Simply put, Qi is the most fundamental substance in the construction of the human body and in the maintenance of its functional activities. When the activities of Qi are unimpeded, there is harmony, balance, and good health. Where there are Qi blockages, too much or too little Qi, there is an imbalance that disrupts our bodily function which in turn leads to disease.
Many assume dry needling or medical acupuncture is an alternative term for acupuncture performed by an acupuncturist but this is not true. Although dry needling can help relieve some local pain and muscle tension, it is not grounded on the full range of principles within Oriental Medicine where meridian channels in the body and qi flow are used. Therefore, when acupuncturist provide treatments, the site of the needling is often far away from the diseased area where those who perform dry needling target trigger points and knotted muscle fibers in the local area. The aim of dry needling is to excite the muscles into twitching, which can be painful and have the potential to cause further inflammation if performed without proper diagnosis.
Prior to their first treatment, many people fear that acupuncture needles cause pain. Sensations such as soreness, numbness, distending, warmth and pressure may be felt during a treatment, but the energetic sensation differs from pain and patients often find the treatment quite relaxing. Acupuncture needles are very fine, about the size of a strand of hair. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncture practitioner to place a needle with little or no sensation. However, we do offer laser and moxibustion treatments as an alternative.
The number of acupuncture treatments you need depends largely on the complexity of your illness. Your age, general health, and whether you have a chronic or acute condition all influence the length of the treatment. For instance, you may only require one or two treatments for a recent wrist sprain, while a chronic illness such a migraines that you have had the majority of your life may require treatments for a couple of months for complete recovery. As the effects of acupuncture treatments are cumulative, you’ll achieve better results with more consistent treatments. In Oriental medicine, our main goal is not only to treat the symptoms, but to treat the person and further strengthen your body to prevent the illness from recurring. It is therefore important to have a few treatments even after you are cured in order to prevent relapsed or new illnesses. In general, when an illness recurs it is often more difficult to treat.
Generally speaking, the only side effects that could result after an acupuncture treatment is as follows: bruising, minor bleeding, and soreness. Another common reaction is the worsening of the original symptoms for a few days after an acupuncture treatment but this is known as the “healing reaction”. Other healing reactions could also lead to increased/decreased appetite, temporary fluctuation of bowel or urination patterns, or altered emotional state. These are indications that the treatment is not only helping with the present symptoms, but repairing the entire body. It is also common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These effects should wear off within 24-48 hours. If performed by a skilled practitioner, acupuncture is very safe and rarely causes serious side effects.
Our clinic is located at 1100 Sheppard Ave East, Unit 309. The closest major intersection is Sheppard and Leslie, and there is free parking available around the building. Please note that there are two medical buildings at this location and we are located near the Children’s After Clinic at 1100 (eleven hundred), and not the other building located at 1110 (eleven ten).
All body needles will be removed at the end of your appointment and only sticker tack needles will be kept in if you are comfortable with them. For certain conditions, needles will be inserted into the scalp and it is often recommended to retain these needles. If you choose to leave the clinic with the scalp needles still in, you may keep them in for up to 48 hours. The needles will not interfere with your daily activities but please remove them if you are taking a shower. Do not re-insert them into your scalp or any part of your body. To remove them, gently pull the needles out and press down firmly with a cotton ball. Please note that although the head bleeds easily, there are no major blood vessels that can cause damage and can easily be stopped with the cotton ball. Once you collect the needles safely in a container, you can dispose of them in a sharps container or you may bring them back to the clinic for safe disposal.
The more commonly recognized form of treatment known as Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) is in fact a modern modification of the ancient Classical Chinese Medicine with more than 2000 years history. During the Revolution, there was a want for these practices and techniques to be taught at universities and colleges in a standardized way. Sadly, in the formation of TCM, important practical and philosophical doctrines were left behind in order to simplify the medicine.
Here are a few tips to help you have a safe and relaxing experience with acupuncture:
- Bring any lab or medical reports relevant to your condition and list of current medications you are currently taking.
- Make sure to eat a light meal a few hours prior to your visit. Being over-hungry increases the risk of nausea or dizziness. Acupuncture treatments are not performed on individuals who are fasting.
- Avoid alcohol consumption before or after your treatment. Acupuncture is not performed on intoxicated individuals due to the increased risk of shock. It is also not advisable to become intoxicated shortly after treatment.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Acupuncture points are located all over the body. Many of the acupuncture points that are commonly used are located between the wrists and elbows and the ankles and knees. You will be more comfortable if your clothing can be easily rolled up to your elbows and knees.
Are you a bit nervous about trying acupuncture for the first time?
Here is a step- by-step guideline to what you can expect during your first acupuncture treatment. Your first visit will begin with an in-depth assessment of your condition and an initial treatment. Generally, the intake and treatment may take up to an hour, depending on your condition. Typical follow-up treatments last approximately 30-40 minutes.
- Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment as you’ll be asked to fill out a consent form & a health questionnaire detailing your symptoms and medical history.
- The acupuncturist will then use four methods of examination to determine the patterns of your disease: tongue examination, Q & A, listening/smelling, and pulse examination.
- Once the acupuncturist completes the diagnosis, a course of treatment will be suggested.
- To begin treatment, you will lie down on a table. The practitioner will insert sterile single-use needles, generally thinner than the width of a human hair, at acupuncture points on the head and/or the body specific to your condition. For most people, this is nearly painless. You may feel nothing, or you might feel tingling or pricking sensations.
- Once the needles are inserted, the acupuncturist will leave the room and allow you to relax during the treatment. The needles will be retained anywhere from 15 to 30min according to the pattern of your illness.
- The acupuncturist will then return and remove the needles. In relation to your condition, the practitioner may suggest a form of Oriental Medicine-based physical therapy called Daoyin for 15 to 20min.
- You will then receive a customized treatment plan detailing an appropriate course of treatment for your specific condition.
- That’s it. Your session is done!
The initial visit may involve a longer session, as the acupuncturist must perform an initial assessment prior to the treatment. Typical treatment sessions last about one hour. Throughout the session, needles are inserted and left in for a certain amount of time so as to give time for the body to repair. Additional add-on services such as cupping, bleeding, moxibustion, steaming and air pressure may affect the overall time of the treatment.
If you have extended health coverage, most insurance providers cover all or some of the services we offer at Complete Balance however, you should check with your insurance company to see what your policy offers and whether there are any restrictions on the types of illnesses they cover. In the case that you do not have health coverage for acupuncture and require financial assistance to cover the costs, we recommend you contact our clinic for more information regarding our Community-based acupuncture treatments.
If you need to reschedule or cancel any of your appointments, please give us at least 24 hours notice in advance as a late notice will result in a charge for the full appointment amount according to our Cancellation Policy. You can provide us advanced notice by calling us at 416-901-2873 to speak with one of our front desk staff or leaving a voice message. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I am convinced that acupuncture is going to be one of the greatest contributions that any group of people has made to the future of all medicine—if it is handled correctly by the people of the Western world.”
– Dr. W. Kenneth Riland (Personal Physician to President Nixon)