Questions Answers

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has evolved from the analysis and observation of the human body, the animal kingdom as well as the plant world and how they interact with their environment. The focus of this analysis was to better understand and identify the factors that favor harmony (health) versus those that favor disharmony (disease). With time these observations were systemized and thus created the foundation of Traditionnal Chinese Medicine.
In TCM the individual is considered as a whole with his strengths and weaknesses and as an integral part of his environment. A positive, harmonious feeling of wellness is considered as health whereas, disease is viewed as a disharmony in the body. The treatment is directed on maintaining and/or restoring harmony.
The various therapies in traditional Chinese medicine include:
Acupuncture - Pharmacopeia (Herbal Medicine) - Dietetic - Qi Gong - Tui Na.

What happens during an Acupunture treatment?

The basic technique consists in inserting very fine needles on specific points of the body in order to trigger precise physiological mechanisms.
Physiological actions: The insertion of a needle into a tissue generates a cascade of biochemical reactions such as vasodilation and stimulation of neuromediators. The information conveyed by afferent nerve fibers is transmitted to the central nervous system and thus acts on sensory mechanisms such as pain and motor mechanisms (movement and force). Acupuncture also acts on the parasympathetic and sympathetic autonomic nervous system and can therefore help to modulate several functions and organic reactions (digestion, elimination, respiration, homeostasis, sleep, etc.)
Actions energetic: The foundations of acupuncture stipulate that by stimulating the points one favors the circulation of the Qi. The term Qi corresponds to the vitality of the body and encompasses the notions of movement, protection, temperature, functioning and transformation. When the Qi circulates well, blood circulates well, nutrients and immune circulate well, hormones and neuromediators go where they are due, organic functions are at the rendezvous and exchanges and transformations (eg digestion, Breathing, oxygenation, tissue repair) are facilitated. If Qi is abundant and circulates, the body receives the nutrients and vitality it needs for its multiple functions.

Are Acupuncture treatments painful?

The insertion of the acupuncture needles feels like a mosquito bite; it lasts only a fraction of a second and leaves no mark. Once the needles are in place, the patient generally feels a sense of well-being and relaxation.

How deep are the needles inserted?

With a few exceptions, most acupuncture points can be stimulated on the surface, so there is no need to insert the needles deeply. Moreover, there are precise indications as to the needle depth and angle of insertion for each point. These instructions have been passed down to acupuncturists for thousands of years, ensuring they practice their craft safely and effectively.

Besides needles, what other techniques can be used to stimulate acupuncture points?

An acupuncture treatment can also comprise other methods, such as:

  • Moxibustion, which involves burning an herb called mugwort on the end of a needle or near an acupuncture point;
  • Cupping, which are suction cups that are applied to an acupuncture point or moved along a meridian;
  • Plum Blossom, which is a small long handled hammer inlaid with seven needles that is lightly tapped on the skin;
  • Tui Na, a TCM modality of treatment that uses specific massage techniques to stimulate points, meridians or regions of the body based on the inherent principles of Traditionnal Chinese Medicine.
  • Acupressure is one of the techniques, amongst many others, used in Tuina.                                        

Contemporary methods such as:

  • Micro-Current can be used to complement the acupuncture treatment
  • Laser Thérapie as a replacement for the needles.

Can diseases be spread by the needles?

No, all acupuncturists practicing in the USA must use only sterile, single-use needles.

Do you need to believe in acupuncture to see results?

You do not need to believe in acupuncture to see results. The efficacy of treatments in children and animals is proof of this.

Are there any cautions or contraindications to acupuncture?

It is difficult to issue formal contraindications to acupuncture since the main objectives of this therapy are to help the body achieve balance and to resolve the dysfunction that led to the illness. Therefore, its purpose is to regulate, harmonize and rebalance the body's energy rather than to simply fight disease.

However, for safety reasons, in 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Acupuncture, which stipulated the illnesses or conditions that should be contraindicated or demand certain precautions.

  • Precautions for Pregnancy: acupuncture treatment are safe but must be administered with caution. The use of certain acupuncture points and certain methods of stimulation may trigger uterine contractions. You should tell your acupuncturist if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant so that the treatment can be adapted accordingly.
  • Acupuncture alone should not be considered to treat Medical or surgical emergencies.
  • Precautions in Oncology: Health and fragility of patient should be taken in consideration. Acupuncture can be used as a complementary measure, combined with other treatments, to relieve pain or other symptoms, to minimize the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy and to improve overall the quality of life in these difficult times.
  • Malignant tumours: specific site of Tumor should not be needled.
  • Bleeding disorders or high risk of bleeding: other methods of point stimulation should be considered and needling avoided.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments will depend upon the nature, severity and duration of the patient condition and, above all, the patient's vitality. In most cases;

  • Acute conditions(1day -1 month) require 4 - 6 treatments
  • Semi-chronic conditions (3 - 6 months) require a series of 6 - 10 treatments
  • Chronic conditions (+6 months) that have progressively worsened over the years require weekly to bi-weekly treatments over the course of several months. (15 - 20 sessions)
  • Facial rejuvenation requires 12 - 15 sessions in order to create an optimal effect.