What is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine with its own forms of diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and therapies. Chinese medicine views the body as an energetic system in dynamic balance. Unlike allopathic medicine which focuses on symptoms and separates the disease from the person, Chinese medicine emphasizes a holistic approach that treats the mind, body, and spirit as one entity.

Qi, which can be translated as energy or life force, flows in a regular pattern through a system of channels — or meridians — to all parts of the body. When the flow of Qi is unimpeded there is harmony, balance, and good health. When there are Qi blockages, too much or too little Qi, there is an imbalance, which can lead to disharmony and disease. Chinese medicine helps restore the body to balance and works on an energetic level to affect all aspects of a person: mind/body/spirit. The beauty of Chinese medicine is that it can be used to correct imbalances that have become illness and pain, or even correct imbalances prior to the appearance of symptoms, preventing disease. Chinese medicine treatments address imbalances using food therapy/diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, Chinese exercise, and meditation along with Western therapies. Chinese medicine is the longest existing continuous medical system practiced in the world, with over 3000 years of history.


What is Acupuncture?
Chinese traditional medicine includes acupuncture as one of its most commonly used therapies. Acupuncture is the art of inserting fine sterile metal needles into certain body or ear points to readjust the body’s Qi (vital energy) in order to allow the body to heal itself.

Does it hurt?
This is many patients biggest concern regarding treatment and it is certainly a reasonable question. Minimal discomfort, if any, can be expected during an acupuncture treatment. Our needles are extremely thin and flexible. Many people are surprised to learn that seven acupuncture needles can fit inside the shaft of one hypodermic needle. Although sensation can be felt on the skin’s surface during needling, most would not describe it as pain. In fact, many patients enjoy the sensation.

Is it safe?
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in China. It is still the treatment of choice for a quarter of the world's population despite years of comparison to western medicine. Here at Gardens Acupuncture and Wellness Centre, we use pre-sterilized, disposable needles and clean the area of the skin with alcohol before the needles are inserted.

What should I expect after the first treatment?
Depending on the problem being treated and your prior condition, you may experience a wide range of sensations. Since the treatment goal is the restoration and balance of the body's Qi, some patients will experience a burst of energy while others may feel relaxed or even tired. Many people experience a sense of calm and well-being. Occasionally a patient may feel euphoric or light-headed, especially after the first treatment.


Should I eat before the treatment?
A person should not receive acupuncture if they have just eaten a large meal or have an empty stomach. It is best to have something to eat about one or two hours before the treatment.

How long does treatment take?
The average treatment lasts about forty five minutes to one hour. The initial visit may take up to an hour and a half.

What conditions can be treated by acupuncture?
Many conditions can be treated. Among the most responsive are: muscular/skeletal problems such as sciatica, low back pain and arthritis; menopausal symptoms, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, endometriosis, morning sickness; circulatory problems like high or low blood pressure, cold hands and feet; nervous system imbalances, especially anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness or depression; ADD/ADHD; asthma, allergies and sinus problems; and digestive disorders including Crohn's Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea and constipation. In addition, we often treat headaches, vertigo, sports and stress injuries, skin problems, immune system disorders, fatigue, chronic pain and side effects from chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Acupuncture has been found to be especially useful for detoxification from addictive substances such as drugs, alcohol, cocaine, caffeine and cigarettes.

What about healthy people?
Acupuncture is helpful in the prevention of disease by improving the patient's state of well being through energy balance. This way, the stresses of everyday life are more easily handled, and minor health issues can be resolved before they become more deeply rooted problems.

Can acupuncture and herbs help me stop smoking?
Yes. Acupuncture and herbs can be an effective form of treatment for stop smoking. Acupuncture and herbology can significantly reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, sleeping disorders, irritability, agitation, anxiety and other common side effects associated with stopping drug use.

Can acupuncture and herbs help me lose weight?
Yes. Acupuncture and herbs can be effective in weight loss. Acupuncture and herbs can increase metabolism and the elimination of toxins and waste through urination and bowel movements. It can also help with cravings and curbing the appetite. Acupuncture and herbs are effective in helping people lose weight safely and naturally.

Will my acupuncture treatments be covered by medical insurance?

Payment in full is requested at the time of treatment either by check, major credit card, (we accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express), or cash. Many of our patients receive reimbursement from their insurance companies. It is best to consult your insurance company before making an appointment to determine the specifics of your coverage. We will assist you by providing itemized receipts or filling out your insurance forms upon request.


What is Chinese Herbal Therapy?
After diagnosing a pattern of disharmony, a doctor of Chinese medicine often writes an herbal formula based on over a thousand common herbal formulas or from a very large compendium of single herbs. This formula is custom tailored to fit the needs of each individual patient and takes into account one’s constitution, environment, and medical condition. Herbal therapy works in conjunction with acupuncture by providing support for the energetic rebalancing effect of acupuncture. The first Chinese Materia Medica, the Shen-Nung Herbal Classic was begun thousands of years ago and completed in the later part of the fifth century B.C.. Herbology has since evolved in China through usage and observation.
Chinese herbs are classified according to their energetic qualities and functions. They are defined with terms such as warming, cooling, tonifying, or detoxifying, which describe the overall energetic make-up of the herb.
The healing qualities of an herb depend on many things: cultivation, harvesting, storage, selection, discernment of quality, and the different processing methods used. Chinese herbs are often taken in formulas rather than singly. By combining herbs, synergies have been discovered which vastly increase their effects. Also, by blending herbs, one may neutralize unwanted side effects.

Are herbs safe?
Herbs are very safe to use when they are prescribed by a knowledgeable and trained herbal practitioner and taken under close supervision. Receiving herbs from untrained personnel, such as in health food stores, is generally not good practice.

How can I take my herbs?
There are many ways to ingest or use Chinese herbs. They may be boiled in a tea as a decoction, in liquid extract form, in powder form, in pills, or topically, as plasters, liniments, poultices, washes, ointments, and fumigants (burning herbs).


What are common side effects of Chinese herbs?
The most common side effect of herbal formulas are digestive difficulties such as bloating, diarrhoea, and/or constipation. Please notify your practitioner as these effects can be controlled and neutralized by altering the formula or even just altering the dosage or varying the time of ingestion.


Can Chinese herbs interact with any other medication I am taking?
It is possible to have herb-drug interactions. You must notify your practitioner of any and all medications you are taking, be they prescription, or over-the-counter. It is very important to only take herbs which have been prescribed by a trained practitioner who can discern what may be a harmful combination and prescribe alternate herbs to better suit your needs.


When is the best time to take my herbs?

Herbs usually work best on an empty stomach. Allow at least a half hour after taking herbs before eating or taking additional medicine. If you are taking pills/powders, swallow them with warm water to help digest and absorb the medicine. There are exceptions which your practitioner will notify you about and instruct you on the best way to take your herbs.


Dietary therapy
As a very important part of the treatment, often changes to your diet can greatly facilitate the healing process. Your practitioner at Gardens may ask you to make dietary changes that are specific to target your condition, as each patient is assessed and treated as a unique individual. The outcome of your treatment can be greatly enhanced by following the dietary guidelines laid out by your practitioner. If you have any questions, please feel free to discuss them with your practitioner.


What is Tuina?
Tuina is specialized therapeutic massage. It is Chinese physiotherapy to treat physical ailments and involves stretching, joint mobilization, and vigorous acupressure to remove stagnation and alleviate pain. It is especially beneficial for any type of muscular-skeletal concerns but can also be used in internal medicine ( i.e. gynecological and gastrointestinal issues).


Can Western and Chinese Medicine be combined?
Yes. Modern medical wisdom suggests that we combine what is useful from each source. Because Chinese medicine addresses the underlying cause of a condition rather than just the symptoms, it is often helpful to treat conditions generally unresponsive to western drug-oriented treatment. Examples include PMS, headache, vertigo, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, etc. Conversely, some conditions, most notably bacterial infections and conditions with structural changes, e.g., fractures or tumours, respond more rapidly to Western techniques. Very frequently the two methodologies can be combined to the patient's greater benefit. Here are some examples: In the treatment of high blood pressure, acupuncture and herbs, along with dietary salt-restriction, can decrease the amount of anti-hypertensive medication required for blood pressure control. This approach also works for respiratory conditions like asthma in which the Chinese medicine allows the patient to decrease dependence on steroidal inhalers. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are used successfully to offset some of the side-effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, fatigue and a weakened immune system, during the treatment of cancer or AIDS.
In summary, a pragmatic, broad-based approach that acknowledges the strength of each kind of medicine, such as that practised at Gardens Acupuncture and Wellness Centre, allows for the choice of the best treatment options for each individual patient.