Medical Acupuncture


What is “Medical Acupuncture”?


Contemporary and Medical Acupuncture is sponsored by the McMaster University Department of Anesthesia.

The foundation of medical acupuncture is the human anatomy and physiology.  Needles are inserted in tissues that are capable of adaptive change. Electricity can be used to increase stimulation to the area.


What is a typical treatment like?

Most treatments involve Three Tiers Of Needling:

  1. Local Needles: Acupuncture needles are inserted at the site of pain or dysfunction to target the specific tissues, nerves, and blood vessels that are causing problems.
  2. Spinal Needles: Needles are inserted at the origin of the nerve that is involved in the problem area. The spine is where all the nerves in our body emerge from the spinal cord.
  3. Systemic Needles: Needles are inserted at points on the forearm, hands, calf, and foot, face or ears.  These are areas with many blood vessels and nerves. Modern science and Chinese medicine alike have proven that these points have a systemic effect on the body, such as pain reduction and anxiety relief to name a few. 

Electricity may be applied to increase the message that is being sent to the needled tissues.  It is important to note that there are many different types of needling, which are all very effective.  Sometimes needles are inserted directly in trigger points and stimulated (intramuscular stimulation), and other times, needles are inserted to target nerves, muscle insertions, or even bones.


What conditions is Medical Acupuncture used for?


  1. Headaches and Migraines
  2. Vertigo
  3. Anxiety or stress-induced pain
  4. Neck Pain
  5. Low Back
  6. Pelvic Pain
  7. Motor Vehicle Accidents
  8. Concussions
  9. Shoulder Pain
  10. Tendonitis
  11. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  12. Knee Pain
  13. Foot and Heel Pain
  14. Osteoarthritis
  15. Autoimmune Disease related pain
  16. Fibromyalgia


What if I am afraid of needles? Is it safe?


This type of needling is most often painless and always very gentle.  Even patients with phobias of needles usually feel calm and safe during treatments.  However, if you have an aversion to needles, your doctor may instead massage and apply direct manual pressure to the acupuncture points.  This is called acupressure.


Acupuncture is extremely safe.  It is natural, and drug free.  There is little danger of infection because the needles are sterile, used once, and then discarded.


Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

Insurance coverage for acupuncture varies.  Most insurance policies do cover chiropractic treatment, and if your provider is a Doctor of Chiropractic, that benefit will be applied to the treatment.


How should I prepare for an acupuncture treatment?


  • Ask your provider any questions you may have!
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points
  • Do not eat large meals directly before or after your visit
  • Refrain from overexertion, drugs, or alcohol for 3 hours after the visit