Pacific Wellness Institute Clinic: Bloor-Yorkville Toronto

Acupuncture Toronto | Acupuncturist | Most Insurance Plans Covered

Traditional Acupuncture Head Acupoints

Traditional Acupuncture Service in Toronto Since 1990


Acupuncture Treatment at The Pacific Wellness Institute, Toronto


  • Qualifications: Acupuncture is regulated in the province of Ontario. If you are considering acupuncture in Toronto, it is essential that you seek a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac), in order to ensure that the practitioner has sufficient experience and training background in acupuncture. Our acupuncturists at the Pacific Wellness Institute are trained and licensed in Japan, and are Registered Acupuncturists in Ontario.
  • Experience: Our acupuncturists have over 30 years of clinical experience
  • Gentle techniques: Japanese acupuncture treatment techniques used here are not only highly effective but also distinctively gentle and painless.
  • Conditions: Because our procedure is virtually non-invasive, the treatment can be applied safely and effectively for a wide range of health conditions.
  • Research: Our acupuncturists are always trying to keep up-to-date with new research information that is meaningful to improving health of our clients. Our acupuncturist has been actively involved in many cutting-edge research projects on acupuncture and related modalities with Japanese, American, and Canadian universities.
  • Clean Needle and Strict Hygiene Policy: Our acupuncturists follow strict hygienic and clean needle procedures. Always use fresh clean sheets and use only the highest quality disposable acupuncture needles.
  • Therapy room: Acupuncture Treatment is provided in a clean, comfortable acupuncture therapy room.


“Your health concerns will be addressed in the most effective and timely manner possible. The acupuncture treatment system I have developed is designed to relieve your symptoms and improve your overall health simultaneously, which encompasses the knowledge and skills that I have acquired through my extensive research and clinical experience in acupuncture and alternative medicine.”

T.H. Tanaka, PhD, R.Ac, R.TCMP
Clinic Director



What is Acupuncture? acupuncture needle at forearm acupuncture point

Acupuncture is a safe and effective natural therapy that is used to heal illness, prevent disease and improve well-being. Tiny, hair-thin needles are inserted into specific points in the body, where they are gently stimulated to trigger the body’s natural healing response. Acupuncture is effective for controlling pain and can regulate the body’s physiological functions to treat various internal dysfunction and disorders.

Watch this video to learn more about acupuncture


How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture was developed on the understanding that there are twelve main channels, or “regular meridians” running vertically across and throughout the human body connecting the internal organs. It is a tenet of acupuncture that Qi flows along these meridian lines. Qi is somewhat equivalent to the western idea of vitality or life-force.

The operating philosophy of traditional acupuncture is that disease is caused by interrupted energy flow at specific points on the body’s surface. Acupuncture thus involves the insertion of a needle(s) at the affected point(s) in order to stimulate Qi flow and harmonize energy flow in the body. How does traditional acupuncture translate into our modern medical understanding?


Acupuncture Benefits:

What conditions can be treated by acupuncture?

Our acupuncturists at The Pacific Wellness Institute have experience treating a wide variety of health conditions and illnesses such as:


Style of Acupuncture System

meridian acupuncture modelAcupuncture has developed in the past few thousand years, through a rich tradition of trial and error, into an ’empirical’ medicine. In the United States and Canada, many different styles of acupuncture have been introduced such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture, Japanese acupuncture, electroacupuncture, auricular acupuncture, trigger point acupuncture, Korean hand acupuncture, etc. Despite such diversity, acupuncture is often discussed in general form. Physiological response from acupuncture varies greatly based on various factors, not only on practitioner’s skills but also on style of acupuncture.



What is Moxibustion?

moxibustion heat treatmentMoxibustion is a form of heat treatment that stimulates specific acupuncture points of the body. The term is derived from the Japanese “mogusa” meaning herb (mugwort) and the Latin “bustion” meaning burning.  Moxibustion has been an integral part of the original concepts of acupuncture.  It has been used in tandem with acupuncture to treat a variety of diseases throughout Asia for thousands of years.



Acupuncture Treatment Programs

acupuncture needle inserted to woman's forehead


Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture


Is acupuncture only good for pain?

Many people, including some medical professionals, assume that acupuncture is a method of temporary pain-relief only. This misconception may have resulted from acupuncture being popularized in North America since the 70s as a form of analgesia. It is true that acupuncture is commonly utilized as a form of pain control, especially when performed by physicians, chiropractors, or physiotherapists. The main concept of acupuncture as practiced in China or Japan, however is to harmonize internal body systems and address the cause of illness. Therefore, temporary relief of pain is only one aspect of acupuncture.  Acupuncture is a safe and effective method to deal with a variety of health conditions other than those causing pain. The WHO listed a variety of health conditions which can be treated by acupuncture, including organic illness. This is because acupuncture helps to regulate our physiological functioning. Acupuncture primarily affects our autonomic nervous system, which controls virtually our entire visceral function.

Is there any scientific proof that indicates acupuncture works?

In recent medical practice, the doctor’s personal preference or belief has played a diminishing role in selecting the medical procedure for their patient. Instead, much more emphasis has been placed on evidence from rigorous research. This is called evidence-based medicine (EBM). This trend has also influenced the practice of acupuncture and over the last decade, acupuncture has been put through serious testing according to western scientific research standards.

In 1997, the US National Institute of Health conducted a large conference where panels of expert scientists discussed the efficacy and safety of acupuncture based on current evidence. Following the meeting, NIH issued a report entitled the “NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture”, which acknowledged the effectiveness of acupuncture in a variety of health conditions. Furthermore, they recommended that US insurance companies cover acupuncture for treatment of some conditions. A research paper by our acupuncturist, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience was one of the studies reviewed by the NIH and contributed to this positive outcome.

I have tried acupuncture somewhere else before and did not feel any improvement.

It is true that not everyone responds well to acupuncture, however, it is important to remember that failure to respond to the treatment from one acupuncturist does not necessarily mean that your condition cannot be helped by acupuncture. As indicated, currently in Ontario, acupuncture is provided by various individuals with a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Our acupuncturist from the Pacific Wellness Institute has qualifications and extensive experience not only in acupuncture but also in a wide range of alternative therapies and applied physiology fields. Therefore he can, in many cases, offer a unique insight into a variety of health conditions that previously were non-responsive to conventional medicine or other alternative approaches.

Does all acupuncture work the same way?

No, acupuncture does not work the same way even when exactly the same point is used.  Acupuncture is not as simple as inserting needles in acupuncture points matching conditions listed in a textbook (unfortunately, that is how some acupuncturists are being educated in schools in general).  Physiological response from acupuncture varies greatly based on various factors such as practitioner’s skills. In fact, an acupuncture needle inserted in the same acupoint produces a different reaction depending on a variety of other factors such as depth of the insertion, type, intensity, and amount of stimulation.  Some studies further demonstrated that the exact same acupuncture stimulation applied to the same acupuncture point produced a significantly different response depending on the respiration phase and position of the patient during needling.  Experienced acupuncturists carefully consider not only points to be used for each patient but many other vital factors mentioned above in order to provide safe and effective treatment.

Are there any side effects of acupuncture?

As with any medical treatment, there is a chance of developing unfavorable reactions after acupuncture treatment.  Adverse effects of acupuncture reported in the literature include infection, nerve damage, and puncture injuries to vital organs. These serious complications, however, are exceptionally unusual, especially under the care of qualified acupuncturists. In very rare instances, fainting may occur especially among individuals who fear needles, have very low blood pressure, and attended the session with lack of sleep and/or empty stomach.  Tiny bruises around needling sites are not very common but occasionally occur. These usually diminish completely within a week. Compared with medical and pharmaceutical intervention, acupuncture is considered an extremely safe treatment with minimal chance of serious complications.

Do you use disposable needles?

Yes, we have been using only disposable needles since the opening of our practice in fall 1990. Each needle is discarded into a medical hazard container after each single use.

Are there different grades or qualities of needles?

Yes, there are a number of different grades of disposable needles. We use only the highest quality needles on the market. They are manufactured in Japan. The average cost per needle is approximately 5 times higher than common brands. Superior quality pre-sterilized needles are guaranteed for 100% non-contamination. Additionally, the ultra-fine needle tips provide smoother insertion, ensuring much less discomfort during treatment.

Is acupuncture painful?

Even patients who have had a previous experience with acupuncture before coming to Pacific Wellness are pleasantly surprised at how much more comfortable and painless our acupuncture treatments are.  The main reasons why our acupuncture treatments are so painless are the quality and size of the disposable needles that we use and our specialized insertion and gentle stimulation methods.  On rare occasion, especially very few individuals with high sensitivity to pain may still feel some painful sensations.  The treatment will be adjusted according to each individual case.

Is painless, gentle acupuncture less effective?

Some acupuncturists believe that in order to produce a significant effect one must insert needles deeper and administer a much stronger stimulation; however, we do not believe this is necessarily true. Many Japanese practitioners clinically observe significant improvement in their patients’ conditions using an extremely gentle superficial needling technique. Furthermore, our scientific study (Tanaka, et al., International Journal of Neuroscience in 1997) indicated that a very gentle superficial needling stimulation produces an immensely favorable response in the human physiological system. The study demonstrated that a very small amount of superficial stimulation produces significant responses in the body when applied skillfully with consideration of the patient’s physiological condition. Our goal is to deliver the most effective treatment for a patient’s condition while providing the most comfortable treatment experience.

Please see our Acupuncture FAQ page to learn more about Acupuncture system used at The Pacific Wellness Institute.


Did You Know?

How many acupuncture needles can fit inside the opening at the tip of an 18-gauge hypodermic needle?
Japanese Acupuncture Needles with syringe

Forty acupuncture needles can easily fit inside the opening of the hypodermic needle.


New Patient Information

Please call us: 416-929-6958 or follow this procedure.

About Our Acupuncturists

Our acupuncturists are licensed by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (the governing body established by the government of Ontario, under the Regulated Health Profession Act, 1991 and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006).  The law in Ontario requires that every practitioner must be a registered member of the College (CTCMPAO).


Japanese acupuncture textbookTextbook of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion

Co-Authored by T.H. Tanaka, Ph.D.
Director of The Pacific Wellness Institute.