By: Dr. Leah Lawson

One common question I get when I perform acupuncture in my treatments is; “Can I claim this under my acupuncture section of my benefits?”. The short answer is – no. However, it can still be claimed under your chiropractic benefits. The only acupuncture that can be claimed under the acupuncture benefits is licensed practitioners with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO). So what’s the difference?

As a Chiropractor, I received my acupuncture training at McMaster University, where 300 hours of continuing education allowed me to earn my certificate in “Contemporary Medical Acupuncture”. Our focus in this curriculum was the  “latest contemporary scientific medical knowledge about the treatment of pain and dysfunction using neurofunctional acupuncture”. Ultimately, I use acupuncture as a modality in my treatment plans to treat dysfunction of the nerves, muscles, and joints. The needles can be inserted into muscle trigger points to relieve pain and tension, and into joints to increase blood flow and reduce pain. I usually use this is conjunction with my soft tissue therapy and adjustments within one treatment session. If you are interested in learning more about neurofunctional acupuncture you can visit: 

Picture Retrieved from:

Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturists are trained to stimulate specific points of the body that reach meridians. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that there are 365 commonly used acupuncture points on 20 meridians on the human body. This regulates the flow of qi throughout the body and restore health to the mind and body, thus balancing the yin and yang. The TCM practitioners are the only providers in Ontario that can use the title “Acupuncturist”. If you are interested in learning more about TCM acupuncture you can visit: 

Ultimately, although both techniques use thin, metal, and sterile needles inserted into the skin, the approach and intended outcomes are very different. If you are experiencing pain or dysfunction in your muscles or joints, then adding neurofunctional acupuncture to your treatments might be the next step!