A Brief Introduction

Originating in China more than 3,000 years ago, acupuncture is one of the oldest Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) procedures. As an essential part of TCM, acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin, metallic needles, (sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus), on some specific points (acupuncture points or acupoints) of the body's surface. The extreme thinness of the needles ensures that little or no discomfort will be experienced during the treatment. At medical level, the insertion of these very fine needles on the acupoints influences the physiological functions of the body, cures the diseases and restores the health.

Acupuncture is being widely accepted as a supplementary healthcare service to the mainstream health care system across Canada. It has already been regulated in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. In Ontario, Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006, has been passed by the provincial legislative assembly in 2006. The transitional council of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO) has been formed to establish the regulation by-laws.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Many researches have been done by scientists about how acupuncture works. The most widely accepted theory is the energy theory called 'Qi' in Chinese (pronounced as 'Chee').

In Chinese medicine, it is believed that there is a universal life energy 'Qi' in every living creature. This energy is circulating in regulated patterns throughout the body along specific pathways that are called 'Meridians". So far, 14 meridians have been identified throughout human's body. These meridians conduct the flow of the vital energy 'Qi'. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained. When this flow is disrupted or blocked, then pain and illness will occur, just like rivers that are blocked and cause flood. By inserting needles into the selected points in the meridians, the normal flow of the energy can be restored, and thus the health brought back to the body.

How Is The Treatment Carried Out?

In acupuncture, 10-30 very fine needles are inserted into the acupuncture points of body (called "Shue Wei" in Chinese). The needles are left in places for 20-30 minutes, manipulated by hands or electrical stimulations during the course of treatment, producing a beneficial effect on other related parts of the body. The number of needles required and the length of time needles left in body depend on the problem and the consultation with the acupuncturist.