Traditional Chinese Acupuncture & Cupping Therapy

What is Traditional Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, sterile, metal needles to stimulate specific points on the body, known as acupoints. They are one-time use, sterile instruments that are discarded after each treatment. 

There are over 365 acupoints that run along mapped pathways throughout the body, called meridians. Activation of these points can allow the practitioner to control the flow of qi or blood to those areas of the body. 

Typically, needles stay inserted for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.  In addition, most treatment sessions may include additional modalities like Cupping, Guasha, Moxibustion and/or Tunia Massage.   Skip down to the ‘Supplementary Modalities‘ section to learn more about them.  

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy involves the creation of vacuum in a cup to allow for the suction of the skin, muscle and facia. It is used to increase blood flow of the body and to relieve issues related to chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain. It can also be used to draw blood or expel pathogens from the body to treat respiratory or immune issues such as coughs, colds and fevers.   

cupping therapy massageCupping may leave marks that range from light red to dark purple and are a result of the suction created in the cup. They are believed to encourage blood flow to the area and allow the body to heal the area. They usually disappear between 3- 5 days depending on the body type. 

There are many types of cupping therapy such as fire cupping, slide cupping, suction cupping, dry and wet techniques etc. Cups can be made from several materials including glass, silicone, bamboo, plastic etc. Each cup is disinfected or sterilized after each use to ensure the patient’s safety.

What can Acupuncture & TCM treat?

Here are just a few areas that can be successfully be treated with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine:

  • Musculoskeletal Pain Management
  • Emotional Issues (Depression / Anxiety / Stress / PTSD / Emotional Trauma
  • Sleep disturbances & Insomina
  • Immune Support
  • Women’s Health & Menstrual Issues
  • Digestive disorders
  • Cosemetic Acupuncture** 
** Cosemetic Acupuncture is currently unavailable due to COVID-19 related public health restrictions

Desiree Chester

Desiree Chester, Acupuncturist

Our Acupuncturist: Desiree Chester

Desiree Chester is our resident Registered Acupuncturist.  She enjoys treating musculoskeletal pain ailments, sleep & fatigue issues as well as helping patients struggling with anxiety, depression and emotional trauma.   Desirees philosophy is to seek and find the root cause behind your symptoms while supporting you to recovery with education and healthy lifestyle choices.  To learn more about Desiree, please see her full profile in our ‘Meet the Team‘ page of our website.

Gua Sha
Gua Sha a scraping technique in which a smooth-edged tool (often made of bone, stone, metal etc.) is pressed against the skin and stroked on a lubricated area of the body until a rash is formed. In Chinese, “Gua” means scraping and “Sha” means red. So, we scrape till the area is red!

Gua Sha treatment

This technique is used for a similar purpose as cupping techniques i.e. increase blood flow, relieve issues related to chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain, expel pathogens from the body to treat respiratory or immune issues such as coughs, colds and fevers. 

Gua Sha tools are also disinfected and sanitized after each use. 

Shiatsu or Tuina Massage

Shiatsu or Tuina are forms of body manipulation or massage that uses TCM theories to treat issues. Like acupuncture, they use acupuncture points to stimulate certain areas of the body.

Some common techniques include gliding, kneading, rolling, pressing, pulling, chopping, and vibrating. Body manipulation promotes blood circulation, invigorates qi and treats a variety of musculoskeletal pain, digestive issues, respiratory and even reproductive system disorders. 


While moxa cannot be used at the clinic due to fire regulations, your practitioner can provide you with moxa and will demonstrate the proper technique of using moxa at home where applicable. 


Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy. It uses the burning of mugwort (or moxa) near the skin’s surface to warm acupuncture points and control the flow of qi and blood through the body. Moxa can come in many grades, colours and forms, the most common being the rolled cylinders that look like cigars. 

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

You may be surprised to know that most patients barely notice the insertion of these fine needles.  The average acupuncture needle is only the width of a single strand of hair!  If you do feel any discomfort, it should not hurt more than the sensation of a tiny mosquito bite 🙂

Are TCM Acupuncture visits covered by Insurance?

Acupuncture provided by a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.) is typically covered by most health insurance plans.  Our Acupuncturist is licensed & registered with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist of Ontario (CTCMPAO).  Be sure to review your insurance policy & available coverage prior to attending your appointment(s).  At the end of your appointment, your acupuncturist will be happy to provide you with a receipt necessary for claim reimbursement.

TCM and Acupuncture appointments do not charge HST. The price listed is what is paid! 

What can I expect at my First Visit?

At the initial appointment, the practitioner will gather information regarding the your concern, medical history, relevant family health history etc.  This initial intake can take up to 30-45 minutes to ensure all the important areas are covered.  Of course, all of your health information is confidential and secure. 

Follow up appointments may have shorter versions of the intake as long as the reason for the patient returning is the same as the initial intake. If the patient is returning with a new concern the practitioner will have to collect information regarding the emergent signs and symptoms.

What happens at a Follow-up visit?

The practitioner will conduct a Pulse and Tongue diagnosis at the start of each visit. They might also conduct additional diagnosis through palpation, listening and smelling. Based on these findings and the patient’s medical history the practitioner will then form a TCM diagnosis and treatment plan. They will explain the treatment plan to the patient including any supplementary treatment modalities that will be used such as moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, or bodywork (tuina and shiatsu). 

The practitioner will then proceed to administer treatment using applicable safety measures, treatment protocols and draping techniques. An open line of communication is always maintained to ensure that the patient feels as secure as possible. It is the patient’s right to seek further information or to modify or stop treatment at any time.  




What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems originating in China over 2000 years ago.

There is an increasing number of studies that show TCM’s effectiveness in treating concerns such as pain management, chronic emotional imbalances, fertility, and even cosmetic applications. Many hospitals and care facilities are now encouraging TCM to be used as a safe alternative to anesthesia, and IVF treatment clinics often recommend TCM as a supplementary treatment to optimise success rates.  

With a greater number of today’s population becoming more self-aware about the importance of holistic approaches to health, TCM is quickly becoming a pillar in the Integrative Healthcare industry. 

It takes a “big picture” approach to diagnosis and aims at identifying patterns of trauma, illness, habits etc. to form a diagnosis and treatment plan that can address the root cause of the issue so the body can rest, recoup and restore itself. 

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