Dr. Tan Shen - Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
phone: 604-669-8865
cell: 604-618-0568
Chinese Version / 中文


What is Acupuncture?

What kinds of the needles are used nowdays?

Is Acupuncture painful?

How long does Acupuncture take? How often should I have a treatment?

What do I expect after an Acupuncture treatment?

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

What is Moxibustion?

What is Cupping?

Does insurance cover Acupuncture?

Treatment RoomWhat is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is a treatment method whereby a specialized acupuncturist uses fine, pre-sterilized, disposable needles to stimulate the acupuncture points (acu-points), which are distributed along the meridians. Ancient Chinese Medicine practitioners believed that the human body has a symmetrical meridian pathway, with the major points being, Qi (vital energy), and blood flow. When Qi and blood circulation get disturbed by deficiency, blockage, counter-flow, etc, our bodies respond by developing symptoms of illness. Through the needles' stimulation to the specific acu-points, acupuncture treatments provide the healing effects to the individual by means of a natural, distinctive, and harmless technique.

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What kinds of the needles are used nowdays? Acupuncture needles are metal products. Specifically, the body of the needle is composed of stainless steel, and the handle of the needle can be made from copper, silver or plastic. Of course, they are pre-sterilized and disposable, to ensure cleanliness and safety. Depending on the individual, the location of acu-points, and the condition being addressed, the length and thickness of the needles may vary.

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Is acupuncture painful? Acupuncture is not painful. Most people may feel tingling, mild soreness, numbness, heaviness, distension, and/or an electric sensation. These sensations indicate the positive adjustments to the body through the movement of Qi. Occasionally, the patient may feel slight discomfort, but it will subside and diminish when the needle is fully inserted or removed.

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How long does Acupuncture take? How often should I have a treatment? The first visit will take approximately 60-90 minutes, which includes a detailed consultation. The following treatments will then be approximately 45-60 minutes. The number of acupuncture treatments required varies from patient to patient. Treatment cycles of eight to twelve sessions, once or twice a week, are usually recommended. For acute problems, a few sessions may be sufficient, however, for chronic diseases, one or two treatments a week, for several weeks may be advised.

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What do I expect after an Acupuncture treatment? During your first visit, the doctor or acupuncturist will ask you health-related questions, look at your tongue, and feel your pulse. This information will be used for a proper diagnosis and the appropriate acu-points will be selected for you. Depending on the individual and the condition being treated, the effects of these acupuncture treatments may fluctuate. Some patients will feel the positive effects of acupuncture in a mere one or two treatments, while others may adopt a slower healing process. Positive attitude will often facilitate the healing process.

Most people who receive acupuncture treatments will feel relaxed both physically and mentally during or after the treatments. This is due to the fact that acupuncture can promote smooth circulation of the Qi and blood to travel within the meridian system. It also improves the function of the immune system (known as 'correcting Qi' in TCM) to benefit health and fight disease.

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Herbal ProductsWhat is Chinese Herbal Medicine? Chinese Herbal Medicine in an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Like acupuncture, it has been an effective means for combating various health issues since ancient times and is still extremely popular in China and many other countries. Chinese Medicine doctors initially diagnosis you based on the information provided during your consultation, and then prescribe the necessary herbal formulas.

In the past, herbal medicine required boiling at specific temperatures and lengths of time, but nowadays herbal powder is a much more convenient way to receive herbal medicine treatments. For example, you only need to dissolve the prescribed herbal powder in hot water and wait until it is tepid enough to drink. There are also herbal pills, herbal tablets, and herbal syrups available. Chinese Herbal Medicine can be used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments. Like acupuncture, it shows positive results quickly. However, for some chronic diseases, it may take longer for the body to respond.

Herbal medicine is mostly derived from plants such as: leaves, seeds, buds of flowers, fruits, twigs, stems, bark, roots, peels of trunks, shells, minerals, or animal products (without harm to the animal), such as: Cicada shells. Therefore, herbal medicine is safe and non-toxic. Due to its fully natural state, herbal medicine is generally not very tasty, but can be tolerated. Please consult with your TCM doctor if you wish to take herbal medicine while on other prescribed drugs.

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Moxa Sticks used for MoxibustionWhat is Moxibustion? This is another ancient Chinese Medicine technique which uses a specific Chinese medicinal herb. This herb, called Moxa, is made from dry Mugwort leaf/Artemisia (Ai Ye). The method involves burning the Moxa cone or Moxa stick in order to penetrate heat and warmth to the acu-points, meridians, and affected areas. Based on basic Chinese Medicine theory, Moxibustion should be used on cold and/or weak conditions within the body. Moxibustion is considered to be especially effective in the treatment of chronic problems, "deficient conditions" (weaknesses), and gerontology.

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Chinese Cups used for CuppingWhat is Cupping? Cupping therapy is a process in which vacuums created by jars are sucked onto the body to remove the blood stasis and cold-dampness. Plastic and glass are the most common materials used today, replacing the horn, pottery, bronze and bamboo cups used in earlier times. The low air pressure required is created by heating the cup or the air inside it with an open flame or by bathing it in hot scented oils and then placing it against the skin. In practice, cups are normally used only on softer tissue, which has the ability to form a good seal with the edge of the cup. Skin may also be lubricated, allowing the cup to move easily and slowly across the skin.

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Does insurance cover Acupuncture? Ask your employer about your extended health benefit plan which usually covers $300 to $700 for acupuncture each year, or reimburses 70% - 100% of the treatment fees.

For Medical Service Plan of BC (MSP) beneficiaries, who are residents of B.C. and qualify for the Premium Assistance (family income below $42,000), MSP pays $23 per visit for a combined annual limit of 10 visits each calendar year for the following supplementary benefit services: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopath, physiotherapy, and non-surgical podiatry.

ICBC, WCB and Extended Medical Plans welcome. Detailed reports of the treatments prescribed will be provided.

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