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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient, safe and highly effective healthcare system that originated in China thousands of years ago. The foundations of Acupuncture are rooted in the concept of a Vital Energy or Qi (pronounced "Chee") flowing within all our bodies. This Vital Energy flows in an organized manner, following pathways, or meridians, within the body. Each of these 12 meridians represent a particular organ system within the body. When the body experiences an imbalance or a deficiency in Qi, it often leads to symptoms of disease and/or pain.

At Vista Wellness, our highly trained, board certified Acupuncturists will assess your health, and after a detailed discussion with you, place extremely fine, disposable and sterile needles at specific acupuncture points along the body. Our goal is to activate and/or improve the flow of the body's Qi to promote natural healing and homeostasis. We design our treatments to expel any imbalances within the body in order to enhance your physical and emotional health and well being.

How does Acupuncture work?

This is a very common question with many answers. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Acupuncture works by balancing the flow of Qi within the body, thereby eliminating imbalances and blockages, and supplementing any deficiencies. This explanation is rarely sufficient in the more scientifically based Western world, and as a result, a number of theories have developed over time:

  • acupuncture stimulates endorphin release, thereby reducing pain

  • acupuncture influences the release of neurotransmitters

  • acupuncture influences the ANS (autonomic nervous system)

  • acupuncture improves circulation

  • acupuncture stimulates the electrical currents of the body


What is Qi?

The concept of Qi lies at the very core of TCM and Acupuncture. The Qi within our bodies acts to protect us against disease, illness and pain. As we mentioned previously, our Qi flows in an organized manner along pathways known as meridians. Each of these meridians is connected to a particular organ system within the body.


When our Qi flows in a balanced state within our body's meridians, we experience a feeling of well being and balance, free of pain, illness and discomfort. The opposite, however, is also true. A blockage in our Qi may deprive areas of our body of the nourishment that it requires to function optimally, and we may experience the symptoms of illness, pain or simply a general feeling of being unwell.

How is Qi affected?

Our Qi may be affected by a variety of factors, including trauma (physical or emotional), stress, inactivity, overexertion, sudden seasonal changes or an unbalanced diet. When the body is healthy and balanced, it is able to deal with these onslaughts effectively, returning the body to a balanced state within a relatively short period of time, without any intervention.

If our Qi is unbalanced, deficient or blocked, the body is unable to handle these onslaughts with ease. This is when disease, illness and pain may set in.

How can our Acupuncturists help?

Upon your initial visit to our Richmond BC clinic, we will have an in depth health consultation. A full health history will be taken. Our Acupuncturists may also check your pulse, your tongue, and conduct a physical examination. This information is used to create a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, and with your permission, you may receive an acupuncture treatment. The initial consultation and treatment lasts approximately 90 minutes, while regular follow up visits typically last about one hour.

Why do we feel your pulse and look at your tongue?

There are different pulse positions on each wrist that our Acupuncturists may palpate. Each position corresponds to an organ and meridian in your body. Should any imbalances be present, they may appear in your pulse and guide us toward an accurate diagnosis.

We look at the tongue as a map of the body. The tongue reflects the general health of your organs and meridians. Your tongue colour, shape, and general characteristics are also very useful in assisting us in an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

How many treatments should you commit to?

The number of treatments you will require depends on a variety of factors. Some people experience instant relief, while others may require months to achieve the results they desire. It has been proven that chronic conditions tend to require more time to resolve than acute ones. The treatment frequency is dependent on a number of factors. The general state of your health, the condition of your Qi, your constitution and environmental factors all play a role in how often we would need to treat you to obtain ideal results. Initially, our practitioners may suggest one or two treatments per week until satisfactory results have been achieved. It is, however, dependent on each individual's condition and will be discussed with you upon your initial consultation.

We also have regular patients who visit us on a less frequent basis for monthly or even seasonal maintenance to prevent disease and ensure that they are functioning as optimally as is possible for their individual constitution.

Is Acupuncture painful?

The sensation experienced by patients upon receiving Acupuncture tends to vary. Some feel pressure, a slight feeling of numbness around the Acupuncture point, a feeling of warmth or tingling, or even a feeling of energy radiating from the acupuncture point. Some experience mild discomfort, but most feel none at all. It is useful to remember that acupuncture needles are far thinner than the needles most of us have been exposed to. Most Acupuncture needles that our practitioners use are about the thickness of a human hair.

Is Acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is an extremely safe, natural and drug free medical system. Its most common side effects are feelings of deep relaxation and well being. Our practitioners have received strict and thorough education, and are all board certified by the BC Provincial Regulatory Authority (CTCMA). Acupuncture points are sterilized, and all Acupuncture needles come in individually sealed packets, are sterile, used only once, and then safely discarded.

Are herbs used with every Acupuncture treatment?

Not every Acupuncture treatment requires the use of herbs. There are, however, certain conditions that respond particularly well to a combination of Acupuncture and Herbal supplementation.

Herbal supplementation may be used to strengthen the body, support the body while it heals, or to rid the body of pathogens or excesses in certain areas. Herbal supplementation will be discussed with you should our practitioners think that it might assist you on your path to wellness.

Read More About Herbal Medicine

What conditions can be treated with Acupuncture?

According to studies completed by the WHO (World Health Organization) and the NIH (National Institute of Health), Acupuncture has been proven to be effective in the treatment of an extensive variety of conditions.

Following is a sample of conditions that have been proven to react successfully to Acupuncture treatments by qualified practitioners: (Please note that this list is not inclusive of all conditions that could be treated with Acupuncture)

  • Addiction (smoking cessation, alcohol abuse and drugs)

  • Arthritis

  • Bronchitis

  • Colds

  • Dental Pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Dizziness

  • Eczema

  • Fatigue

  • Gingivitis

  • Heartburn

  • Incontinence

  • Lower back pain

  • Menopause

  • Migraine

  • Nausea

  • Pain

  • Pneumonia

  • Rhinitis

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

  • Sinusitis

  • Sleep disturbance/Insomnia

  • Sore throat

  • Tennis elbow

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia

  • Vomiting

  • Anxiety

  • Asthma

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Colitis

  • Constipation

  • Depression

  • Digestion issues

  • Emotional stress

  • Eye disease

  • Facial Palsytics/Tics

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Headache

  • Hiccups

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Menstrual Irregularities

  • Menopause

  • Morning sickness

  • Osteoarthritis

  • PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

  • Reproductive issues/Fertility

  • Sciatica

  • Shoulder pain/Frozen Shoulder

  • Skin problems

  • Tonsillitis

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI's)

  • Wrist Pain

Acupuncture and Sports

Whether you're a professional athlete or someone who tries to remain fit and active, we often push our bodies beyond their limits. When we do this, we experience injuries, pain and discomfort. Once injury occurs, we often compound the problem with continued activity and aggravation. When injury occurs, our bodies are attempting to convey to us that something is weakened or out of balance, and needs to be addressed in order to heal effectively.

Acupuncture is a safe, natural and effective system in the treatment of sports injuries. Acupuncture may provide immediate pain relief, and assist you in returning to optimal performance while simultaneously providing long term health benefits by balancing the flow of Qi (Vital Energy). When your Qi is balanced and flowing freely, your muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons receive optimal blood flow and nutrition, providing you with the power to perform.

Acupuncture can safely and effectively address stiffness, repetitive sports injuries, pain, swelling, numbness and decreased range of motion.

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

Chinese Medicine has always maintained that true outer beauty is a reflection of inner health and wellness.

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is a safe and effective procedure in which extremely fine, sterile and disposable needles are superficially placed at various Acupuncture points along the body and face. Our goal during Facial Rejuvenation treatments is to ensure a smooth a proper flow of Qi (or Vital Energy) throughout the face and body, resulting in an obvious glow to the face and greater radiance in the complexion. Elastin and collagen production may increase, thereby filling out facial lines and fine wrinkles, adding a firmer look to the skin for a more youthful and glowing complexion.

In our Facial Rejuvenation treatments, the focus is to balance the body and constitution as a whole to enable this wellness to be reflected on the face. In addition, we treat the face directly to pay attention to the areas you would like to focus on. The benefits of Facial Acupuncture are abundant, and may include:

  • Reduction of symptoms of Bell's Palsy, TMJ, Neuropathies

  • Assisting stroke patients in recovery

  • Improved Collagen and Elastin production

  • Improved facial muscle tone

  • Reduced sagging and "filling out" of sunken areas

  • Elimination of puffiness, water retention and bags under the eyes

  • Decrease in visibility of pores and brightening of eyes

  • Increasing local blood and lymph circulation

  • Improvement in complexion/increased facial radiance

  • Stress reduction

  • Promotion of overall health, well-being and increased radiance

An initial course of treatment usually consists of between 10 - 15 treatments, twice a week. An obvious improvement is usually reported after a course of treatments. Patients not only report looking younger, more vibrant and rested, but they also reap the benefits of feeling younger and more energized.

The International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported in 1996 that among 300 cases treated with Cosmetic Acupuncture, 90% had significant improvement following a single course of treatment.

Treatments For Children

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be used as effective treatments not only for adults but for the entire family. In recent years, some of our patients, motivated by their positive results with acupuncture, expressed interest in how acupuncture and Chinese herbs can address their children’s health concerns. That is how the focus of the clinic took a family-oriented shift into providing natural healthcare for patients of all ages.

Although some may feel nervous about trying acupuncture as an option for their kids, acupuncture is well established as a safe, painless and effective treatment for children and used widely around the world. Even more, the whole family working actively towards good health together will inevitably provide you with the best outcomes.


Why Use Acupuncture with Children?

Children, even more than adults, have the unique ability to heal themselves very effectively. Acupuncture provides us with opportunities to establish a solid healthy foundation with very little interference and restores balance and health in the body. This can then help a healthy child to grow into a stronger, healthier, more confident and balanced adult.

Children can respond fairly quickly to acupuncture. The truth is that very little needs to be done with children to achieve great results. Acupuncture can be used as an effective treatment for children who experience the following:

  • Headaches

  • Ear infections

  • Asthma, eczema & allergies

  • Flu, colds and low immunity

  • Digestive aliments like stomach aches, constipation & diarrhea

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Anxiety and emotional imbalances, ADD/ADHD

  • Infant reflux

  • Chronic illnesses

Is Acupuncture Safe for Children?

Acupuncture for children is completely safe! Your child's well-being is a top priority. Dr. Nestorova has training with pediatric acupuncture and also knows to look for warning signs in case a referral to your family doctor is the most appropriate course of action.


A Typical Acupuncture Appointment with Your Child

Most kids don't need to sit still during the treatment. When the child is very young, what usually works best is when treatment is done while they are playing on the floor or in their parent’s laps. Babies usually receive treatments while sleeping or being playfully engaged with their parents or the acupuncturist.

For children under 8, the tiny needles are gently tapped in and immediately removed. We call this procedure ‘taps’. We also use 'buttons', which look like a band-aid with a 1 mm needle in the middle. Most kids would not see or feel that insertion.

There are also tools available to gently stimulate the points without needle insertion at all. These treatments are much faster than the adult treatments, and fewer needles or buttons are used. This is completely sufficient since children are able to respond much quicker to acupuncture than adults.

Children also respond well to Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure and massage such as Tui Na.

The recommendation is usually to start with 8 treatments, once or bi-weekly, in which time we incorporate diet and other lifestyle changes, supplements and/or herbs as well as massage into the treatment. Each session can take as little as 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the child’s age and needs. We always reserve an hour to have sufficient time for the consultation and treatment.

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