Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do before my appointment?
The most important thing is to eat and drink before your appointment. Now don’t get it twisted, we don’t want you to feast before your treatment, however, we need you to have something in your body to prevent you from getting dizzy or potentially fainting.
What do I wear to my appointment?
Whatever is comfortable for you is perfectly fine. You only remove what you are comfortable with. However, be aware that therapists will need access to the areas they are asked to treat and if you are wearing restrictive clothing, you may need to remove them so they can treat you. For guys, wearing compression underwear is not suggested in case practitioners need access to your hips and may end up overstretching or tearing your underwear.
Do you treat Children?
At Ikigai Integrative, we do not currently treat anyone under the age of 18.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture works by the insertion of sterile needles into biological points falling on acupuncture meridians in the body. This gives the body instructions to recalibrate it’s system holistically. This helps the body to bi-phasically regulate the body, increase immunity and provide neuro-feedback to the body via the nervous system.
What can Acupuncture help with?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture for being effective in treating over 40 common health disorders including neuropathies, musculoskeletal disorders, mental emotional disorders, gastrointestinal dysfunctions, respiratory conditions, circulatory disorders, and many more. Currently due to the effects of the opioid crisis, acupuncture is being supported as a primary treatment for pain management treatments. For more information, check out the World Health Organization
What Happens During a treatment?
Treatment begins with an intake. This is where your goal for the treatment is discussed and how also how it will be executed. After both the practitioner and client have agreed on the treatment plan, the practitioner will leave the room, allowing the client to disrobe and get comfortable. During the treatment, the practitioner will introduce specific interventions that will help to achieve the desired treatment outcome, such as acupuncture, etc. After the treatment is completed, the practitioner will leave the room and the client can get dressed. If there are any questions or concerns the client can ask. Sometimes after a treatment a client may feel “high” due to the increased circulation. If this occurs the client is welcome to have a seat in the waiting area until they feel functional enough to move on with their day.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Not at all. Acupuncture treatments typically do not hurt however, you may feel a pinching sensation as the needles are inserted, but most people do not feel anything. With the needles in place, you may feel pressure, tingling, aching, or a heavy sensation. This is called “de Qi” and is a desired response and signals the body’s response to treatment. If you experience any pain or discomfort, advise your practitioner immediately, as your needles can be adjusted or removed.
How do I know if it is working?
The best way to tell if a treatment is working is if you feel a change in your body. This could mean feeling better, having less pain and overall a brighter sense of life. However, it is common to feel worse after a treatment as well. Experiencing flu-like symptoms, muscle soreness and fatigue are common side-effects. When the body is trying to recalibrate it may try to detox, resulting in these symptoms. If you are ever concerned about symptoms, do not ever hesitate to reach out to your practitioner.
How often should I come for treatment?
This is completely dependent on what you are coming in for. If you are coming in for musculo-skeletal pain, treatment is usually bi-weekly/weekly until the pain subsides and then maintenance is suggested to prevent the pain from recurring. For mental health complaints, treatment could be dependent when symptoms occur or during peak times of distress. This will be discussed during your follow-up appointment with your practitioner.
How long do treatments take?
This is dependent on what you would like addressed during your treatment. If you would like to focus on a primary area such back, neck and shoulders, a 90-minute appointment would be sufficient. On the other hand, if you are having a difficult day and need some time to unwind, a 60 minute appointment would be adequate in providing you with the space to relax.
Should you rest after Acupuncture?
After your acupuncture treatment, you may begin to feel more energetic. However, it is not recommended to do too much after a session. Instead, take it easy and rest to enhance the restoration process and allow the healing to continue in your body for hours after the acupuncture treatment is over. Taking a nap, drinking lots of water, eating anti-inflammatory foods, and meditation can all be helpful in maximizing the effects of acupuncture. You should also avoid any beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine, as this dehydrates the body, making it more difficult for the body to metabolize metabolic waste.
Can you drive after Acupuncture?
Each individual will have varying experiences after their Acupuncture, but typically a feeling of calmness (acu-high) can be sustained. As a result, you may feel tired or sleepy. so if you are sensitive to this feeling, then it may not be a good idea to drive after a session. However, others feel more energetic, which can make it safer to drive home yourself.
For the first session, you may not know how your body will react. Therefore, it is advised that if you are concerned about your driving capability to have someone drive you there and back for the first treatment. This will allow you to self-assess whether you are able to drive yourself post-treatment for following appointments.
Can Acupuncture be done daily?
Acupuncture may be advised for daily treatments if the symptoms require a frequent number of treatments, but the typical amount of sessions is once or twice a week. The side effects of having Acupuncture every day could be a feeling of soreness, bruising, inflammation, nausea or even vomiting. These side effects are rare but can happen in the event that you receive daily acupuncture treatments for a sustained duration of time. So, it is recommended to follow the directions of the acupuncturist and not overdo the amount that you need.
Should you drink water after Acupuncture?
Absolutely, it is recommended to drink lots of water after an acupuncture session because toxins are released so that your body can rid itself of them. Water acts as a medium to help flush out these harmful toxins and keep your body feeling better, along with keeping you properly hydrated. This is also the reason why you should be avoiding alcohol and caffeine since they are both diuretics and limit your hydration. If you drink caffeine or alcohol after a session, the toxins may not exit your system and result in problems worsening.
Is Acupuncture covered by insurance?
Acupuncturists are considered primary health providers, so yes, depending on your individual third-party insurance coverage. Most insurance plans will cover the cost of the treatments although they may require a physician’s prescription.
Please note that although many insurance plans cover acupuncture care, our clinic makes no representation that yours does. Insurance plans vary greatly in terms of patient eligibility, provider eligibility and percentage of coverage for acupuncture care.Due to the variance from one insurance plan to the next, we require that you, the client, take responsibility for confirming eligibility and for the payment of any product or service fees not eligible for coverage. It is your responsibility to research possibilities of any further reimbursement from your insurance company for any services or amounts denied.
What should you avoid before Acupuncture?
There are a number of things that you should avoid before your appointment. It is important to eat and drink water at least two hours before your appointment, and avoid caffeine and alcohol. These stimulants and diuretics can make you wired and make it difficult to relax. Also, if you come in for a session on an empty stomach, you could end up feeling a bit lightheaded or nauseous afterward, so make sure to eat enough beforehand.
What should you avoid after Acupuncture?
After you have finished your appointment, you should avoid caffeine and alcohol, just like before the appointment. These limit your body’s ability to eliminate metabolic wastes that are released from the Acupuncture treatment and can cause further problems. If you are affected by drowsiness, you may want to have someone drive you home afterwards. This may not affect everyone, but if you are usually sensitive to medications that make you tired, then you want to have someone to drop you off and pick you up.
What is the Difference Between Psychiatrists, Registered Psychologists, Registered Provisional Psychologists, Registered Social Workers, Counselors, and Coaches?
Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have gone to medical school and have completed a 5-7 year residency in psychiatry. They typically take a more biological approach to mental health issues. They can conduct formal assessments as part of their diagnosis, prescribe medication as well as conduct therapy. They are regulated under the Health Professions Act by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA).
Registered Psychologists: Registered Psychologists possess either a graduate or doctoral degree in psychology. They are not medical doctors but if a doctoral degree has been completed in psychology they would be considered doctors. Registered psychologists can conduct formal assessments as part of their diagnosis based on the DSM-5 but are not able to prescribe medication. Psychologists typically use psychotherapy to treat mental illness. Registered Psychologists are regulated under the Health Professions Act by the College of Alberta Psychologists and have completed the EPPP exam, LEAP exam and 1600 hours of supervised clinical practice.
Registered Provisional Psychologists: Registered Provisional Psychologists possess either a graduate or doctoral degree in psychology. They are not medical doctors but if they have a doctoral degree in psychology they would be considered doctors. Registered psychologists can conduct formal assessments as part of their diagnosis based on the DSM-5 but are not able to prescribe medication. Psychologists typically use psychotherapy to treat mental illness. Registered Psychologists are regulated under the Health Professions Act by the College of Alberta and are in the process of completing the EPPP exam, LEAP exam and 1600 hours of supervised clinical practice.
Registered Clinical Social Worker: Registered Clinical Social Workers educational background typically involve the completion of a graduate degree. There are some individuals who have done specific training and conduct clinical work with an undergraduate degree. They take an eclectic approach using various therapeutic approaches involving therapy and other complementary and alternative therapies. They can diagnose mental illnesses based on the DSM-5 but are not able to prescribe medication. Registered Clinical Social Workers are regulated under the Health Professions Act by the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW).
Counselors/Therapists: Counselors and therapists educational background range significantly. They take an eclectic approach using various therapeutic approaches involving therapy and other complementary and alternative therapies. They cannot diagnose or prescribe medication. Currently, counselors are not regulated in Alberta.
Coaches: Coaches educational background range significantly. They take an eclectic approach using various therapeutic approaches involving therapy and other complementary and alternative therapies. They cannot diagnose or prescribe medication. Currently, coaches are not regulated in Alberta.
How do I Know If I Need Therapy?
For some, you may be hesitant to start your therapeutic journey. For others, you may be ready to start tackling the mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, that prevent you from living your best life. You may be looking for tools to help cope with sudden changes such as divorce or the loss of a loved one. You may also be ready to process events from your past that may impede your personal exploration and growth.
Working with a therapist can help to develop effective coping mechanisms to allow us to regulate when we feel that we don’t have control over our emotions. We can also help to provide insight and support as you continue to process the underlying factors that contribute to your inability to regulate and stay grounded. At Ikigai Integrative, we can help you with a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, grief, conflict and trauma.
However, not everyone may be ready for therapy. Some reasons therapy may NOT be for you is:
You are not ready to commit to therapy sessions.
You may require pharmaceutical intervention (medication).
You are not ready to process past traumatic events.
How Long will I Need to Attend Therapy?
The answer to this will vary from person to person. The length of time required for therapy is dependent on:
- The complexity of the concern
- The duration and frequency of sessions.
- The content explored throughout each session.
- The number of concerns that are to be explored.
- The readiness to work through and process each concern.
The majority of clients start to see positive changes within the first 4-6 sessions and are able to find relief with their main concern. Somewhere between 6-18 sessions, clients are able to process and develop long lasting changes in their lives. For clients that have a long-standing concern, it may be possible to continue with more sessions if both the client and therapist determine that it will contribute to continued improvement.
Is Therapy Confidential?
Absolutely! As registered mental health care providers, we adhere to the standards of practice set out by our regulatory bodies (CAP, ACSW or CPSA). This includes maintaining privacy and confidentiality of our clients. However, it is important to be aware that there are limitations to this, which are thoroughly explored in the first session with your therapist.
What Can I Expect from my First Session?
Starting the therapeutic process can be very stressful. It is completely normal to have some reservations when it comes to meeting a new person and then are expected to spill your deepest darkest secrets. At Ikigai Integrative, this is not the case.
One way we try to break the ice is by offering complimentary 15 minute consultations. This gives you an opportunity to meet your therapist and learn about what the process may look like for you. This includes a brief discussion around your goals, your expectations and the therapist’s approach. If you feel comfortable and are ready to start the therapeutic process, then you can book your first session with your therapist.
During your first session we will discuss informed consent and limitations to confidentiality. Then we jump right in by exploring your main concern and laying the framework to achieving your mental health goals. Through this process your therapist will ask questions that pertain to your main concern so they can understand and conceptualize how this problem impacts you as well as the factors that have produced or maintained this problem. Interventions to help you regulate and process your main concern may also be introduced throughout the first session.
Throughout the therapeutic process it is important to remember that you are the bus driver during therapy sessions. The therapist is there to provide insight and illuminate things that may not have been transparent earlier. This is meant to empower you so that you are able to go out into the world and feel more grounded as you navigate through life’s conflicts.
If you have any questions or concerns about the therapeutic process, book a consultation with one of our therapists today.
What sets Ikigai Integrative Apart From Other Mental Health Services?
First and foremost Ikigai Integrative provides an integrative experience that utilizes mind-body philosophies and interventions. Through both education and experience, we have come to understand that one cannot function without the other and therefore both the mind and body need to be included in the therapeutic process.
Secondly, Ikigai Integrative is operated under both a trauma-informed and anti-oppressive principle. What this means is that we are not here to maintain the traditional patient-therapist model that is commonly used in more therapeutic practices. This means that you play an active role in your therapeutic journey. Our purpose is to empower you so that you feel capable to take on the challenges that you face in your life.
Thirdly, Ikigai Integrative is owned and operated by a queer, indigenous integrative therapist. This means that the nuanced experiences that are faced by both of these marginalized communities are reflected in the philosophies and practices. As a result, we hope that these individuals will feel safe, seen and heard in our space.
Finally, Ikigai Integrative aims to be as transparent as possible. In a world where we have access to so much information it can be difficult to know or understand what psychology or acupuncture offer. We try to eliminate the psychobabble and ungrounded language that is typically used when either of these topics are discussed. Additionally, we aim to educate you so that you can more actively play a role in your own process as well as potentially helping others so that mental health wellness can ripple into our communities.
Is Therapy Covered Under Alberta Health Care?
Unfortunately, no. Currently mental health services such as therapy are not covered under Alberta Health Care. However, most third-party insurance benefits cover therapy to some degree. Additionally, there are some grant programs that may be able to help you access mental health care services such as the Breaking Free Foundation.