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What is Acupuncture?

Anatomical Acupuncture is a modern medical acupuncture that fuses the concept of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture with Western medicine and physiology. 

How does Acupuncture work?

Very fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body in order to achieve a therapeutic effect based on the pathophysiology of your condition and has been proven to decrease swelling, pain and dysfunction. All needles are categorized as 'atraumatic' which means that they are unlikely to cause trauma or bleeding to the underlying structures. 


Is Acupuncture safe?

All needles are sterile, single-use needles rounded at the tip which allows them to slide freely through tissues. The location of insertion is sterilized with Stanhexidine (an antiseptic, antibacterial agent). No contact is made with the needle shaft prior to insertion. 

The York Acupuncture Safety Study, a prospective study of 34407 acupuncture treatments found no serious adverse effects and only 43 cases of minor adverse effects, the most common of which were nausea and fainting. It is important to inform your therapist of your medical history, medications and if you are pregnant or could possibly be pregnant, as acupuncture treatment may have to be modified or may not be appropriate.

Does Acupuncture hurt?

Most people find their acupuncture treatments relaxing. Others may experience minimal discomfort. Adverse effects and complications are almost entirely absent. Acupuncture Canada trains professionals to use sterile single use needles so there is no risk of infection or transmission of disease.

Aching, heat and heaviness are often experienced during acupuncture treatment. This is the “deQi effect.” For most patients these sensations are brief. For others (0.5%) the sensation may last from five minutes to several hours. Your practitioner will not consider this an undesirable outcome.

  • Discomfort

  • A study of more than 3000 acupuncture treatments* has identified how often discomfort during or after treatment occurs:

  • For 2.9% of patients a small amount of bleeding appears at the needle site. This usually stops within minutes of the needle being removed. Bleeding is more likely in patients who take Aspirin or blood thinners. Let your practitioner know if you use these medications.

  • 2.2% of patients (often the same people who experience bleeding) develop a small bruise at the needle site. This usually disappears within a few days.

  • 1.4% experience fatigue

  • 1.0% experience a brief feeling of dizziness that disappears during treatment

  • 0.9% experience brief, low-level pain while the needle is in place or after the needle is removed. This sensation generally lasts for less than five minutes.

  • Other sensations include tingling (0.5%); sweating (0.3%); nausea (0.1%). If any of these continues for more than two minutes your practitioner will end your session and remove the needles.

  • 0.1% of patients have fainted.

* Ernst et al. (2003)

As in any treatment there is some risk: twelve prospective studies surveying over one million treatments estimate the risk of serious adverse events to be between 0.05% to 0.55% in 10,000 patients.


Therefore, the risk of a serious adverse event is considered very low.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns!

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