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Acupuncture FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions.  Please give us a call and book a free consultation if you would like to learn more.  We are more than happy to answer all your questions and concerns.



  1. What is acupuncture?

  2. What is community acupuncture?

  3. What is TCM?

  4. How much does it cost and how can I pay?

  5. Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

  6. How does acupuncture work?

  7. What is Qi?

  8. How many treatments do I need?

  9. Is acupuncture safe for children?

  10. How should I prepare?

  11. How safe is acupuncture?

  12. How are acupuncturists educated?

  13. How is acupuncture performed by an acupuncturist different than that performed by a chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist?

  14. What should I expect? Click here for video.

  15. What can acupuncture treat?



Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved over 3000 years into a complete and holistic medical system.

Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy.  Acupuncturists insert fine, sterile, single use and virtually painless needles in points along meridians or energy pathways to balance the body and help bring it back into homeostasis.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we speak of Qi, pronounced Chi, which is best translated as universal energy. The Qi in the body is our body’s vital force and may be deficient or stagnant causing pain or sickness.  Acupuncture opens up the meridians to allow the smooth flow of Qi and increase blood flow throughout the body.  This activation of the body's Qi promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity and physical and emotional health.  



What is Community Acupuncture? (not available during Covid)
What is Acupuncture?

Community Driven:  Community acupuncture takes place in one large room.  Patients lay comfortably in recliner chairs with their pant legs and sleeves rolled up.    


Affordable:  Community acupuncture is a fraction of the price of the commonly practiced North American model of acupuncture.


Effective:  Because it costs less you can afford more treatments closer together.  Acupuncture is like going to the gym, the more often you go the sooner you see the results and the better those results are.


Natural:  By harnessing the body's own energy potential acupuncture elevates mood, reduces stress, increases energy and improves sleep.  It is safe to use in conjunction with your current medical care.

What is TCM?

TCM stands for Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It includes acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion, tui na massage, cupping therapy, gua sha, herbal and nutritional therapy.  Treatment options and points used are based on the patient's individual pattern which is considered the root cause of disease.  This differentiates acupuncture done by another health care professional not trained in TCM where focus is restricted to the symptomatic area.  The TCM approach to acupuncture results in more long term relief of symptoms as well as other unexpected positive side effects seemingly unrelated to the untrained professional.

How much does it costs & how can I pay?

A one hour private acupuncture treatment costs $85 after the initial which is $145 and includes the treatment.  There is no HST on acupuncture in Ontario.  To see our packages and more about pricing information, go to our price list.  We accepts cash, cheque, and e-transfers.  


Acupuncture became a regulated profession in Ontario in April of 2013.  It is covered by many, but not all insurance plans. You would need to check with your own insurance company to see if you are covered or if you can personalize your package to include acupuncture treatments.  Since regulation, acupuncture coverage can only be claimed if performed by a registered acupuncturist.  Acupuncture performed by another regulated professional, for example a physiotherapist or a chiropractor, must be claimed under that modality.  At the Balance Healing Centre, all acupuncture is performed by Emily, a registered acupuncturist.  


We offer direct billing to Veterans through Blue Cross, however in some cases a prescription from your Doctor is required. Please call Blue Cross before booking your appointment to confirm if they require a prescription for your specific case.

Will my insurance cover acupuncture?
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective:

Acupuncture is based on the philosophy that Qi, or vital energy, flows throughout the body.  Qi protects the body from illness, pain and disease.  A person's health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.  Acupuncture works by removing energetic blockages in meridians of the body and tonifying Qi or energy.  It is also used to rebalance Yin and Yang.  Yin and Yang are the opposite forces within our bodies and nature that are interconnected and interdependent.


From a scientific perspective:


Neurotransmitter Theory:  Acupuncture affects higher brain areas, stimulating the secretion of beta-endorphins and enkephalins in the brain and spinal cord.  The release of neurotransmitters influences the immune system and the antinociceptive system.

Autonomic Nervous System Theory:  Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several types of opioids, affecting changes in their turnover rate, normalizing the autonomic nervous system, and reducing pain.


Hormonal Regulation Theory:  Acupuncture points have shown to affect hormone levels in the body.  Hormones affect our sleep-wake cycle, stress levels, fertility, menopausal symptoms and metabolism just to name a few, 


Vascular-interstitial Theory:  Acupuncture affects the electrical system of the body by creating or enhancing closed-circuit transport in tissues.  This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of material and electrical energy between normal and injured tissues.


Blood Chemistry Theory:  Acupuncture affects the blood concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids, suggesting that acupuncture can both raise and diminish peripheral blood components, thereby regulating the body toward homeostasis.


Gate Control Theory:  Acupuncture activates non-nociceptive receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, 'gating out' painful stimuli.





In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi refers to the energy or life force that flows smoothly in a healthy body.  When this energy get stuck or stagnates disease arises, whether mental or physical. 



It is generally recommended to start with two to three treatments a week for the first three weeks, then one to two for the following two weeks.  Maintenance treatments are given once to twice a month. Since every person and problem is unique this will vary according to the individual and the nature of what is being treated.  Acupuncture is like exercise where the cummulative results are more apparent the more often you go.  At Ottawa Valley Acupuncture & Nutrition we offer Community Acupuncture which at half the cost of a private treatment enables you to come as often as needed so you will get the results you are looking for faster.



Yes.  In some instances children actually respond more quickly than adults.  If your child has an aversion to needles, acupressure can be used as an alternative.  With acupressure, instead of using needles, the acupuncture points are massaged.

How does acupuncture work?
What is Qi?
How many sessions will I need? 
How many sessions will I need? 


  • Write down and bring any questions you have.  We are here to help you.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.

  • Drink plenty of water after your visit.

  • Refrain from overexertion and working out for up to six hours after the visit.

  • Avoid stressful situations.  Make time to relax, and be sure to get plenty of rest.

  • Between visits, make note of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of symptoms.


How should I prepare?
How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is safe when it is practiced by qualified Registered Acupuncturist. Needles used for acupuncture are fine, sterile, disposable, single use, stainless steel implements. There are virtually no adverse effects or complications because it is an all-natural, drug-free therapy.

Acupuncturists have over 2000 hours of training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, clean needle technique and Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and application. They study the nervous system, the vascular system and the muscoloskeletal system.  Under the new legislation regulating acupuncturists in Ontario, acupuncturists require 500 hours of clinical training done under the supervision of a qualified teacher.


Acupuncturists trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are trained to treat a broad spectrum of diseases ranging from pain disorders to sleep, fertility, neurological and digestive digestive complaints, just to name a few.  Even weight loss and aging can be addressesd by a TCM trained acupuncturist!


How are acupuncturists educated?
How is acupuncture performed by an acupuncturist different than that performed by a chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist?

Medical acupuncture performed by chiropractors, massage therapists and physiotherapists uses the same tool with and different theory.  There is however overlap.  Chiropractors and physiotherapists are trained in dry needling.   This involves stimulating trigger points and muscle attachments with acupuncture needles.  A traditionally trained acupuncturist will needle what we call "asher" points.   These have the same definition as a trigger point - a tender point which may radiate pain.  Along with these points, most TCM practitioners will needle muscle attachments as well as points which address the root cause of the problem.  For example, for low back or knee pain, an acupuncturist trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine will needle the back area directly as well as introduce points to tonify the kidneys, which would be considered the root of the low back pain.  This approach encourages long-term relief.


Acupuncturist trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine will use tongue and pulse analysis along with a complete medical history and assessment to determine your unique pattern of disease, so that they may then treat the root cause, as well as the symptoms for longer lasting results.


What should I expect?

During your first visit a detailed medical history will be taken.  You will be asked questions that relate directly to your reason for visiting as well as seemingly unrelated questions about sleep and diet, for instance, that will help the practitioner diagnose your individual pattern or root cause.  The tongue and pulse are also two very important diagnostic tools in Traditional Chinese medicine.  Each tells the practitioner about your internal state of circulation and digestion.  


Click here to see about a first time acupuncture visit.

What can acupuncture treat?
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