Frequently Asked Questions


Many factors influence the rate and extent to which a condition will improve with a course of acupuncture treatments. The main consideration is the duration which one has had the condition. A recent injury or medical condition will improve relatively quickly as compared to one that has become chronic and lingering over several years.

Other factors that influence the rate of improvement include:

    • the presence of any other medical conditions

    • lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and sleep

    • family history

    • complications due to prescription medication

In general, one should expect to see some improvement within 4-6 treatments, and in some cases, immediately after the first treatment. In many cases a modest rate of improvement in the range of 5-10% with each treatment is a more realistic expectation.

The rate and extent of improvement can be difficult to predict as a person may see no improvement after several treatments, but then experience a sudden dramatic improvement even several months into the treatment course.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of ultra-thin stainless steel needles into specific points on the body. These points have been identified as having special healing properties when stimulated and have been mapped out along the course of subtle energy channels that run just under the surface of the skin.

According to the traditional medical systems of Asia, illness arises as a result of blockages that begin within these subtle energy channels. Stimulating acupuncture points will produce energetic change along the course of their respective acupuncture channels, stimulating blood flow to targeted organs and regions of the body and awakening the body’s own mechanisms for self-healing.

Modern MRI studies have shown that stimulating acupuncture points with needles brings about changes in blood flow to certain parts of the brain. For example, needling a point on the small toe, a point which traditionally has been used to treat eye diseases, will result in a change in blood flow to the part of the brain that governs vision.

The theory that subtle channels of energy run along the surface of the body and communicate with the brain, nervous system, internal organs, muscles and connective tissues forms the basis for virtually all the medical practices arising in Asia over the past five thousands of years. Acupuncture was developed, refined and tested scientifically in the East by hundreds of generations of medical practitioners. Unlike modern pharmaceuticals which is comprise a relatively new form of medicine and whose long-term effects are largely unknown, acupuncture has been shown over millennia to be both a safe and effective methods of treating a wide range of diseases.


Acupuncture is effective as a preventative treatment for a number of conditions including:

    • seasonal allergies

    • colds and flu (low immune functioning)

    • asthma

    • headaches and migraines

    • fertility concerns

  • re-injury of old musculoskeletal problems including low back, knee and shoulder strain

If one has scheduled an upcoming medical procedure such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, a course of acupuncture treatments leading up to the procedure will strengthen immune, digestive, reproductive, kidney and liver functioning. Strengthening the body in this way will reduce the side effects of the medical procedure, lower the risk of complications and speed up recovery time afterwards.


Acupuncture, when carried out by a properly trained clinician using clean-needle technique, is very safe. One-time use disposable needles are inserted into muscle tissue with the acupuncturist avoiding blood vessels and sensitive tissues whenever possible. Acupuncture needles are very thin, about one-third of the diameter of medical injection needles, and rarely cause bleeding when inserted or removed. A properly trained acupuncturist will ensure that needles are inserted at a safe depth in order to avoid penetrating organs or sensitive tissues.

Some people express concern that acupuncture relies on the blood’s clotting ability to avoid bleeding. If you are currently taking prescription blood-thinning medication you may wish to consult your physician before beginning a course of acupuncture treatments.


In general acupuncture will not interfere with medically prescribed treatments that a person may be receiving. If you have concerns, however, it is advisable that you consult with a physician before beginning a course of treatments.

Acupuncture serves to activate the body’s own healing mechanisms and does not act in a direct manner to effect change in the body. As such the body’s own healing intelligence is allowed to decide whether a particular change is desirable or beneficial at a particular time. Unlike most forms of modern medical treatments, acupuncture does not demand anything of the body and will work gently in concert with other therapies rather than interfere with them.

It is more likely that acupuncture will complement rather than conflict with other medically prescribed treatments. It will do so by releasing blockages and relaxing the nervous system, thereby increasing the effectiveness of medically prescribed therapies. This is especially true for people undergoing physiotherapy, surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.


Common childhood illnesses such as asthma, digestive disorders, allergies and immune deficiency respond very well to acupuncture. Acupuncture can also effectively treat problems with sleep, anxiety and attention in children.

When treating children fewer needles are used and the treatments tend to be short. The age at which a child can begin receiving acupuncture treatments depends largely on the child's temperament, level of maturity, ability to understand the nature of the procedure, and the child's willingness tolerate the needles. In some cases it may be appropriate to treat a child as young as five or six years of age with acupuncture.