Is pain taking the spring out of your Salt Spring?

Acupuncture Provides Effective Rapid Relief from Acute and Chronic Pain


Pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.

Physicians know that conventional options to manage pain leave much to be desired and that more evidence-based treatment options are needed. Patients also understand this, and turn to complementary therapies for pain more than for any other diagnosis.

The use of acupuncture tripled within a 10 year span. The research base for acupuncture is also rapidly expanding. From 1991 to 2009, nearly 4000 acupuncture research studies were published, with studies on pain accounting for 41% of this literature.

What is acupuncture & how does it work?

Acupuncture is a 2000-year-old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment. It is a time-tested, safe, all-natural, drug-free and effective treatment for pain of all types. It involves the insertion of small stainless steel needles in specific areas of the body to relieve pain and promote healing.

Needles are inserted into specific locations based on a combination of the following:

According to TCM diagnosis & meridian theory
These include adjacent and distal points, away from the injured area to address the underlying cause and release referred pain.

Directly into the painful area (Ashi or trigger points)
This helps reduce pain by relaxing the tense muscles involved in the pain/injury, bringing it back to its normal state. These points will often generate a strong twitch or muscle release when stimulated with the needle.

Note: Physiotherapy IMS (intramuscular stimulation) is a derivative of this technique. Also often effective, but its administration is typically more aggressive and does not include traditional meridian theory points.

Mechanisms of Acupuncture

Nervous System

Sensory nerves bring information about pain, heat, cold and other senses to the spinal cord. However, there are nerve fibers that send signals faster than others. For example, if you hit your elbow, the sensory nerve fibers will send a pain signal to your peripheral nervous system, but rubbing your elbow will provide relief. That is because the activated nerve fibers from rubbing the elbow are “faster” than the signals activated by the pain. Acupuncture triggers these faster signals thus overriding the pain signal.

Releasing endorphins
Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture are used in different frequencies to produce simultaneous release of different opioid peptides, such as b-endorphins, for analgesic and therapeutic longer lasting pain-relieving effects.

Improving blood circulation
Needle insertion creates a minor therapeutic injury to the area which creates improved circulation in the injured area. Inflammatory chemicals produced by the original injury are then ‘cleaned-up’ by the increased blood circulation from the acupuncture, facilitating a reduction in redness, swelling, and pain.

Cupping Therapy

Cupping is an additional treatment that is sometimes added to acupuncture treatment sessions. It involves a suction technique to surface areas of the body to expel stagnant blood of the injured muscle, optimize blood circulation, and stimulate healing.

Tui Na Bodywork

Tui Na is a hands on massage/manipulative branch of TCM. When appropriate, this may also be included during an acupuncture session to further support the actions of the acupuncture with nervous system messaging, endorphin release, and blood circulation.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Finally, Chinese herbal medicine may also be recommended to aid in expediting healing of damaged or inflamed tissues between treatments. Administration may be oral (powder, pills, tincture), or topical (tincture, salves, poultice), and formulation will be customized depending on individual needs.

Common Pain Conditions Treated By Acupuncture & TCM

Headaches / Migraines
Back Pain

  • Sciatica
  • SI Joint Pain

Neck / Shoulder Pain

  • Impingement
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Tension
  • Whiplash

Upper Extremities

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfer’s Elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis

Pelvic Pain

  • Painful periods
  • Endometriosis
  • Vulvodynia/vestibulitis


  • Acute Sprain / Strain
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Sports

Lower Extremities

  • IT Band
  • Arthritis

ICBC claims

If you have pain from a motor vehicle accident (MVA), ICBC covers Acupuncture treatment costs. If you or someone you know has been injured in an MVA covered by ICBC on or after April 1, 2019, you/they are automatically pre-authorized (regardless of fault) for up to 12 acupuncture sessions within 12 weeks of the date of the accident.

  • No doctor referral required
  • No upfront payment required
  • All you need is your ICBC claim number