What is community acupuncture?

There are three main components that distinguish community acupuncture from other clinics:
  • Acupuncture treatments are done in a group setting with multiple patients lying in a room together
  • The rate for a treatment is a sliding scale, whatever the patient feels he or she can afford
  • Acupuncture points are mainly done on the lower legs, arms and head so the patient can stay fully clothed

For more information about community acupuncture, check out this amazing documentary:


Your First Visit~

Generally, your first visit is longer than your follow-up visits and will consist of many questions. The initial questioning is a very important even though many of the questions may seem entirely irrelevant to your condition. The answers you provide to the questions, along with other basic diagnostic tools such as looking at your tongue and feeling your pulse allow the acupuncturist to tailor the treatment specifically to you. This individualization of the treatments is one of the strong points of oriental medicine. It is why people may experience broad changes within themselves after receiving acupuncture for a specific complaint. It also means that the treatments can be modified over time if needed.

Your Diagnosis and Treatment~

After the initial questioning and the checking of your pulse and tongue, your practitioner will form a diagnosis, treatment plan and begin the acupuncture treatment. In most cases, the initial treatment is fairly conservative to ensure that you are comfortable and to allow your acupuncturist to see how you respond to acupuncture. Based on your diagnosis, the initial treatment consists of 3 - 10 or more acupuncture points. Your acupuncturist will describe the treatment and his/her intent with the points. After the treatment it is common for an acupuncturist to offer a basic treatment plan. They are also likely to offer various beneficial lifestyle changes which may help to improve your overall condition. This may include dietary changes, exercise, meditation, etc.

What are the needles like?

The needles used within acupuncture are both sterile and extremely thin. The most commonly used needle is a 25 mm (1 inch) .25 mm width needle. Generally, they are inserted about 1-3 mm into the body.

What will I feel?

The sensation you will feel when being needled is generally fairly minimal. In some styles you will feel almost nothing, while in others the needle will be rotated slightly until you feel a heavy or distended feeling indicating the arrival of Qi.

How long will the treatment last?

After the needles are inserted you are usually left to rest for a period of 10 - 45 minutes. Most people feel fairly relaxed during this period and many simply fall asleep.

What other techniques may be part of my treatment?

Acupuncture is simply one facet of oriental medicine. Within your treatment various adjunctive techniques may be utilized depending on your condition including:

Cupping - This involves the use of glass or plastic cups which are placed on the body with suction to help remove toxins and muscle tension.

Moxibustion - This involves the burning of the herb, Artemesia Vulgaris or Ai Ye, either on the top of a needle or on the skin directly.

Tuina - This is essentially massage that is targeted towards the meridians and acupuncture points. It is used for a wide variety of conditions.

Ear Seeds – These are small seeds from the Vaccaria plant. These seeds are held in place on the ear with a small piece of adhesive tape.

Electro-acupuncture - The acupuncture needles are stimulated with an electric charge delivered from a machine.

Why should you see an Acupuncturist?

Acupuncture is a safe and effective holistic medicine backed by more than two thousand years of practice and research. It is practised worldwide both as a primary and adjunctive treatment for a wide range of conditions. There are standard treatment protocols for many conditions with a wide range of diagnostic signs and symptoms which are taken into effect when looking at an imbalance. This range of diagnostic information allows acupuncturists to develop a treatment strategy that is unique to each patient and their experience of a
particular condition.

What is acupuncture good for?

People may see an acupuncturist for a variety of conditions, from indigestion to shoulder pain. Some of the more commonly treated conditions are:
  • Psychologically related conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia
  • Digestive problems such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, etc.
  • Menstrual issues such as PMS, amenorrhea, irregular menstruation, etc.
  • Overall low energy and fatigue
  • Pain anywhere in the body including headaches, migraines, sciatica, and injury

Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of:

  • Arthritis
  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Muscle Cramping
  • Sciatica

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion

  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Menopausal Symptoms
  • Infertility

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Neurosis

  • Cataracts
  • Poor Vision
  • Toothache
  • Gingivitis
  • Tinnitus
  • Asthma, Bronchitis
  • Common Cold, Sinusitis
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Tonsilitis

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Operative Pain
  • Stroke

  • Addiction Control
  • Athletic Performance
  • Blood Pressure Regulation
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Immune System Toning
  • Stress Reduction

How does acupuncture work?

This video is a great visual aid to answer a huge question:

Can I get reimbursed by MSP?

If you are covered by Premium Assistance through MSP, then yes. MSP pays for 10 treatments of acupuncture per year at $23 per visit. Please remember that these 10 visits include massage therapy, chiropractor, and physiotherapy as well. You can fill out your claims form and bring it into the clinic for your acupuncturist to sign for reimbursement, as we do not bill directly for you. Please contact MSP to see if you qualify for Premium Assistance.

Can I get reimbursed by my extended health plan?

Yes. Just keep your receipt and submit to your provider for reimbursement. Remember, all extended health plans are different, so check out your plan to see what kind of coverage you have for acupuncture. All of our acupuncturists are registered with the CTCMA of BC, the regulating body of acupuncturists in BC.