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About TCM :: What to Expect at Your Appointment
About TCM Acupuncture :: Other TCM Treatments
Treatment Costs & Course
:: Books & Links



TCM Around the World

Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM has been practiced in China for thousands of years and the World Health Organization recognizes it as an effective primary care for more than forty diseases. Every member of the family, including seniors and children, can benefit from it.

Some of the conditions that TCM can help include:

  • Skin conditions, acne, facial rejuvenation (TCM acupuncture "facelift")
  • Nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, diarrhea, constipation
  • Sinus congestion, common cold, asthma, bronchitis, allergies
  • Smoking cessation
  • Sport injuries, muscle strain, arthritis, traumatic injuries
  • Neck, shoulder, arm, knee, hip and leg pain and weakness
  • Headaches, migraines, low back pain, bursitis, disc disease
  • Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, senility
  • Bell's palsy, peripheral neuritis, stroke residuals
  • Herpes zoster pain
  • Depression, nervousness, insomnia, stress control
  • Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, TMJ, tinnitus
  • Urinary tract infection, stress incontinence
  • Impotence, menopause, infertility in women and men
  • PMS, irregular, heavy or painful menstruation, low energy

If your health concern isn't seen on the above list it does not mean that TCM can’t help you, please call and we can discuss your specific needs.

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How does TCM work?

Disease is seen as a state of imbalance and disharmony. TCM pieces together all the diverse signs and symptoms of ill health until a picture of the whole person appears and a TCM differentiation is formed. These signs and symptoms may not be regarded as problems in themselves, but as warning signs, pointing to imbalances in the patient. This piecing together is the very heart of TCM. Effective use of TCM against the many illnesses it treats demands the application of TCM concepts. This involves Qi, Channels, Organs, Excesses, Stagnations, Five Elements, and Yin and Yang.

The history of TCM

Many cultures have had similar ideas to that of TCM. In 1550 B.C. the Egyptians, in the Papyrus Ebera, described vessels that were similar to the Chinese meridians. Brazilian cannibals shot tiny arrows with blowpipes to diseased parts of their bodies to cure disease. Archeological finds in China included acupuncture needles dating back to 1000 B.C.

Traditional Chinese Medicine was extremely popular in China until Chang Khi Chek took power in 1932. Acupuncture was banned in the cities and Western medicine promoted. When Mao Tse Tung took over in 1945, Western influences were minimized and TCM was restored as the method of healing. In 1972, a New York Times journalist was in China and had an emergency appendectomy where acupuncture was used as the anesthetic. This caused a renewal of interest in acupuncture.

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What happens in a TCM consultation?

Be heard. Be healthy. A major foundation of TCM is listening. By taking the time to talk with you, Michelle obtains an overall picture of your physical and psychological well-being. Before any treatment decisions are made, Michelle and you will perform a detailed account of your personal history, examining your lifestyle, diet, energy levels, sleeping patterns, past illnesses, and emotions to assess your general constitution. Your pulse will be felt (TCM has 28 pulse types with 3 different positions and levels) and your tongue will be evaluated for color, coating, shape and moisture. With this information a TCM differentiation will be made, this is an invaluable part of your treatment. All treatments will be based on your TCM differentiation. This consultation will last 60 minutes.


What happens after the consultation?

Usually, after your TCM consultation acupuncture will be performed. Tiny, hair like needles will then be put in place and will remain in place for about 20 minutes. It is relaxing. Many patients will fall asleep. Herbals, nutritional therapy, cupping, moxibustion, and self-acupressure may also be recommended.

Is there anything your practitioner needs to know?

Apart from the usual medical details, it is important that you let your practitioner know:

  • if you have ever experienced a fit, faint or funny turn
  • if you have a pacemaker or any other electrical implants
  • if you have a bleeding disorder
  • if you are taking anti-coagulants or any other medications, vitamins or herbals
  • if you have any particular risk of infection 

How long does a treatment take?

The first visit generally lasts from 60 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on the length of consultation and whether acupuncture will be done. Subsequent treatments will usually be about 30-45 minutes. 

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TCM Acupuncture deals with the treatment and prevention of disease by stimulating acupoints on your body, using fine, single use, sterile, disposable needles. Acupoints are located on meridians. Meridians are vessels that carry Qi in specific patterns over the surface of the body and are responsible for connecting your body systems and nourishing the tissues and organs. Electro stimulation can also be used to enhance point stimulation.

Qi is a concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine used to describe one’s “life force” or “vital energy”. There is really no word in the English vocabulary that truly describes Qi. Qi flows smoothly and is of a sufficient amount when you are healthy. A stagnation or imbalance of Qi will cause disease. Acupuncture regulates and harmonizes the flow of Qi. It can not control or force Qi. A TCM acupuncture treatment lasts about 45 minutes.

Does it hurt?

In most cases, insertion by a skilled practitioner is performed with little discomfort, although some areas of the body prove to be more sensitive than others. If there is discomfort, you should tell your TCM practitioner so alterations can be made. After the needle is in place, you may feel the Qi, which could imitate any number of feelings from pressure to a sense of movement. These sensations dissipate quickly. Your comfort is paramount to an effective treatment. The majority of patients find the treatments very relaxing and many fall asleep during treatment. The time the needles are left in place vary from patient to patient and the condition being treated. Generally, they stay in for about 20 minutes. 

Does acupuncture have side effects?

You need to be aware that:

  • Drowsiness may occur after treatment in a small number of patients, and, if affected, you are advised not to drive.
  • Minor bleeding or bruising may occur after acupuncture in about 3% of treatments.
  • Pain during treatment may occur in about 1% of treatments.
  • Symptoms may get worse after treatment (less than 3% of patients). You should tell your TCM practitioner about this, but generally this is a positive sign of therapy.
  • Fainting may occur in certain patients, particularly at the first treatment. Eating 1 hour before the treatment will help to prevent this.
  • In addition, if there are particular risks that apply in your case, your practitioner will discuss these with you.  

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What is the science behind acupuncture?

Scientific evidence indicates that acupuncture achieves therapeutic effects by increasing circulation, increasing or decreasing neurotransmitters, and stimulating hormone release. Acupuncture can be used for illnesses of a mechanical nature (such as muscle pain caused by injury) by simply relaxing the muscles tissue and increasing circulation to the injured area. There are naturally occurring chemicals, such as endorphins and enkephalins, that act as natural pain modulators that have been shown to change and increase with acupuncture. Acupoints are electrically different from surrounding skin and their electrical activity will change before and after stimulation.

In specific organ disease, a number of acupuncture points along that organ's acupuncture meridian had a markedly decreased electrical resistance compared with the surrounding skin (e.g. in Kidney disease several of the kidney points had a lowered skin resistance). It has been shown that the stimulation of acupoints (associated with the eye) will produce the identical increased brain blood flow as that which is caused by flashing a light into one’s eyes (as measured by a MRI).

The existence of the meridian system was further established by French researcher Pierre de Vernejoul, who injected radioactive isotopes into the acupoints of humans and tracked their movement with a special gamma imaging camera. The isotopes traveled thirty centimeters along acupuncture meridians within four to six minutes. Vernejoul then challenged his work by injecting isotopes into the blood vessels at random areas of the body rather than into acupoints. The isotopes did not travel in the same manner at all, further indicating that the meridians do indeed comprise a system of separate pathways within the body.  

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Cupping is a treatment for pain and common cold, it moves Qi and Blood and releases exterior pathogens. Cups are placed on your back to create suction, it is sort of like a reverse massage, instead of pushing down to relieve tension, the cups will pull up.  


Moxibustion uses the ground leaf of Ai Ye or Mugwort to warm and stimulate acupuncture points. The herb is gently applied to specific acupoints. Mugwort eases pain and moves Blood and Qi in you body. A moxibustion session is helpful for numerous ailments including menstrual problems, arthritis, ganglion cysts, and pain that is alleviated by heat. The moxa smoke can help sinus congestion and elevate mood.  

Herbal Medicine

How many times have you gone to a health food store and not recognized half of the names on the shelves, let alone known what they do? Michelle is well-versed in TCM herbal medicine, often combining between 5-16 herbs to make a herbal formula specific to each patient and their TCM differentiation.


Her precise methods mean you get the right herbs for the right ailment and see the most effective results in the shortest amount of time. TCM has a pharmacopoeia of hundreds of different substances. They may be used as the primary treatment or to augment the TCM acupuncture, moxibustion, or cupping treatment.  


Nutritional Therapy

In Western thought, food is seen as having energy: In Chinese medicine, food is seen as having power. Therefore, nutritional therapy is used to treat disease and to maintain health, in conjunction with acupuncture or herbal medicine. Foods can be used as medicine. Pears, for example are very good for dry skin or a dry cough. Nutritional therapy will vary with the seasons and the health condition.

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How often do I need to come for treatment?

This is very individual and depends upon your specific health needs. A treatment course can range from a couple of treatments to 30 treatments. Chronic illness usually requires a longer course of treatment (e.g. 3 treatment courses with one course consisting of 3-5 times per week for two weeks). Acute cases may respond best to fewer treatments (1-3 times per week for 10 or less treatments). Some people will notice the results of the acupuncture immediately after or during the first treatment. Others may notice them 2 days after and still others may notice results weeks later. In most cases, after the illness has improved, the patient would be requested to return periodically for preventative maintenance.

How much does it cost?

Some health insurance companies cover TCM acupuncture. Please check with your company to verify coverage. If you do have coverage be sure to keep your receipts.

TCM Acupuncture
45 Minutes
Facial Rejuvenation
60 Minutes
Music Therapy
20 Minutes
20 Minutes
TCM consultation
15 Minutes
60 Minutes

Taxes are not included in the above prices.

Books & Links


Beinfield, H. & Korngold, E. (1991). Between Heaven and Earth. A Guide to Chinese Medicine. New York: Ballantine Books - A great introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Kaptchuk, Ted J. (2000). The Web That Has No Weaver. Understanding Chinese Medicine. New York: Contemporary Books - A good overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Associates / Links

David Ip
Lauren Straub
Nicole Mitchelson


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Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
T: 306-352-3433

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