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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.


Acupuncture FAQ

Located in Ottawa's Manor Park and Centretown


  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?

What is acupuncture?


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?

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 cost?


 A one-hour private acupuncture treatment costs $85.  A community acupuncture treatment is done on a sliding scale of $40 - $70.  There is no HST on acupuncture services performed by a registered acupuncturist, so this is the total. To learn more about pricing information go to the price list.

We accept cash, cheque, Visa, or Mastercard.  

Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

Acupuncture became a regulated profession in Ontario in April of 2013.  It is covered by most, 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.  At the Balance Healing Centre all acupuncture is performed by Emily, a registered acupuncturist.

How does acupuncture work?

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 the meridians of the body and tonifying Qi or energy.  It is also used to rebalance Yin and Yang.  Yin and Yang are the opposing 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 been 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.



What is Qi?


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. 

How many sessions will I need? 


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 cumulative 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.

Is acupuncture safe for children?


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 should I prepare?


  • 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.


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