Q: My family doctor recently refers me to an acupuncturist, but I am afraid of needles. Is acupuncture safe?

A: A common anxiety expressed by new patients is whether it is safe to have the body punctured by needles. This is understandable. The answer would have to be that if the practitioner does not know what he or she is doing, it is possible to inflict injury with an acupuncture needle. A fully trained and experienced practitioner knows how to use needles safely and effectively, and avoid any potential danger areas. However, with the correct needling techniques there is no danger of this whatsoever. The importance of seeking a registered acupuncturist with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC cannot be overstated. In the hands of such practitioners, acupuncture is very safe and effective.

Q: I know acupuncture has proven to be a very successful treatment for pain relief. Is it beneficial for other health conditions?

A: The World Health Organization has cited 104 different conditions that acupuncture can treat, including migraines, sinusitis, common cold, tonsillitis, asthma, inflammation of the eyes, addictions, myopia, duodenal ulcer and other gastrointestinal disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, Meniere's disease, tennis elbow, paralysis from stroke, speech aphasia, sciatica, osteoarthritis, variety of rheumatoid conditions. There is also evidence to suggest that acupuncture is valuable in the treatment of environmentally induced illness due to radiation, pesticide poisoning, environmentally toxic compounds, and air pollution.

Q: I am interested in acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine, how can I look for a qualified member?

A: Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is a recognized and regulated profession under the B.C. Health Professions Act. You can look up or inquire a licensed member in your vicinity through or telephone the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia (CTCMA) at (604) 638-3108.