03/14/2013 06:56 EDT | Updated 05/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Traditional Chinese medicine gets new regulations in Ontario

New rules come into effect in Ontario on April 1, bringing oversight and regulation to the practice of traditional Chinese medicine.

The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario will be a self-regulatory body.

Chinese traditional medicine dates back thousands of years, and includes treatments such as acupuncture, exercises, massages and herbal therapies.

Until now there hasn't been a system in place to ensure those who practice actually know how to diagnose, or what treatment to use.

"What could happen with people who are not qualified," said Dr. Mary Wu who has been practising for more than 30 years..

She hopes that when the profession will come under the new rules the profession will improve its image.

The changes mean practitioners will have to take tests to prove their knowledge and skills. New standards will be set for the clinics - including the type of equipment used, how herbs are stored and where patients can go with any complaints.

"Those who are registered are accountable to the public, to the patient and the government. Which is very different from what's happening right now," said Emily Cheung, who is the registrar for college.

It's estimated there are about 3,000 practitioners of Chinese medicine in Ontario and at this stage about 2,000 are in the process of being registered.

"The idea is to make sure those who are providing service are qualified and practising to standard," said Cheung.