What’s the Difference between TCM Acupuncture and RMT Acupuncture?

What’s the Difference between TCM and RMT Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a very old system of medicine that comes from Asia and was developed in China. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at points mapped through Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture dates back approximately 3000 years as described in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, where we find the first recorded documentation.

RMT Acupuncture

RMT stands for Registered Massage Therapy and this acupuncture is performed by an RMT. In Ontario RMTs are Regulated Healthcare Professionals who have completed a number of years of education and experience before passing their board exams and receiving their registration. RMTs who practice acupuncture have received accreditation from tailored acupuncture courses for health care professionals who wish to offer this modality within their scope of practice which focuses on musculoskeletal concerns.

RMT Acupuncture is focused on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems of the body helping patients with pain, tension, swelling and speed of healing. The patient may also experience some additional side effects from RMT acupuncture such as an endorphin release reducing stress, hormonal remediation improving sleep and mood however these are not the focus of RMT acupuncture and may or may not be present from the treatment.

TCM Acupuncture

TCM stands for Traditional Chinese Medicine and a practitioner of TCM acupuncture has a designation of R.Ac. (Registered Acupuncturist). Like RMTs, R.Acs are also Regulated Healthcare Professionals. TCM is an entire system of medicine that is different from the model of Western medicine we are familiar with today, however the two (Eastern and Western medicine) have similarities and can complement each other very well. Western medicine is starting to document its own research into the efficacy of TCM due to the benefits patients are reporting from this modality.  A Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.) in Ontario has studied and practiced for many years before passing board exams and being allowed to practice.

TCM Acupuncture can address the same issues as RMT acupuncture, but can also treat any other biological system: from musculoskeletal and neurological to the reproductive, the endocrine system (hormonal, sleep, stress, etc… impact), digestion, respiratory, skin issues and more. It can also focus on the physical and emotional well being of the patient. It is for this reason the initial intake with a TCM Acupuncturist may take more time, it offers the patient a well rounded and tailored treatment specific to their concerns.

Similarities and Differences

Similarities between the two sessions are that the acupuncture is almost always combined with other types of bodywork including massage, shiatsu, cupping and more (depending on what your therapist has training in). However an important difference is that the TCM Acupuncturist will make an overall organ system TCM diagnosis in order to proceed and treat the patient accordingly. 

It is important to note that only a TCM Acupuncturist (R.Ac.) can provide an acupuncture receipt while an RMT can only provide a receipt for Massage Therapy. Unless your therapist happens to be both a TCM Acupuncturist (R.Ac) and an RMT, like our Senior level therapist Sue. If you have extended health care coverage it is important to know this information ahead of time as we cannot provide false information on any receipt.

Be sure to clarify which type of service you are looking for when booking an appointment so we can ensure you receive the type of care you require. For further information you can check out our website or contact us at info@torontobodyworks.com or 416.593.5644.

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