The word acupuncture is derived from the Latin
words "acus" (needle) and "punctura" (puncture) meaning "to puncture with a needle". Medical Acupuncture is
performed by health care professionals with training in biomedical sciences whereby very fine needles are inserted at
specific points in the body, with minimal to no discomfort, in an effort to elicit natural healing mechanisms and induce reflex
neuromodulatory responses (sensory, motor, or autonomic) for the therapeutic effect of treating pain, dysfunction and/or disregulation.
Single-use, sterile, disposable 0.16 mm to 0.30 mm acupuncture needles are used in the clinic. Electro-acupuncture is a stimulation technique applied to acupuncture needles to decrease pain and improve physical function.
Acupuncture treatment is widely recognized as
generally safe with minimal to no side effects. Unlike many drugs, acupuncture is non-toxic and adverse reations are
minimal. In traditional Chinese medicine, a sensation of heaviness, warmth, tingling, numbness, and/or aching feeling
called "De-Qi" may be experienced; however research states it is not required for therapeutic effect.
In 1997, the Ontario Medical Association officially recognized acupuncture as a 'complimentary medicine', and many medical doctors recommend acupuncture as an effective relief for many medical conditions. A medical referral is appreciated but not required.
Where medical conditions exist, acupuncture may compliment or support medical treatment by relieving musculoskeletal pain or discomfort associated with the condition. Acupuncture may also be palliative, providing symptomatic relief to patients with chronic conditions. As research advances, evidence continues to accumulate to support the benefits of acupuncture for a variety of conditions.
In Canada, only four provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario) currently have laws that regulate
the practice of acupuncture.
In Ontario, Bill 50 legally recognizes acupuncture as a regulated act, permitting the chiropractic profession, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and other qualified health care providers to practice acupuncture as a treatment modality.
Acupuncture is a treatment modality used by many health care professionals. Most extended health care benefit plans cover
chiropractic therapy and acupuncture is performed independently or as an integrated therapy.
In Ontario, chiropractic/acupuncture is covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) for work-related injuries and by auto insurance if injured in a motor vehicle collision.
In Canada, a variety of acupuncture courses are available; however only two are university-based, representing the highest academic standards of training:
In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted guidelines on basic training for physicians and non-physician providers, standards for safe practice and clinical indications for acupuncture.
McMaster's Contemporary Medical Acupuncture (CMA) for Health Professionals requirements: