Acupuncture FAQs

What is TCM?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of health care that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage (tuina), exercise and breathing therapy (qigong). The most popular forms of TCM are acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back thousands of years. The primary feature of modern TCM is the premise that good health relies on the restoration and maintenance of harmony, balance and order of the individual.

TCM takes a holistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes and focuses as much on the prevention of illness as it does on the treatment.

How do I know acupuncture will help me?

Traditional Chinese medicine has a very unique way of diagnosing each individual. The body is treated as a whole according to diagnosis rather than focusing solely on the symptoms of a condition. Acupuncture has the ability to work with many different types of health-related problems by treating the person as an individual and not just treating the disease. Acupuncture helps millions of people. An initial consultation with a doctor to obtain your history and evaluate your concern is necessary. From there the doctor will discuss your diagnosis and options for treatment.

Does acupuncture have any risks or side effects? Does it hurt?

Acupuncture is very safe and rarely causes any side effects. Some people feel a slight sting when the needle is first inserted, similar to a mosquito bite feeling. Others might feel a dull achy sensation upon insertion. Most times the needles are not felt at all. The thickness of acupuncture needle is compared to the thickness of a cat’s whisker.

While acupuncture is extremely safe, the following are potential risks.

Risks: (Some of the risks mentioned below are EXTREMELY RARE!)

  • Bruising
  • Fainting
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Bleeding
By law, all acupuncturists in Alberta are required to use single use disposable needles.

How long is a treatment?

Your initial consultation and first treatment can take between 60 – 90 min. Repeat visits will be 45 – 60 min.

How many treatments will I need?

This all depends on how each individual responds to treatment and what condition is being treated. Typically if your condition is chronic, more treatments are needed. If your condition is acute, fewer treatments are usually needed. It is difficult to give an exact number of treatments you will need. After evaluating your first few treatments, we will have a better understanding of the course of treatment.

How should I prepare for treatment?

Try to be 5–10 minutes early to give you the chance to relax before treatment. Wear comfortable clothing. Have a meal or snack within a few hours of treatment.

What should I expect during treatment?

Expect to relax! Regardless of condition being treated, acupuncture is very relaxing. You may even fall asleep during treatment.

Depending on the areas being treated, you may be laying on your stomach or your back, some cases even your side. You will relax for duration of 25-30 min.

Is there anything I need to do after treatment?

Stay hydrated. Patients usually comment on a great nights sleep the night of their acupuncture treatment.

Will I feel different immediately after treatment?

Mostly likely you will feel relaxed. Depending on the condition being treated, it may take up to 24 hours to feel relief or change, but some feel do improvement right away.

Can acupuncture be used during pregnancy?

Acupuncture is completely safe during pregnancy. It is a great therapy to relieve some of the undesirable pregnancy aliments such as morning sickness, low back pain and other pregnancy related concerns. It gives an overall sense of relaxation. There are some acupuncture points that are avoided during pregnancy except during labor or for the purpose of inducing labor.

Is acupuncture covered by health benefits? Or WCB?

Acupuncture is not covered under Alberta Health Care but most extended health benefit plans do cover acupuncture. We also can direct bill most benefit plans for you. If you would like to know if you have coverage, call the number on the back of your health benefit card.

Don’t forget to bring your benefit card with you to your first appointment!

We are WCB treatment providers.

Which practitioner should I schedule with?

At East Meets West, we take a team approach to treatment ensuring the best possible care. All doctors work closely together and discuss treatment for every individual. Throughout your course of treatment you will or may see any of our three doctors.