Frequently Asked Questions


Does acupuncture hurt?

People experience differing sensations with acupuncture. Most patients feel minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted, while some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort and the time spent resting with needles can be incredibly relaxing.

How large are the acupuncture needles?

Acupuncture needles, which are made from stainless steel, are extremely fine. Two or three acupuncture needles would fit inside the barrel of one of the regular hollow needles that western doctors use for injections.

Are there any adverse effects or risks to acupuncture treatments?

In order to prevent the risk of infection of any form, only sterile disposable needles are used during acupuncture treatments. Although it does not happen often, there may be a chance of a small bruise forming around an acupuncture site.

Are there any risks to acupuncture during pregnancy, either to the mother or baby?

As with all complementary therapies in pregnancy, ensure that the therapist you consult is fully qualified. As no substance is ingested into the body, acupuncture is safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. In order to prevent the risk of infection of any form, only sterile disposable needles are used during acupuncture treatments. Certain acupoints should not be used in pregnancy, except during labour, and there are specific point selections for obstetric treatments.

***Note: Acupuncture is contraindicated for pregnancy unless provided by a licensed acupuncturist with specialized training in pregnancy support. At the Elements of Health Centre, we have been treating this special population since 2000 and are able to safely assist women through all stages of their pregnancies.

Are acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) covered by MSP or extended medical?

Unfortunately, TCM is not covered by MSP. Most extended medical companies, however, do have coverage for acupuncture.

Check with your individual insurance provider for details.

Are acupuncture and Chinese medicine regulated?

The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (CTCMA) is an official professional licensing authority established in 1996 by the Government of British Columbia, Canada. CTCMA’s purpose is to regulate the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture in the Province. The College is a self regulatory body that operates under the auspices of the provincial government and through the Health Professions Act, the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists Regulation and Bylaws.

CTCMA is an expansion of the original College of Acupuncturists of British Columbia, which was created in 1996 by the government. The College began designating professional acupuncturists as "Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.)" in 1999 .

Effective April 12, 2003, a valid registration (professional license) issued by CTCMA is required in order to practice TCM and acupuncture in British Columbia.

How do I find a licensed practitioner?

It is mandatory in BC that all acupuncturists and TCM practitioners are licensed. A listing of licensed therapists can be found at http://www.ctcma.b

I live outside of Victoria – how do I find a practitioner who treats infertility or pregnancy?

The best way to find a practitioner in your area is through word of mouth. Ask your doctor, midwife, friends and family for names of practitioners that have a good reputation. When calling a therapist, ask them what their special interests are and then what training they have had in treating fertility and/or pregnancy. Both of these treatment areas require extra training outside the scope of the courses taught in school in order to be practiced safely and effectively. Ensure that your therapist has completed continuing education studies in these fields before commencing treatment.

Check out our links section for a list of therapists we know who treat infertility and pregnancy.

What is motor point acupuncture?

Motor point acupuncture plays a pivotal role in the success of sports medicine acupuncture treatments.  The motor point is defined as the most electrically excitable area of the muscle and represents the greatest concentration of nerve endings.  Acupuncture to the motor point seems to “reset” the dysfunctional muscle that is causing abnormal muscle function and spasm.  The acupuncture needle is one of the best modalities to use as it effectively releases muscle shortening swiftly when inserted into the motor point .

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