Acupuncture FAQs

What is acupuncture and how does it work?

What can acupuncture treat?

What are the benefits of Community Acupuncture?

How frequently should I get treatment?

Is acupuncture safe?

Can I receive acupuncture if I am pregnant?

Should I receive acupuncture if I have a cold or flu?

Why do I need to make an appointment? Isn’t it OK if I just drop-in?

Will my health insurance or MSP cover the cost of acupuncture?

Do the needles hurt?



What is acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles (as thick as a human hair) into the body for therapeutic effect. Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on theories of Qi (energy) and Xue (blood) flow through distinct channels or meridians. At Heart & Hands, we practice a unique distal balancing system using points mainly on the arms and legs.

If you have any additional questions about acupuncture or what it is like getting treated, considering reading, Why did you put that needle there?“, published free, online by Manchester Acupuncture Studio.

The role of an acupuncturist is to assist the body to shift back into a balance.
The body inherently knows balance, but will periodically stray off the path. We believe health and wellness is a PROCESS that will wax and wane with the seasons, illness or injury, aging and life changes. By committing to consistent treatments, it will allow you to weather life’s ups and downs (read about treatment frequency).



What can acupuncture treat?

Common colds/flu, allergies & asthma
Digestive complaints- indigestion, acid reflux, IBS, etc.
Insomnia, restless leg syndrome
Hypertension, diabetes
Stress, anxiety, depression
Neck, shoulder and back tension
Tendonitis, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder
Chronic pain & arthritis
Smoking cessation & withdrawal support
Headaches, migranes & TMJ
Menstrual irregularities & menopause
Fertility & pregnancy support
Morning sickness & labour induction
Side effects of radiation, chemotherapy & other medications
Immune boosting
…wondering if acupuncture can help ______________? Don’t hesitate to ask!



How frequently should I get treatment?

Here are a range of recommended treatment frequencies. The frequency of treatment is dependent on a variety of factors including health history, severity, season and/or climate, age, gender as well as how your body responds to the first 1-3 sessions. The response to acupuncture varies greatly from individual to individual. Receiving acupuncture is a PROCESS that is closely dependent on treatment frequency as well as a life style – stress level, relationships, diet, exercise, sleep, hormones, etc.

We will discuss adjustments to your treatment plan depending on how you are feeling and if you re-aggravate your condition or experience a relapse in symptoms. These treatment frequencies are guidelines and flexible to your healing process.

Keep in mind that one of the most common factors that impedes your healing process is COMMITMENT to a treatment plan! If you do not come in, we cannot help you! If you commit to us, we are committed to supporting your healing.

10 out of 10 AKA
“at the end of my rope”

Daily until we see some change.
7-9 out of 10
3x week for 2-3 weeks, then re-evaluate.
5-7 out of 10
2x week for 2-3 weeks, then re-evaluate.
Mild or long-standing issues
(3 mos – 1 year)

1x week for 8 -10 weeks, then re-evaluate.
Very long-term/chronic (+1 year)
2x week for 10 weeks or 3 x week for 7 weeks, then re-evaluate.
Chronic stress (and related symptoms)
1x week during stressful periods and until stress subsides.
Most other issues
1x week till 50% improvement, then every other week, then once a month.
Wellness and Prevention
At least monthly and especially before travel, during seasonal changes, or times of higher stress.
Gynecological including hormonal, menstrual pain and/or irregularity
1x week until a normal cycle is established, then every other week until patient experiences 2 normal menstrual cycles.This is followed by monthly –
the week before menses
Chronic conditions with poor prognosis (ie. degenerative conditions- MS, Parkinson’s, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, osteoporsis, arthritis, etc.)
1x week as general maintenance


What are the Benefits of Community Acupuncture?

A Strong Therapeutic Effect
All living things GENERATE and EXCHANGE magnetic and electrical energy. Acupuncture increases the flow of these energies, which aid in healing. When people receive acupuncture together, these energies are collectively magnified and the therapeutic value of the treatment increases.

Less Isolation
Being treated in a group is a powerful social experience. To be in the quiet presence of others during a treatment reminds us that we are not alone. Reducing isolation can strengthen a person’s resistant to disease.

Acupuncture is a Process
We recommend regular and frequent treatments. In Asia, a typical treatment plan for a chronic condition can be 2-3 treatments a week for a couple months. Most of our patients do not need that much acupuncture, and most people require a course of treatments, not just a single session. Community acupuncture is set up to facilitate this process so that you may come in as often as needed to get better and stay better.

Affordability & Accessibility
Generally, acupuncturists see only one patient per hour and charge $60 to $120 per session. At Heart & Hands, we don’t. We believe that acupuncture does not need to be expensive to be effective. Our sliding scale ($20-50) allows more people to access acupuncture and to use it as a preventative, long-term health practice. It becomes affordable to come as often as needed to GET well and STAY well!



Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture works quickly, is versatile and can be used frequently. It is extremely safe with  mild side effects, which may include minor bruising, bleeding or light-headedness. It does not interfere with medications and has been safely used on elderly, pregnant women and children (yes, we treat kids, ask us for details!). ONLY single-use, disposable, sterile needles are used and are shallowly inserted into through the skin.



Can I receive acupuncture if I am pregnant?
At Heart & Hands, we think Community Acupuncture is an ideal therapy for therapeutic and preventative measures throughout the pregnancy journey.

Modified treatments are extremely helpful for supporting pre and post-natal conditions.  Midwives common recommend acupuncture for a variety of issues including:

  • Fatigue & body pain
  • Morning sickness & other digestive issues
  • Breech or posterior babies
  • Labour preparation & induction (an effective alternative to medical induction)
  • We sometimes recommend acupressure for further support at home.
    Click HERE for some resources.
  • READ MORE about how acupuncture can be part of a happy, healthy pregancy


Should I receive acupuncture if I have a cold or flu?

So, I’m feeling the early onset of a cold, should I get acupuncture?
When would it be ideal to nip that cold in the bud? An acupuncture tune-up at this point would be ideal for stopping further progression of the illness and stimulating your immune system. As well, you could also use the nap! This will assist in fighting off the virus or dealing with a cold for a much shorter duration.

  • Day 1-2 of a cold OR if you’ve had a week or two of nagging baseline symptoms
  • Running nose/nasal congestion with CLEAR mucus
  • Minor scratchy or tickly throat
  • Achy muscles/joints
  • Generalized pressure headache
  • Fatigue, possibly poor appetite

Sometimes, your cold may have set in very quickly or that it is too far along. You are better off staying home resting and not risk infecting everyone in the clinic room. When to stay home in bed or to seek medical attention if you infection gets nasty?

  • Fever & chills or high fever (greater than 38C)
  • Sinus pain, chest congestion, productive cough with white, yellow (viral) or green (bacterial) mucus
  • Severely sore throat, possibly swollen glands, white coating in the mouth/throat
  • Difficulty breathing when lying down, chest pain
  • Body rashes, swollen joints
  • Severe headache & neck pain (without history of injury)

For more information click HERE



Why do I need to make an appointment? Isn’t it OK if I just drop-in?

Yes, our group setting definitely lends to more flexibility when clients drop-in or bring a 2nd person. However, in order for the practitioner to serve you well and decrease waiting times, we encourage clients to book appointments in advance.

Drop-in appointments are first come, first served, if there is space available. We prioritize those clients who are pre-booked over clients without appointments. And while we do our best to accomodate everyone who comes through our door, if you arrive too close to lunch break or closing, or during a busy time, we cannot guarantee that we can fit you in…and we really hate to turn people away.

So, we stress the importance of appointments. And we thank you in advance that if you do your part, we will also do ours!



Will my health insurance or MSP cover the cost of acupuncture?
Acupuncture is covered by most extended health plans in BC Please contact your employer or extended health provider to find out about your coverage.

Students!! UVic Student Health Plan and Camosun College student plan also cover acupuncture fees.

B.C. residents who qualify for premium assistance (an income of $30,000 or less)
Medical Services Plan will cover  $23 per visit to a maximum of 10 visits per calendar year.
Find our about our DIRECT BILLING TO MSP Service and how you may qualify for up to 10 sessions FREE!



Do the needles hurt?

Sensitivity will vary from person to person. Insertion of the needle may generate a split second prick, this is followed by an unusual sensation of either aching, heaviness, warmth or tingling. Patients often become accustomed to sensations with regular treatments and most leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.