Acupuncture – what it is and what it isn’t

As an Acupuncturist, I’ve promoted the benefits of needling for decades.

And while I’m glad to see acupuncture is gaining acceptance by Western medicine practitioners, I also know misunderstandings remain about its efficacy.

Something that all acupuncturists hear from time to time is, “It can’t work because we don’t know how it works.” As with most things with which we are unfamiliar, we tend to seek solid, undeniable evidence before we put our trust into something.

While there is evidence of how and why acupuncture is so effective, not to mention the testimonies of millions of patients over several thousand years, definitive proof is hard to quantify—but not without good reason.

Acupuncture doesn’t lend itself to the typical controlled, double-blind trials that modern science uses to examine medical treatments.

However, recent research using MRIs to see how acupuncture changes activity in the brain is very promising and shows pain relief is occurring.

Some dismiss the benefits of acupuncture by simply saying they don’t “believe” in it.

Acu-puncture is not religious or supernatural. There is nothing to “believe” in. It works to relieve pain and help the body heal regardless of spirituality.

There is no denying the benefits of acupuncture.

Stay tuned for my next column and I’ll clarify some of the most common myths surrounding acupuncture.


Dr. Brigitte Tetrault is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncturist at Courtenay Healing Centre. She can be reached at 250-338-2866 or

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