Acupuncture is a highly effective ancient healing treatment that is being offered our certified Yonge and Eglinton Physiotherapist and Chiropractors at Lawrence Park Health and Wellness Clinic, in Toronto. Practitioners at our midtown multi-disciplinary clinic are fully certified in medical acupuncture (which is a modification of the traditional Chinese form), where scientific understanding of anatomy, neurology and human physiology are utilized to select specific points in the body. This evidence-based, medical approach to acupuncture is a gentle therapy to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, promote healing and healthy blood flow, enhance faulty movement patterns and improve performance as well as overall well-being. In simple terms, medical acupuncture provides treatment for conditions involving the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, and nerves of the body. Medical acupuncture treatment at our clinic does not include treatments for: hormonal or systemic issues (for example, issues with eyesight or hearing, libido, infertility, menopause, genitourinary problems, addiction, or psychological issues). Many health organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), have recognized medical acupuncture as a safe and highly effective modality in treating many musculoskeletal conditions (i.e. issues related to the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones of the body).
How Does Acupuncture Work?
A variety of scientifically proven physiological changes occur in your body during an acupuncture treatment:
- Inhibits pain signals to the brain
- Stimulates production of natural healing hormones
- Improves nerve conduction & function
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves blood flow
- Stress reduction
- Decreases muscle tension
- Reduces scar tissue
- Promotes healing
- Restores range of motion
- Improves immune system
How is Medical Acupuncture Performed?
Target structures are selected based on the examination findings and single-use-only, sterile needles are inserted with the aim of stimulating a healing response. Electrical acupuncture or EA stimulation of the needles may sometimes be utilized to amplify the healing effect; this is done by using special electrodes to connect the needles to a TENS unit and stimulating the needles (and thus your body part being treated!) with a very specific frequency, depending on your injury. Intramuscular stimulation of the needles, or IMS acupuncture is an anatomy specific form of acupuncture performed by specially trained therapists, and is also used at our clinic. IMS uses neurophysiology to identify and treat underlying nerve irritation(s) and muscle dysfunction(s); this is done by inserting the acupuncture needle into the affected area and very carefully and specifically manipulating manually in order to treat the injured tissue. In essence, the needle becomes an extension of the practitioners hand to feel and treat inside the muscle tissue – this is a very effective way to treat stubborn trigger points, fascial adhesions, built up scar tissue, and muscles that aren’t working properly.
For acupuncture to be most effective, a complex strategy of needle insertion is utilized to stimulate responses on 3 different levels:
- To directly affect muscles, joints, ligaments or other tissues involved in the dysfunction (local level)
- Targeting the nerves that supply the area at the spinal level (segmental level)
- Adding special traditional Chinese acupuncture points for a direct or reflexive response (systemic level)
At our clinic, your Toronto acupuncture treatment will often be done in combination with other manual therapy techniques, including Active Release Technique (ART), Graston Technique, soft tissue work on your muscles, spinal / joint manipulations or mobilizations, stretching, rehabilitative exercises, etc. Combining acupuncture with physiotherapy and / or chiropractic care often gives effective, longer-lasting results!
What Does it Feel Like & is it Safe?
At Lawrence Park Health Clinic, we practice Contemporary Medical Acupuncture, in which a painless needling technique is used. Did you know that the needles we use are only 0.22 mm or less in diameter? These needles are very different than the needles you are likely familiar with at your medical doctor’s office – unlike a needle used for a vaccination, acupuncture needles are very thin, flexible, specially coated and designed specifically for your comfort during an acupuncture treatment. You may feel a small prick as the needle is inserted and sometimes a bit of a dull ache or warmth once the needle is in place – this sensation is actually a good thing and can indicate that your body is responding well to the acupuncture treatment! Traditional practitioners might suggest that this sensation has to do with the Qi (“chi”) or innate flow of energy in your body stimulating healing; however, in western medicine, we associate this with a local controlled inflammatory response, which helps to promote healthy blood flow, nervous system stimulation and healing. Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years; it is extremely safe and has been shown to be an effective method of treatment for many neuromusculoskeletal conditions and other ailments, as well as a great way to maintain good health and general well-being. As with any medical procedure, there can be some side effects including minor bleeding, bruising, infection, nausea and dizziness. Side effects are rare, and the needles used at Lawrence Park Health Clinic are always sterile single-use disposable needles, which helps to prevent infections.
Who Can Benefit From Acupuncture?
- Neck & Back Pain
- Shoulder pain & Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Elbow & forearm pain
- Carpal Tunnel & Wrist pain
- Hip & knee injuries
- Shin Splints
- Ankle Sprains & Plantar fasciitis
- Headaches & Nausea (including morning sickness)
- Ligament Sprains
- Muscular Strains
- Arthritis Conditions
- Stress & Insomnia
How Many Acupuncture Treatments Does it Take to Get Better?
This depends on the condition and person being treated. If the condition is fairly new and uncomplicated, a patient may only need four to six acupuncture treatments. However, if it is more serious or a chronic condition, the patient may require more acupuncture treatments. This is something that your therapist will discuss with you after going through a complete medical history and performing an exam of your body part to be treated – no two patients and no two cases are ever the same – we tailor your treatment to you, and only you!
How Long Does Each Acupuncture Treatment Take?
The first visit will include a full assessment and takes approximately 40 minutes. Subsequent treatments range from 30-40 minutes depending on what other therapies (i.e. rehabilitation, ART, Graston) are also performed.
Do Insurance Plans Cover Acupuncture?
The majority of Canadian workers have partial or full coverage for acupuncture services in their workplace health care plans. OHIP does not cover acupuncture services. After treatment at our clinic, each patient is provided with a detailed invoice detailing the services provided, the credentials of the treating acupuncture provider, as well as payment details for reimbursement. Please note: At Lawrence Park Health Clinic, we provide Medical Acupuncture – this is different than Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture, which is provided by a TCM practitioner (Traditional Chinese Medicine Provider / Herbalist). Our practitioners are University level, medically trained acupuncture providers and do not practice herbology or Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each individual’s insurance plan is different – please check with your insurance company prior to receiving treatment to ensure that your plan covers medical acupuncture. If you are unsure, we are always happy to speak to your insurance company, so feel free to have them give us a call!
In summary, the goals of medical acupuncture are to provide clinical improvements in your condition or symptoms through the activation of the body’s natural pain control and healing mechanisms.
Our Yonge Eglinton Toronto Acupuncture Practitioners
Dr. Katherine Au, Toronto Chiropractor | Acupuncture Practitioner
BSc Kin (Hons), DC, DAc, FCCRS(cand.), CSCS, ART®, GT®
Dr. Katherine Au is a Toronto Chiropractor, receiving her Doctor of Chiropractic from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College after graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Kinesiology. She is also credentialed in Contemporary Medical Acupuncture from McMaster University and has completed her Fellowship in Chiropractic Rehabilitation Sciences in Toronto.
Dr. Au is a certified Toronto Active Release Techniques Soft Tissue Treatment (ART®) provider in Spine, Upper Limb, Lower Limb, and Long Tract Nerve Entrapments, a movement-based soft tissue technique that treats injuries as well as overuse conditions, restores function, strength, range of motion and optimizes performance. She is also a certified Level 2 provider of Graston Technique (GT®), an instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization enabling the effective breakdown of scar tissue, fascial restrictions and treatment of other acute and chronic injuries.
As a complement to her manual therapy skills, Dr. Au is an experienced Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a L1 National Coaching Certificate holder. She has extensive experience working with a wide array of individuals from infants to seniors, prenatal and postnatal mothers, recreational and professional athletes, office workers, physical labourers and individuals with special abilities. Dr. Au has a special interest in the rehabilitation of sport- and repetitive strain-related injuries, as well as exercise pre/re-habilitation for the aging population, including osteoporosis and fall prevention. She is also certified in infant and paediatric chiropractic care, with expertise in treating pregnancy related pain, moms with breech positioned babies, infant torticolis, and wellness care to ensure young babies, kids and adolescents meet and exceed their proper growth and neurological milestones.
Dr. Au has always been passionate about fitness, healthy eating and living well, which is what inspired her to pursue a career in the health and fitness industry. She enjoys being an active member of her community and is involved with the Ontario Chiropractic Association, the Ontario Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Liaison, the Toronto Sport and Social Club and the Running Room. As both a coach and multi-sport athlete herself, Dr. Au understands the cyclical challenges and triumphs of training, proper nutrition, competition, injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
Dr. Au utilizes a movement-based, functional approach when working with her patients and clients. She incorporates advanced neuromusculoskeletal assessments with traditional orthopaedic testing in order to diagnose and treat not only the area of complaint, but the root cause of the problem. As a Chiropractor who is also a personal trainer, Dr. Au has a unique knowledge of biomechanics, anatomy and exercise physiology, which allows her to seamlessly implement manual therapy, training and exercise rehabilitation treatment programs to improve functional ability, core stability, strength, power, and endurance. Patient education, preventative stretching / strengthening exercises, precise hands-on treatment, physical rehabilitation, nutrition and ergonomic advice are key elements of Dr. Au’s practice as she works with her patients to exceed their health, wellness and performance goals. Dr. Au is excited to be a part of the team at Lawrence Park Health and looks forward to meeting you and ensuring you are stronger, healthier and more fit than before your initial injury!
Active Release Techniques® Certified Provider | Graston Technique® Provider | Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
Email : [email protected]
Dr. Alexandra (Allie) Dennis, Toronto Chiropractor | Acupuncture Practitioner
B.Sc. Kin (Hons.), D.C., CSEP-CPT, EIMC, SFMA
Dr. Allie graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Doctor of Chiropractic from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto. She was the recipient of the Mark A. King Memorial Award for outstanding proficiency in the field of diagnostic imaging as well as the Harold Beasley Award for Excellence in Jurisprudence. She holds a Bachelor of Science Honors Specialization in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario, and is also a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Exercise is Medicine® Canada (EIMC) practitioner through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP). Dr. Allie is an SFMA Certified practitioner focusing on functional movement assessments. She is a Certified First Responder with the Canadian Red Cross and has experience with on-field and sideline care for sports teams. Dr. Allie believes in living a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. She is very active and loves sports, especially soccer where she has competed at the international level. She has a passion for travel and has had the opportunity to visit almost every continent – she was even selected as one of 13 interns to participate in a chiropractic outreach in the Dominican Republic during her final year at CMCC.
Dr. Allie loves working with patients of all ages and abilities! She has had the opportunity to work with everyone from elite athletes (both as a Student Athletic Trainer for the women’s Varsity Rugby team at Western and as a Team Host for the Chilean Blind Soccer team at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto in 2015) to weekend warriors to office workers and those with chronic pain and several comorbidities. She uses a functional approach tailored to each patient to get people back to doing what they love. In addition to her strong manual skills (adjustments, mobilizations, soft tissue therapy), Dr. Allie uses active care as an integral part of her treatment plans in order to get you stronger, happier and healthier. She will progress through rehab with you in the clinic and send you away with homework to maintain and build on the the progress made together.
Dr. Allie’s love of health and fitness drives her to always go above and beyond for our patients. Her welcoming and positive attitude, attention to detail, and exceptional knowledge of the human body and physical medicine make her an invaluable member of our healthcare team. She is excited to be a Toronto Chiropractor at Lawrence Park Health Clinic!
SFMA Certified Practitioner | EIMC Practitioner | First Responder
Clarence Lau, Toronto Physiotherapist | Acupuncture Practitioner
BSc (Hons), MPhtySt
Clarence obtained a Master of Physiotherapy Studies degree from the University of Queensland in Australia. Prior to this, he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science at McMaster University in Hamilton. During his time in Australia, he worked at a private clinic in downtown Brisbane and completed level 1 and 2 of Lyn Watson’s shoulder specialization course, as well as Level 1 of his Kinesio Taping certification. Upon his return to Canada as a Toronto physiotherapist, Clarence has obtained his certification in medical acupuncture, an excellent modality for treating pain, headaches, trigger points and stubborn “knots” in muscles, reducing swelling and inflammation, expediting the healing process and increasing muscle recruitment.
Clarence enjoys treating a wide variety of injuries with a particular interest in neck, low back, and shoulder pathologies. He is well versed in post-surgical rehabilitation, core strengthening, sports and overuse injuries, as well as seniors’ care. Clarence believes in providing an active approach to treatment with hands-on manual therapy, one-on-one supervised exercise and advocates self-management in order to prevent re-injury. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, playing ultimate frisbee, basketball, soccer and participates in long distance running events.