Frequently Asked Questions

Acupuncture with TCM Diagnosis

Using TCM diagnosis, what are the conditions Acupuncture can treat?

TCM acupuncture is a medicine, as such, with proper TCM diagnosis, it can treat a large number of conditions.


Using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis, acupuncture is widely considered to be beneficial for a range of illnesses and symptoms, from clearly defined complaints to more general feelings of ill health and low energy. You will find below an example of disorders and conditions that can be treated with Acupuncture and Moxibustion:

Are the needles safe?

YES! 


The needles I use are one-time use only and come out of a sterile package. They are not allergenic and of highest quality so they cause no reactions and are never inserted deeply enough to cause damage to any part of the body. I also mostly needle far away from the active disease site. In short, they are safe, safe for babies, safe for children, safe for adult. It is also safe for patients on anticoagulants and for patients with low blood counts. Research:

Does Acupuncture hurt?

MAYBE, it's a very subjective feeling.


Acupuncture needles are tiny, thin and flexible, about the size of a cat’s whisker. Once the needles are inserted, some patients may experience a mild tingling or a sensation of fullness, along with an increased sense of relaxation. These are all quite normal and suggest that the treatment is working. If you have needle phobia, needle-less approaches will be employed.

Can babies receive acupuncture?

YES! 


I treat infants as young as a few weeks old. Babies and children, in fact, react very fast to treatment. I tend to use needle-less methods to stimulate the acupoints on children as they are a very gentle, non-invasive treatment. 


When needed, I use the thinnest sized  needles available (0.12mm in diameter) to superficially stimulate the acupoints and do not leave them in the skin. This in-out technique provides excellent results with minimal discomfort. Babies usually don't cry with this approach.

How many needles do you use per session? Do you needle at the active disease site?

One to eight thin needles. Average is six needles.


For patients with needle phobia or with very low blood counts, needle-less approaches will be used instead.


Also, I usually do not needle at the active disease site. This means:

  • if you have 20 lymph-nodes removed on your left arm, I do not insert a needle on that arm
  • if you have lymphedema on the right lower leg, regardless of the number of lymph-nodes being involved, I do not insert a needle at the swollen area
  • if you have radiation on the right side of the neck, no needle will be inserted in that area and in its immediate proximity
  • if you have metastases at the liver site, no needle will be inserted in that area
  • if you are experiencing acute pain on the lower back, I do not insert any needle in that area etc...

How many treatments will I need?

That depends on the person, severity of condition, and type of issue. Everyone’s treatment plan is unique and individually designed.


The initial phase of the treatment plan is usually between 1 to 10 visits. The length of treatment depends on how long the condition has been present and how quickly the patient responds to treatment. Generally, if a condition is more acute, patients respond faster than those with chronic issues. Some conditions can be treated in one session. Others require more time. 

How frequently are treatments spaced?

In Asia, patients come every day to receive their treatment. This ensure fast, steady recovery.


In Canada, there are several barriers to receiving daily treatment. A different approach will be proposed depending on each individual condition and objectives. On average, patients come once to three times a week, depending on the severity, urgency of their condition. We can discuss more about this at the first visit.

How would I feel after a treatment?

You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. If the treatment has been particularly strong you may feel tired or drowsy and it is worth bearing this in mind if you plan to drive or use any other machinery soon afterwards.

Are there any side-effects to Acupuncture?

Sometimes, following a treatment, one could experience one or more of the following: tiredness, euphoria, more relaxation, slight headache, temporary increase in pain. Any that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms as your qi clears and resettles. Most of the time patients feel relaxed and at ease leaving their Acupuncture session.

I have private medical insurance. Will it cover the cost of my treatment?

That depends upon your insurer. As the demand for complementary medicine increases more private health insurance companies are beginning to offer cover for traditional acupuncture performed by registered Acupuncturists and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners. You should check your individual policy details. Generally, insurers do not cover the cost of dried herbs, granules or medicinal tea.

Heat

Moxibustion

Moxibustion is a focused heat therapy which involves the burning of the natural herb Mugwort over specific acupuncture points or acupoints to positively stimulate the body in a variety of ways. The natural Mugwort is the herb of choice as it burns evenly, and its oils and aromas have a positive effect on the body. 


Warm sea salt

Sometimes, you need a soothing heat to relax your muscles, tendon and ligament or simply to warm up your body. Coarse sea salt can be an in-expensive yet effective way to heal. Consult me on when you should use warm sea salt. 


General cautions about heat therapy

  • Complications: heat therapy is not suitable to everyone! Consult your practitioner prior starting on doing heat treatment to yourself. Patients particularly at risk of complications are (non-exhaustive): cancer, blood or bleeding disorders, fluid retention, damp and wet skin, skin issues, unstable blood pressure, thin and skinny body constitution, loss of sensation, attention deficit disorders etc...
  • Smoke: moxibustion and warm sea salt may create smoke and set off your kitchen smoke detector. Do NOT inhale the smoke.
  • Burns: certain conditions, such as those with fluid retention, diabetes, sensitive/non-sensitive/damp/wet skin, rashes/eczema … may have difficulty sensing the temperature. Be sure to check the area being heated often. If you are unsure, have someone feel the area to make sure it does not feel too hot to avoid burns and/or blisters. Always use a healthy skin to evaluate the duration of which you can apply the heat onto the disease site. Allow your skin to breath from time to time even you don’t feel hot yet.  If you are ensure, don’t do this at home.
  • Blisters: patients presenting with fluid retention or with damp/wet skin may develop blisters even though they apply the heat correctly. If you are ensure, don’t do this at home.

Herbal Medicine

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine is a type of medicine that uses roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or seeds of plants to improve health, prevent disease, and treat illness.


Herbs come in decoction, draft, granule concentrate, tincture, and pill forms.

  • Decoction: a set of herbs is extracted through a long boiling process in water (45 minutes to 75 minutes). You drink the resulting liquid and discard the herbs.
  • Powder or draft: a set of herbs is ground into (coarse or fine) powder. You steep it in a thermos with boiling liquid or boil it shortly for 10 to 15 minutes then drink the resulting liquid.
  • Granule or concentrate is a decoction of a single herb or a set of herbs then vacuum-dried to form a concentrate. The concentration is often 1 for 5 or 1 for 7. This means 1g of the granule is equivalent to 5 or 7g of loose herbs. The cost is therefore higher accordingly.
  • Pills: a single herb or a set of herbs is ground into fine powder then compressed into pills. Some pills have a concentration of 1 for 7. This means 1g of concentrated pill is equivalent to 7g of normal pill. The cost is higher accordingly.

How to administer herbal products?

Usually between meals. Drink with luke-warm liquid such as a broth or clear water. 


Do not attempt to change its taste by adding maple syrup or honey etc... into your herbal drink. This may change its property and function. Use a straw to send the liquid down with minimal taste.

GRANULE: How do I prepare it? How to take it?

Granule is a concentrate extract through a decoction process then vacuum-dried. The preparation is similar to mixing a powder tea:

  1. Scoop out the prescribed amount in a glass or a cup, usually in gram or in a standard teaspoon.
  2. Pour in enough warm water to cover the granule, then stir to mix. Once the granule is fully dissolved, add in more warm water to dilute. Note that the quantity of water is UP TO YOU. Less of water will give a stronger taste. More of water will give a more diluted taste. As an example, 3 teaspoons of granule may be mixed in about a third (1/3) or half (1/2) of a cup of water or broth.
  3. Drink in small amount throughout the day for the first two days to monitor potential allergy or sensitivity to the product. Shake well before drinking it. If the tea has cooled down, add in some more warm water. Always drink warm for better effect. If you experience no adverse reaction, you may drink the "tea" as instructed, usually two to three times a day, between meals.

DECOCTION: How do I prepare it? How to take it?

Decoction is a water extract of medicinal dried herbs through boiling process. It's similar to the process of making a broth:

  1. Rinse and soak the ingredients in filtered water. Keep in mind the dried herbs will expand. Do add more water to cover the herbs. They must be below the water level at any time during the boiling process.
  2. Bring the mix to a boil then simmer, with lid on, for 20 to 60 minutes. The duration is specified during the visit or on the prescription.
  3. Once the extraction is over, you discard the dregs and keep the liquid. Usually the liquid is taken warm in small sips throughout the day for the first two days to monitor potential sensitivities to the ingredients. The following days, twice daily between meals. Drink warm.

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