Physiotherapy Acupuncture FAQ

Physiotherapy Acupuncture FAQ

Physiotherapy, Acupuncture

Would I benefit from acupuncture?

Currently, there is good scientific evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for the following conditions: lower back pain, elbow pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, and chronic pain. Research is ongoing for many other conditions, though the results are promising for pains in the hip, foot, and shoulder. 


What is the science behind acupuncture?

The science behind acupuncture is complicated and, frankly, not well understood. Simply put, acupuncture provokes multiple biological responses, both locally (at the site of insertion) and systemically (in the whole body). One such biological response is the release of endogenous opioids (opioid peptides) that induce pain relief. 


Do you incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine into your acupuncture practice? 

Yes, my acupuncture training included elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In addition to the Theory of Ying and Yang, the Theory of Qi, and the Theory of Five Elements, my training emphasized the use of the Theory of the Channels and Collaterals (Meridians). This theory forms the basis for acupuncture, and can influence which points I select for treatment. 


What should I feel during an acupuncture treatment?

Contrary to popular belief, acupuncture is not meant to hurt. Though you may feel some mild pain, most people report minimal sensation upon insertion. Once a needle is fully inserted, you may feel a mild, dull ache or a light tingling sensation. Some also report feeling a general heaviness in the treatment area. 

How many acupuncture treatment sessions do I need?

While the results vary from person to person, one systematic review found that six or more treatment sessions were required for significant improvements. Treatments were typically performed two to three times per week, and lasted fifteen minutes. 


Are you a Registered Acupuncturist / Can you bill the treatment as acupuncture?

No, I am not a Registered Acupuncturist, and cannot bill as such. I am a Registered Physiotherapist with additional training in acupuncture, which allows me to perform acupuncture as part of a physiotherapy treatment session. Therefore, all treatments, even those that include acupuncture, will be billed as physiotherapy. 


How do you choose the acupuncture points?

There are not set rules as to how many needles to use for each condition, or exactly which points to use. Generally, a combination of points local to the injury/pain and distal to the affected area is used. Local points are good for activating the release of neurotransmitters, while distal points help when pain is too acute to allow local points. Following an initial assessment, I will determine which combination of points would work best for you. 


If you believe you may benefit from physiotherapy with the use of acupuncture, book an initial physiotherapy assessment at The Massage Clinic Health Centres today. 

Alyson Schwichtenberg

Registered Physiotherapist


Do you know when to seek a physiotherapist?

Do you know when to seek a physiotherapist?

Alyson Schwichtenberg, BSc. KIN (Hons), MScPT, Registered Physiotherapist

Do you know when to seek a physiotherapist?

When experiencing pain or discomfort many people wait weeks or months before booking an appointment with a physiotherapist. Many people hope that the pain will eventually diminish with time or rest. However, this does not usually happen. Seeing a physiotherapist when the pain first starts can help ensure a more timely recovery and return to your everyday activities.


Pain is the body’s way of telling you something is not as it should be; therefore, listening to this warning is important. You may cause your condition to worsen by postponing physiotherapy, further delaying your return to pain free activities.


To prevent you from waiting too long to book a physiotherapy assessment, here is a list of signs that you would benefit from an appointment:

– If your pain is constant

– If your pain has not improved since the initial onset

– If your pain is brought on by a specific action or activity

– If your pain is affecting your ability to function


Though pain is often the reason people seek physiotherapy, pain is not the only thing a physiotherapist can help with. Physiotherapists can also help prevent injuries, increase mobility, and restore proper functioning.


What to expect during your physiotherapy assessment and treatments


At The Massage Clinic Health Centres, your initial physiotherapy assessment is a 45-minute appointment. During this time I will take a verbal history of your symptoms, then conduct a thorough physical exam. The session will likely conclude with a discussion about your diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan, and demonstration of your home exercises.


Physiotherapy follow-up appointments at The Massage Clinic Health Centres are likely different than what you may have experienced at other clinics. Most treatment sessions are 30 minutes, and that entire time is spent with myself, the physiotherapist. This is unlike many other clinics, where you see the physiotherapist for a short amount of time and then are treated by an assistant or hooked-up to machines. This style of treatment allows me to change my course of treatment during a session depending on how you are responding, which helps promote better outcomes.


If you are interested in learning more on how a physiotherapist can help get you back to pain-free living, book an initial physiotherapy assessment at The Massage Clinic Health Centres today.


Alyson Schwichtenberg, BSc. KIN (Hons), MScPT, Registered Physiotherapist