The location and use of these acupuncture points are based in Traditional Chinese Medicine, developed over the last two thousands years. In Chinese Medical theory, the body contains qi (energy) and blood as well as yin (nourishment and structure) and yang (energetic function). Qi and blood flow through a number of meridians throughout the body. Any blockage of qi or blood or any imbalance of yin and yang can result in pain, pathology and disease.
A low-amplitude electrical current is applied to acupuncture needles that are inserted at specific locations on the body.
You will feel a slight pulsing or tingling at the site. It will not cause pain. If you've ever used a TENS machine at physiotherapy, you'll recognize the sensation.
Laura Allison Iler Kaufer
BSc.(Hons) MSc. R.Ac
I am a Registered Acupuncturist with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO). Trained in acupuncture, cupping, tuina (Chinese medicinal massage), guasha (soft tissue therapy), moxibustion and electro-stimulation (more details below), I use acupuncture and these other techniques to relieve pain, promote healing and repair the body.
In 2016 at the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine in China, I completed an in-depth internship of neurological and pain conditions, including neck and back pain, Bell's Palsy and stroke recovery. I also studied pediatric treatments for respiratory, digestive, and developmental problems in children using tuina massage and acupuncture. It was a profound and life-changing experience, as acupuncture for kids is one of my clinical focal areas and there aren't many local practitioners who focus in this area.
Here in the Greater Toronto Area, I work at three clinics: Body In Tune (Liberty Village), Stouffville Natural Health Clinic (Stouffville), and West End Mamas York Region (Newmarket). I have worked with Toronto AcuBirthing to provide acupuncture and Chinese medicine to support pregnancy and ease the transition from pregnancy to parenthood.
I attended Eight Branches Academy of Eastern Medicine earning an Acupuncture and Moxibustion Diploma in 2015. My previous education was a B.Sc.(Honours) in Nutritional Sciences from University of Toronto and a M.Sc. in Human Nutrition at McGill University. Work experience in nutrition and agriculture has taken me to the Canadian Arctic, East Africa and Latin America. I am passionate about having a positive relationship with food and leading a balanced lifestyle, and I bring this mindset to each acupuncture treatment.
For six months of the year, I am an avid paddler and member of competitive dragonboat (Chaos) and outrigger canoe (Maka Koa) teams. The other six months are spent cross-training and staying in shape to maximize the time on the water. As an athlete, I have a keen interest in optimal body conditioning and sport performance. I use Chinese medicine as a way to balance, tonify, and repair for sports conditioning and injury prevention and rehabilitation.
My contact and booking information is here. I look forward to hearing from you!
This is done to enhance the therapeutic effect of the acupuncture treatment, to stimulate the tissue and to alleviate pain. The intensity and frequency of the electrical current depends on the condition being treated and your level of comfort.
Guasha can be used to treat headaches, back pain and respiratory illness, among other conditions.
What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion produces therapeutic effects that include warming the body, improving blood flow and relieving pain and discomfort.
What is Electro-stimulation?
What is Guasha?
Guasha is a type of soft tissue therapy. It involves scraping the skin with a device to increase blood flow and decrease myalgia (muscle pain) for more than 3 days. The treatment is quite relaxing. Some blotching (petechiae) of the skin occurs, but dissipates over several days.
This therapy has been shown to have immune boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, in addition to reducing tension and pain. For more information, see Arya Nielson PhD's work here.
Moxibustion is the burning of a specific Chinese medicinal herb externally over specific acupuncture points.
This herb is called mugwort, or artemesia vulgaris, in Latin.
Acupuncture involves inserting very thin, sterile needles at specific points along the body. Only single-use, disposable needles are used.
What is Acupuncture?
Does it hurt? Pain is not a desired nor acceptable outcome.
Acupuncture needles are much, much thinner than those used by phlebotomists to take blood. See the difference in the accompanying graphic!
During an acupuncture treatment, you may feel a dull ache, pressure, warmth or throbbing around the acupuncture needles.
If there is pain or discomfort, let me know and I will adjust the treatment.
What to expect during a treatment with me?
Expect to be heard and to be treated respectfully without judgement.
The reasons for your visit will be addressed using Chinese Medicine's holistic approach, informed by my training in Canada and China.
Initial Visit (75 minutes)
What brought you into see me? What are your short- and long-terms goals regarding this condition? We start our discussion here.
Next, I will inquire about your general health, and ask questions that relate to Chinese Medicine diagnosis, such as whether you sweat at night, have dry skin, or urinate frequently. I will also ask to examine your tongue and pulse, as these aid my understanding of the internal state of your body.
As part of your initial visit, you will receive an acupuncture treatment. This can include cupping, tuina massage, guasha, moxibustion and electrical stimulation (see below for more information). The goal of the each treatment is to affect local and systemic (whole-body) change. For those of you who don't like needles, don't worry! Not everything I do requires needles.
We will end the treatment with a discussion of the expected results, time frame and frequency recommended for treatment of your main health conditions.
Follow-up Visit (60 minutes)
For the first 5-15 minutes we will review any changes and/or results from the previous treatment. Then you will receive an acupuncture session tailored to you. Treatments generally include some combination of acupuncture, cupping, tuina massage, guasha, moxibustion and electro-stimulation. These sessions are generally more treatment and less talk.
Every part of the treatment requires your consent. I will do my best to explain what I am doing and answer your questions. We will work together to develop a method of treatment that suites you.
What is Tuina?
Tuina is the Chinese medicine version of therapeutic massage, similar to Shiatsu.
It involves the use of pressure at various acupuncture points and stretching along meridian channels and fascial connections.
These techniques can help alleviate pain, increase circulation of blood and lymph, and restore health.
Modern medicine has found that acupuncture points correspond to areas of nerve bundles, muscle trigger points and fascial connective tissue. Physiologically, it works in a number of ways:
Acupuncture increases blood circulation to promote healing.
It regulates nerve pathways affecting the release of opioid peptides and other neurotransmitters that can alleviate pain.
Acupuncture promotes rest and repair by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This down-regulates the 'fight or flight' sympathetic nervous system that is associated with stress.
With each micro-injury the body's awareness and repair response is heightened in the local area, with effects in the whole body.
As a result of numerous micro-changes during a treatment, Chinese Medicine acupuncture can be used to treat a variety physical, mental and emotional conditions. This can be an effective complementary approach to Western medicine.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a method of deep tissue massage and myofascial release.
It is the only therapy that provides an upward and outward release of the muscles and fascia below. It's quite a unique experience!
The treatment involves having a glass, plastic or silicon cup applied to the skin with suction. This produces a release in the tissue below, which increasing blood flow and reduces tension. As a result of the increased blood flow, red marks can appear. These marks commonly last for a couple of days or up to 2 weeks. Please note, I only perform dry cupping, not wet or blood cupping.
Cupping is a useful modality to treat low back pain, as well as frozen shoulder and stiff neck. It is also frequently used for muscle spasms and lung congestion.
Read my recent blog post to find out more.