Last week, Fraser Health advised patients of an Abbotsford acupuncture centre to get tested, because they may have been exposed to HIV and Hepatitis B and C. The authority said that acupuncture services offered by Duan (Deborah) Hu at the Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Centre located at McCallum Road did not meet infection prevention and control standards and posed a health hazard to patients of the Centre.
Dr. Michelle Murti, Fraser Health Medical Health Officer said, “Based on the investigation of the Centre, we are alerting clients of Ms. Hu that they may be at increased risk of exposure to blood borne infections that can be transmitted by improper and unsanitary acupuncture
Asian Journal spoke with Dr. Carol Nicolle, who is a Registered Acupuncturist practising in North Delta / Surrey for past 18 years to find out basic things that a patient should know before beginning a
treatment with them.
Asian Journal: What is Acupuncture?
Dr. Nicolle: Basically acupuncture is a medical therapy which involves inserting very fine needles into points on body to treat many different issues. Inflammatory issues, muscle and pain issues, hormonal issues etc. all respond well to acupuncture.
Acupuncture is not just a Chinese technique. There are many types of acupuncture: Chinese, Japanese, French, Korean, and Medical. One should ask their doctor about their training and experience as everyone practices differently, although all are training in basic Chinese technique first in order to be Provincially Registered. The WHO endorses acupuncture for the treatment of 105 different health conditions.
Asian Journal: How can a common person identify the right
acupuncturist? Do we ask for specific acredition, is the data in public domain?
Dr. Nicolle: First check the doctor’s credentials. B.C. was the first province to regulate the profession of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Patients can look on the website that regulates the profession and licenses the
doctors. To see if your clinician is
registered in good standing with the province of BC visit the www.ctcma.bc.ca, it is the website for College of Traditional Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists (CTCMA) of BC. After that is done, it is up to the patient to ask about training and experience from the
Asian Journal: Are all acupuncturists practising in BC registered with a
Dr. Nicolle: No. But they should be. There are still members at large and members of other professions who are not accredited and licensed to
perform acupuncture but are doing so. Check their membership whether it is current and with the CTCMA.
Asian Journal: What kind of needles need to be used? Do they have an expiry?
Dr. Nicolle: All needles should be single use sterilized needles in blister packages. After the needles are removed they are to be put immediately into a sharps container for contaminated waste and then disposed of properly.Needles should NEVER be put into a general garbage receptacle or attempted to be sterilized and reused.If you as a patient do not see the doctor open a fresh package of needles, or if you are facedown for a back treatment and do not hear the packages being opened ask the doctor or get off the table. Needles or rather their sterilization expires. Expiry dates are listed on the packages of needles themselves.
Dr. Carol Nicolle is a Registered Doctor of Chinese Medicine, a Registered Acupuncturist and a Registered Member of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapists Association. She has been in practice for 18 years in Surrey/ North Delta. Dr. Nicolle is also a designated Pain specialist according to the Blatman Pain clinic protocols and studied Myofascial Release Needling Technique under Dr. Hal Blatman, Orthopedic surgeon for over a 5 year period.