diseases may use the same method of treatment if they have similar Yin/Yang imbalance