1. Introduction to Medical Acupuncture.
  2. What is Medical Acupuncture?
  3. What are the benefits of Medical Acupuncture?
  4. Why should I choose Medical Acupuncture?
  5. How are Medical Acupuncture providers trained in Canada?
  6. How is Medical Acupuncture regulated in Canada?
  7. Is Medical Acupuncture safe?

1. Introduction to Medical Acupuncture

Once regarded as a mystical form of Eastern medicine, acupuncture has grown from its debut in North America more than 30 years ago into one of the most popular modalities utilized in the contemporary health-care marketplace. Originally developed in China, acupuncture has evolved over thousands of years and has formed the cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Many types of health-care providers now utilize acupuncture in clinical practice, including chiropractors, physiotherapists, and medical doctors. A natural corollary of this trend has been a continuing integration of acupuncture into a Western medicine model. Utilizing a blend of ancient methods and modern biomedical concepts, practitioners of many disciplines are regularly incorporating acupuncture treatment not only as a stand-alone therapy, but as an integrated modality in a variety of health-care environments.

Patients all over the world now seek acupuncture treatment in its various forms for a multitude of ailments including pain relief, headaches, arthritis, addiction management, sports injuries and general well-being, to name a few.

Acupuncture’s popularity has been further bolstered by the increasing attention it is being paid in scientific circles. Numerous trials demonstrating its effectiveness have recently been published in major medical journals, with more to come. Other interesting lines of research currently in progress include investigations into the biomechanical effects of acupuncture on connective tissue structure, function, and healing, and its impact on the peripheral and central nervous systems.

2. What is Medical Acupuncture?

Medical Acupuncture is the biomedical adaptation of Chinese acupuncture methods, and is an effective and simple treatment approach based on current concepts of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and pathophysiology. As in traditional acupuncture, Medical Acupuncture involves insertion of solid needles at relevant points on the body in combination with manual needle stimulation or electrical stimulation. Medical Acupuncture does not involve tongue or pulse diagnosis. Rather, a diagnosis is attained through thorough history taking and physical examination. Based on this process, anatomical points that are relevant to the condition are selected for needling.

3. What are the benefits of Medical Acupuncture?

Medical Acupuncture is generally considered to have non-specific effects. This means that in addition to addressing acute injuries and symptoms, it can have generalized benefits for the body as a whole . The benefits of acupuncture can include, but are not limited to:
  1. pain relief
  2. decreased swelling
  3. muscle relaxation
  4. breaking down scar tissue
  5. pain modulation and endorphin release
  6. changes in autonomic nervous system activity (vasomotor tone, cardiac rhythm, peristalsis etc.)
  7. diverse neuroendocrine and immune responses
  8. general relaxation
  9. a feeling of psychophysical well being
  10. improved sleep
  11. nausea relief during chemotherapy

4. Why should I choose Medical Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be very effective for treating both acute injuries and chronic conditions. When utilized by a trained health-care professional, it is very safe. Although acupuncture may help with many conditions and injuries, it will not cure a serious underlying problem, such as lung disease, heart disease, tumors or cancers. Therefore, it is imperative that you continue to consult your medical doctor, and maintain all essential medical treatment if you have a serious medical problem. A medical acupuncture provider will be able to discuss your medical problems, understand the results of medical tests, and understand what medication you are taking and why – so be sure to inform them of this information.

5. How are Medical Acupuncture providers trained in Canada?

The Contemporary Medical Acupuncture Program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, has been approved by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) as meeting the training requirements for Board Certification, and by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA) as meeting the requirements for Practice Membership.

For further details on this program, please visit McMaster Contemporary Medical Acupuncture

6. How is Medical Acupuncture regulated in Canada?

Acupuncture is not regulated by all provinces in Canada. It is therefore important that you choose a practitioner who is trained according to World Health Organization standards, and who is fully certified through a recognized, reputable program based in a university or college.

7. Is Medical Acupuncture safe?

In the hands of properly trained and certified practitioners, acupuncture is a very safe form of treatment. However, any procedure involving insertion of needles into the body has some potential problems. In addition, there are a few "side effects" potentially produced by acupuncture treatment which can occur in some people. A well-trained practitioner will ask a patient to remain in a relaxed position for 15-30 minutes after the first treatment with acupuncture, to ensure that no adverse reaction will develop.

Here is a list of some of the side effects you may, or may not, experience:

  1. momentary discomfort where the needles are inserted
  2. drowsiness and sleepiness
  3. localized bruising
  4. temporary worsening of your symptoms
  5. fainting
  6. feeling faint, during or after treatment

Here is a list of some of the EXTREMELY RARE, but serious risks:

  1. damage to an internal organ from insertion of a needle
  2. infection in the area where the needle was inserted
  3. infection spreading throughout the blood system to infect previously damaged heart valves
  4. premature onset of labor, in a late-stage pregnancy


Please visit SHAPE Toronto Acupuncture for more information

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SHAPE Health & Wellness Centres

  1. Leslie & York Mills (35 Coldwater Rd.)
    Toronto ON M3B 1Y8
  2. Avenue & Davenport (261 Davenport Rd.)
    Toronto ON M5R 1K3

CALL: 416.929.8444

Call SHAPE Today
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