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.
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 and pregnant women. ONLY single-use, disposable, sterile needles are used and are shallowly inserted into through the skin.
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.
Practice makes perfect!
What can acupuncture treat?
Common colds/flu, allergies & asthma
Digestive complaints- indigestion, acid reflux, IBS, etc.
Insomnia, restless leg syndrome
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
…wondering if acupuncture can help ______________? Don’t hesitate to ask!
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.
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 $35-55 sliding scale 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!
Why a sliding scale?
We operate using a $30-60 sliding scale, which is available to anyone at anytime with no income verification, no questions asked. Clients are encouraged to choose an amount that is affordable and sustainable over time so that they can continue to come as often as necessary to get and stay well.
When using our sliding scale please first and foremost keep in mind your financial means and the frequency you are receiving treatments. However, also consider that this is how your practitioners make a living and how the clinic covers the cost of operating.
The sliding scale in place so we can treat people from a wide spectrum of financial situations, which is why we want to keep the bottom end of our sliding scale as accessible as possible. If you are tight for money, pay at the low end of the sliding scale, but those of you who have extended healthcare benefits or those of you that find the higher end of the sliding scale within your means, we encourage you to pay more. Also, if your financial situation or treatment frequency changes, please adjust your payments accordingly.
We acknowledge that healthcare is a basic human right and our current medical system leaves large gaps for getting adequate care; hence, we do our best to provide the infrastructure in which clients can choose what works best for them while juggling their budget in a high-cost city such as Victoria.
We strive to maintain a balance between accessibility of our services and meeting our bottom line as a small business that pays a living wage.
Here is a resource that may help you determine where you fall on a sliding scale:
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.
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 adjust to life’s ups and downs.
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 months – 1 year)
1x week for 8 -10 weeks, then re-evaluate.
2x week for 10 weeks or 3 x week for 7 weeks, then re-evaluate.
(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, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.)|
1x week as general maintenance
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 and other medical professionals commonly recommend acupuncture for a variety of issues including:
- Morning sickness & other digestive issues
- Breech or posterior babies
- Labour preparation & induction (an effective alternative to medical induction)
- Fatigue, anemia & body pain
- 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 pregnancy
Should I receive acupuncture if I have a cold or flu?
For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, STAY HOME if you have any cold or flu symptoms and
call 8-1-1, the Nurses Hotline for further instructions and whether to be tested.
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
Is your space accessible?
Our lobby and clinic rooms are wheelchair accessible.
Our bathroom is accessible for walkers and manual wheelchairs.
Please contact us in advance, 250-590-3185, if you have specific accessibility needs. With advanced notice, our staff and volunteers will do our best to meet your needs.
Why do I need to make an appointment? Isn’t it OK if I just drop-in?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are appointment-only.
We are also waiving fees for cancellations within 12 hours due to illness or if you are nervous about coming into the clinic.
We charge a $35 fee for missed appointments or cancellations (not due to illness or emergency) with less than 12 hrs notice.
We now have a waitlist in our online booking system. We will call you if anything becomes available. NOTE: that the waitlist is attached to the practitioner. It’s easy to do when you are logged into our booking system.
Please take the courtesy to at least call the office at 250-590-3185 prior to arriving to ensure we have space for you. And of course, we have online booking available 24 hours a day, and you can book right up until 10 minutes before your appointment.
We uphold a commitment to be open and ready for you during our office hours. We ask that you respect our time, and the clients who have pre-booked appointments. If you arrive during a busy time, walk-ins are first come, first served.
What if I have specific questions for the practitioners?
We are a pretty bustling place during our office hours, so we encourage clients who have complex questions or medical history to email us via our contact page , so we can review your information and respond accordingly.
It may not be possible to make time to speak to you in-person during a shift and disrupts appointment timeslots booked by your fellow clients.
We thank you in advance for the consideration!
Will my health insurance or MSP cover the cost of acupuncture?
YES! Acupuncture is covered by most extended health plans in BC. Please contact your employer or extended health provider to find out about your coverage. The UVic Student Health Plan and Camosun College student plan also covers acupuncture fees.
However, due to the high volume nature of Community Acupuncture, we do not direct bill to Extend Health Providers. Our $35-55 sliding scale is also intended to be affordable to individuals who do not have extended health coverage and need to pay out of pockets for such expenses.
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!
We will bill MSP directly for $23 per session and you will be responsible for paying the remaining $12-32 per session to fall within our $35-50 sliding scale.