Q:     Is “dry needling / medical acupuncture” the same as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture?

A:      The practices of “dry needling / medical acupuncture” and TCM acupuncture are very different as briefly described below.

     Dry Needling / Medical Acupuncture

  • Western medicine principle-based needling was first conducted by physicians in the early 1940’s. The origins of dry needling were drawn from western medicine principles and scientific, research-based conclusions.  Dry needling entails stimulating certain points on the body to release tension from knots and pressure points in muscles in order to relieve pain and/or to improve range of motion.  Certification programs for practitioners of dry needling typically consist of a three-day course covering concepts, application and safety guidelines.  The practice of dry needling is not regulated.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture

  • The practice of TCM acupuncture dates back to at least 100 B.C. in China.  Acupuncture is used to restore the flow of a person's Qi (life energy) along meridians on the body.  TCM acupuncturists insert needles to release endorphins and affect the nervous system. TCM acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions.
  • Strict guidelines are in place for TCM acupuncturists.  To practice TCM acupuncture, a person needs to be licensed and undergo extensive training.  A TCM acupuncturist will undergo 3 or more years of training.  They learn to identify symptoms, diagnose conditions and use correct techniques with needles.
  • Before receiving a license, a new TCM practitioner must pass examinations from the provincial board and they must maintain a minimum level of continuous education each year after receiving a license.


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BBC Documentary:  The Science of Acupuncture:

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Q:      Is it painful when acupuncture needles are inserted?

A:       While the experience may be different between individuals, acupuncture treatments are normally a comfortable and painless experience.  Needles are typically inserted only 1/8” to 1/4” inch.  The needle insertion may feel like a tiny, quick pinch or a bug-bite sensation.  You may also feel a heavy or a dull sensation around where the needle is.   If, by chance, you feel any pain, you should let the acupuncturist know immediately.  The acupuncturist will remove or adjust the needle as necessary.

Q:      Why do you recommend pre-booking of initial follow-up appointments after the preliminary assessment and treatment?

A:       During the initial assessment, a treatment plan will be developed based on the nature and severity of your condition.   Acupuncture is most effective when administered consistently.  Initial regular sessions build upon each other, creating a cumulative and more impactful effect.  Pre-booking appointments is not mandatory, however, because time slots fill quickly, pre-booking ensures that you secure your preferred appointment times and maintain the continuity of your treatment plan.  Your treatment plan will be regularly reviewed and adjusted as necessary based on your progress and needs.  If at any point you feel that further treatment sessions are unnecessary, pre-booked appointments may be cancelled with 24 hours notice.  

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