1. What are Acupuncture and TCM?

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 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 a medical level, the insertion of these very fine needles on the acupoints influences the physiological functions of the body, re-balances the energy of the body and restores the health.

Acupuncture has been officially recognized and recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an important aspect of health care.   Acupuncture is very popular not only in China but also in many other countries in the world. Acupuncture is 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, the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act has been passed by the provincial legislative assembly in 2006.

2. Which disorders are frequently treated with Acupuncture and Chinese medicine in Oshio clinic?

 Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization and is effective in treating a number of disorders. Having more than 27 years of clinical experience after graduating from medical school, the doctors at Oshio clinic are experienced at treating the following disorders with acupuncture and Chinese medicine:

*Various painful disorders: headache, shoulder pain, neck stiffness and pain, back and lower back pain, knee pain, tennis and golfer’s elbow, osteoarthritis, sports injuries, trigeminal neuralgia, sciatica.

*Various skin disorders: Eczema, psoriasis, acne vulgaris

*Various allergic disorders: Asthma, rhinitis.

*Various women disorders: Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids, menopausal syndrome, breast tumors, infertility.

*Digestive disorders: Gastritis, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Chron’s disease, constipation, dysentery.

*Depression, anxiety, and other emotional imbalances


*Paralysis: Paralysis due to stroke, facial paralysis.

*Cerebral palsy


*Addiction: smoking, alcohol or drug

*Toxins or poison accumulated in the body

3. Is Acupuncture Safe at Oshio clinic?

Yes. Oshio Clinic adheres to the CTCMA clinical safety guidelines and obtains informed consent with each patient. All precautions are taken to ensure safety, this means the environment and equipment within our space are kept to ensure patient and practitioner safety.  We have maintained this safe environment since 1999.  As we are creating a healing space for persons with compromised health,  there are many precautions that must be taken.  We outline these in our informed consent waiver. Each patient is aware and must adhere to the following:

i. Each patient must understand that some of the techniques used under the scope of Traditional Chinese Medicine include: Acupuncture —-the use of sterile, single-use needles to penetrate the skin; Acupressure, the Electrical stimulation of needles, Cupping, Moxibustion, Gua sha, and Tui na. Before any of these procedures are performed, the practitioner or the student will discuss treatment options and only proceed if consent is given by the patient.

ii. The practitioner or student intern will inform the patient of the risks and symptoms of treatments, which can include, but are not limited to: slight pain, light-headedness or nausea, soreness, bruising, bleeding or discoloration of the skin, and the possibility of other unforeseen risks.  These side effects are usually short-term and part of the healing process. Each patient must freely accept the risks involved with the treatment procedure.

iii. Each patient must inform the practitioner if they; currently have or are developing any major health issues, suffer from any type of major bleeding disorder,  take anti-coagulant medications, or have a pacemaker.

iv. The patient must understand that they must let my practitioner or the student know if they are carrying, or believe to have any infectious agents, including but at not limited to HIV, TB, and Hepatitis. In some cases where cross-infection is high, the practitioner or the student may withhold treatment.

v. The patient must understand that there are no guarantees for the results of treatments. TCM does not necessarily provide an instant cure. The length of treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the condition. In some cases, symptoms may temporarily worsen before they begin to improve.

4. How Does Acupuncture Work?

Much research has been done by scientists about how acupuncture works. The most widely accepted theory is of energy, called ‘Qi’ in Chinese. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that there is 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 the human 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 the 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


5. How Is The Treatment Carried Out?

In acupuncture, 1~36 very fine needles are inserted into the acupuncture points of the body. The needles are left in places for 20~30 minutes(sometimes longer or shorter duration, depending on patient’s needs), manipulated by hands or electrical stimulation 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 are left in the body depends on the problem and is decided during the consultation with the


6. Is Acupuncture Painful?

Some people may be afraid of needles and assume that acupuncture is painful. Actually, most patients do not feel any pain, some even experience pleasurable or invigorating sensations as the needles work. The needles used for acupuncture are solid and extremely thin, much thinner than those used for injections or drawing blood.

Pain is due to stagnation of qi and blood in an area, sometimes needling these areas can cause a pain reaction but this is momentary and will help the area to be less painful. In the case of very sensitive patients, the needling can be adjusted by using smaller needles with more gentle stimulation. It is normal that a patient sometimes feels heaviness, aching or tingling around the site of the needle insertion. In general, most patients describe acupuncture as very relaxing and those with fear or pain to do with needling will be respected and helped to make the needling


7. How many treatments do I need?

The total number of treatments required depends on the overall condition, and the symptoms. For acute problems, only a few treatments may be required. For complex or prolonged conditions, more treatments may be recommended. In very few cases, several sessions may be required before improvement is noticed. For pain relief, most people will feel instant improvement right after the very first treatment. For weight loss or to quit smoking, relieve anxiety, three or four sessions are generally sufficient to see improvement. In cosmetic acupuncture, after a course of treatments, the fine lines in the face can be eliminated and deeper wrinkles diminished, bags around eyes firmed and sagging


8. How long does each Acupuncture treatment take?

The first visit will include a full assessment where the patient is asked a number of questions about his or her health. A focused regional physical exam follows. Following this, the first treatment is performed. This process takes about one hour and around 30 minutes for subsequent


9. Does MSP cover Acupuncture?

Yes if your family’s yearly income is less than $28,000. You are provided with a special form made by MSP after you receive treatment from us and pay your treatment fee. The form is filled out and signed by you and mailed to the MSP office for a $23


10. Does my insurance plan cover Acupuncture?

The majority of Canadian workers have partial or full coverage for Acupuncture services in their workplace health care plans. The Acupuncture patient is provided with a detailed itemized receipt listing the services provided, the credentials of the treating Acupuncture Provider, as well as payment details for


11. Do I need a Doctor’s prescription for Acupuncture?

No, but if you can get your diagnosis and medication information from your doctor, it may be helpful for your


12. How can I  find a good Acupuncturist or Doctor of TCM?

Here are some important criteria to follow when you are making an initial attempt to choose an acupuncturist.

•Qualifications: In the US, about 40 states have established training standards for acupuncture certification. There is no acupuncture regulation in most provinces in Canada (except in British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec). If you reside in an area where acupuncture is regulated, you should make sure that the acupuncturist is licensed and registered with the regulatory body. Although proper credentials do not ensure the highest competency, they do indicate that the practitioner has met the minimum standards to treat patients using acupuncture.

•Education: If an acupuncturist or TCM doctor got his/her education in acupuncture or TCM from China, whether he or she has graduated from a 5-year TCM, acupuncture or medicine program in a university is very important. Only by finishing this 5-year program, can a graduate have the ability to treat diseases in most clinical fields, including internal diseases, external diseases, women’s diseases, children’s diseases and so on. In North America, an acupuncturist or TCM doctor is required to complete 3-5 years of study in a full-time program of acupuncture or TCM.

•Clean Needle Technique: It is also very important to confirm that the acupuncturist practices Clean Needle Technique and uses disposable needles. This issue is particularly important in the regions where acupuncture is not regulated.

•Experience: Ask the acupuncturist or TCM doctor the number of years of their clinical experience. It is impossible to develop mastery and fluency in acupuncture or TCM only by classroom training. There are many elements in acupuncture which can only be learned through years of clinical practice. Acupuncture and TCM are more closely related to the practitioner’s clinical experience. Generally speaking, the longer a person practices as an acupuncturist or TCM doctor, the more experience the person has and the better the acupuncture or TCM treatment result will be. Who is the Best? The ‘best acupuncturist’ for one person may not be the best for another. Sometimes it is necessary to try out different acupuncturists or styles.