How To Find The Best Acupuncturist In Toronto
In a multi-cultural city like Toronto, we are fortunate to be citizens who have access to various types of health treatment options, ranging from our standard healthcare system to alternative medical healing practices such as acupuncture. If you are experiencing pain of any kind or are afflicted with a health condition that traditional Western doctors are not able to treat, then acupuncture could be a great natural alternative.
So, how do you find the best acupuncturist in Toronto? Just like with finding any other health professional, it is always worth your time to do your research first. Follow these tips to ensure that you find the right one for your needs:
Is The Acupuncturist Legally Licensed To Practice In Toronto?
The first question to ask is: Is the practitioner licensed to practice acupuncture in Toronto?
In Ontario, acupuncture is a regulated profession. The law requires that all practitioners are to be licensed by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO) in order to legally perform these services, including Traditional Chinese Medicine. Under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006 the government of Ontario established the CTCMPAO as the official governing body of the profession.
Only practitioners who have met the educational and experience requirements, and are in good standing with CTCMPAO, are permitted to use the designations R.Ac (Registered Acupuncturist) and/or R.TCMP (Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner) if he or she also prescribes Chinese herbal medications.
Be aware that there are acupuncturists who illegally use the designations and are practising outside of the law. Make certain to only consult with acupuncturists who are properly licensed by the CTCMPAO.
Experience and Education
Like any other profession, experience is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for an acupuncturist.
Acupuncture is not only a science, but an art where it takes years of dedication and continuous study to develop the skills necessary to correctly diagnose and effectively treat the patient’s condition. It isn’t about sticking little needles into certain points on the body and magically healing it, as if the procedure was like flipping a light switch. The acupuncturist must have a considerable understanding of the body system and its complexities and use his/her experience to identify the most effectively treatment plan. There is a vast difference between just having learned acupuncture theory as a fresh graduate and a seasoned practitioner with decades of real-life experience.
Also, make sure that the school that the acupuncturist graduated from is reputable and is accepted as an accredited institution by the CTCMPAO.
Although acupuncture is a holistic medical approach that takes into consideration the entire body system to treat different ailments, there are certain conditions such as fertility issues and cancer support treatments that require supportive measures and facilities.
If you have special needs, make sure to find an acupuncture clinic that has the supportive facilities, and an acupuncturist who has taken further measure to certify themselves in that area of specialization.
For all other general pains and ailments such as back pain, arthritis, migraine headaches, sciatica, stress, allergies, digestive & respiratory problems, finding a pain clinic in with an experienced acupuncturist is the most important consideration.
What Are The Other Services Offered?
Typically, acupuncture works by penetrating the skin with thin needles to stimulate specific points and energy channels, called meridians. The needles are stainless steel and one-time-use tools that superficially penetrate the skin.
This encourages the flow of the vital energy, or Qi, that causes pain and contributes to disease. The needles can be left alone in the skin for up to 30 minutes; they can be twirled, heated or even charged with a subtle electric current.
Although treatment with needles is the most effective method, there are supplemental treatment methods to the main needle treatment that can be administered alone. Make sure that the acupuncture clinic offers the following alternative services as a stand alone treatment:
Moxibustion is heat stimulation with an herb called mugwort. Usually, a cigar-like stick is lit at the tip and held just above an acu-point or meridian point to warm the area. This promotes the flow of blood and Qi where it has otherwise been stagnant. Moxibustion is used in conjunction with needle therapy in deficient conditions that result in pain, immune deficiency, sluggish digestion, fatigue, lethargy or depression.
Cupping is a technique that uses a glass, plastic or bamboo cup to “suck” a certain acu-point or meridian. Sometimes a flame will be lit inside the cup to create a vacuum. Other times a pump isused for suction. It is placed on the skin and left there 5 to 10 minutes to pull up sections of the skin. This method opens the pores, restores circulation of blood and Qi, removes obstructions and provides an exit for toxins to be drawn out of the body. Cupping can be effective for certain kinds of pain, respiratory disorders, digestive issues and arthritis.
Acupuncture Massage (Tui-Na):
Depending on the condition being treated, massaging can be incorporated into the regimen. Chinese massage, called Tui-na has the benefit of penetrating the muscle tissues while working with the same principles of traditional Chinese medicine. This is deeply relaxing and is very effective at relieving congested blood and Qi in certain areas of the body. Tui-na can help alleviate pain in the neck, shoulder, back, abdominal and joints and can reduce headaches and migraines.
Traditional Chinese Medicine:
After the initial moxibustion, cupping, massage and acupuncture treatments, the acupuncturist will typically recommend an medicinal herbal formula or two. Chinese herbal formulas are complex mixtures of various herbs that tone deficiencies, reduce excessive conditions and otherwise balance the body where it is needed. Somebody with arthritis, for example, would be given an herbal tea blend that stimulates blood circulation and clears the toxic heat that has accumulated in the joints, thereby reducing the pain and inflammation. Teas are typically supposed to be drank 2 or 3 times a day for the most benefit.
Ask Around To Find The Best Acupuncture Clinic In Toronto
Acupuncture has become a very popular over the years as a natural alternative medical approach to health and well being, and chances are that you know someone who has had benefited from treatments. Ask them about their experience and if they know any qualified acupuncturists that can help you with your condition.
Make sure to visit the website of the acupuncturist that you wish to consult in order to get more information, and read their bio to ensure that they are qualified, licensed, and experienced. Contact them by phone or email to schedule an appointment and ask if they offer a free consultation.
Are Acupuncturists Eligible To Be Providers Of Insurance Reimbursement Claims?
As acupuncture is covered under most insurance plans, make sure to contact your provider to inquire about your coverage plan including, any deductibles, reimbursements, limitations on numbers of visits, among others.
In Ontario, as of April 1, 2013 only licensed acupuncturists registered with the CTCMPAO are eligible providers for claims reimbursements. If your acupuncturist is not registered, then your insurance coverage will not be valid. Make sure to inquire about the acupuncturist’s licence with the CTCMPAO.
You can expect real results from visiting a top Toronto acupuncture clinic. You can feel confident about your health and feel a sense of well being. Make sure to have realistic expectations, as your condition may require several visits. Although you may feel immediate effects of acupuncture, it is important to continue your treatments to the very end to ensure long-lasting benefits.
If you have any questions regarding acupuncture treatments in the Toronto area, please feel free to call us at 416-788-3837.