FAQ

Community Acupuncture FAQ

What is acupuncture
What is community acupuncture
How does the sliding scale work
Do you take insurance
What conditions do you treat
Does acupuncture hurt
Is acupuncture safe
Why did you put that needle there
Do I need to make an appointment
What do I need to do before and after treatment
I am sick; can I still get treatment today
How long should I stay
Where can I find other community clinics

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points in order to stimulate the body’s innate healing mechanisms.
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What is community acupuncture?

“Community acupuncture” refers to the practice of making acupuncture treatment available to people of ordinary incomes by offering treatment in a group setting on an affordable sliding scale.  Treatments are individualized to meet your needs, and are performed in a relaxing community treatment room.  There’s no need to undress- we use points on the head and neck and below the elbows and knees to treat all conditions.  (Yes, even back pain!  The most effective points for back pain are on the hands and feet.)

Treating patients in a community setting has many benefits:  it’s easy for friends and family members to come in for treatment together; many patients find it comforting; and the collective energy of many treatments happening at once actually makes individual treatments more powerful.

We believe that acupuncture doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective, and that everyone deserves access to inexpensive, non-invasive relief from pain and suffering.  Learn more about community acupuncture and our international multi-stakeholder co-operative here.  You can also learn more about what to expect in a community acupuncture clinic by watching this 10-minute documentary.
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How does the sliding scale work?

Our sliding scale is $20-40.  There’s no income verification- you choose what you can afford on the sliding scale, no questions asked.  The amount of your payment doesn’t affect your treatment.  We want you to come in often enough to really get better and stay better, and the sliding scale is our way of making that possible!  If you’re unable to pay $20 please check in with me about what you are able to afford.  I’m committed to making acupuncture accessible to as many people as possible, and will never turn anyone away.
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Do you take insurance?

No. Because we offer treatments on a sliding scale, the insurance companies will not allow us to bill them directly.  Some patients submit receipts to insurance companies for reimbursement, but since our sliding scale is similar to standard co-pays it’s rarely worth the hassle.  All payments are due at the time of service.  If you need a receipt for your records or to seek insurance reimbursement, please take one from our self-pay station.  We do not keep track of individual payments, and cannot offer a receipt at year’s end. Thank you for participating in the systems which help us to keep our fees low.
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What conditions do you treat?

Because acupuncture stimulates your body’s internal healing mechanisms it can be used to treat almost any condition.  Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health as a legitimate form of medical treatment that can treat both chronic and acute illness. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture’s effectiveness for over 40 common disorders. Here is a list of ailments acupuncture is commonly used to treat:

Acid reflux Acne & skin problems
Addiction issues Allergies
Anxiety Arthritis (Osteo & Rheumatoid)
Asthma Back pain
Bell’s Palsy Bronchitis
Carpal tunnel syndrome Chemotherapy-related symptoms
Chronic fatigue Common cold & flu
Constipation & diarrhea Depression
Digestive disorders Dizziness
Emotional issues Fibromyalgia
Headaches High blood pressure
Hip pain IBS
Infertility Insomnia
Joint pain Knee pain
Low energy Low immunity
Low libido and/or ED Menopausal symptoms
Menstrual issues Migraines
Neck pain Nerve pain
Night sweats Numbness & tingling
PMS PTSD
Restless leg Sciatica
Shoulder pain Sinus issues
Skin disorders Stress
Stroke (effects of) TMJ
Tendonitis Urinary disorders
Vertigo Women’s health
And more .

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Does acupuncture hurt?

Most people find acupuncture treatment to be deeply relaxing, and many fall asleep during treatment.  Acupuncture needles are very fine- about a dozen can fit inside a standard hypodermic needle.  When a point is first inserted you may feel nothing at all, or you may feel a slight pinch or zing.  While resting with the needles you may feel tingling, heaviness, or sensations of movement- this is all normal, but if anything is uncomfortable you should let me know so I can make an adjustment for you.
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Is acupuncture safe?

Yes! Acupuncture has been used around the world for thousands of years, and is a minimally invasive and very safe treatment.  Because acupuncture works by stimulating your body’s internal healing mechanisms, negative side effects are virtually non-existent.  Occasionally you may experience bruising or sensitivity around a point after treatment, but this is temporary.  On the other hand, positive “side effects” of treatment such as improved energy, better sleep, and reduced stress are very common.  Compare that to the laundry list of risks and side effects of most medications and conventional medical treatments and you’ll see that acupuncture is very safe indeed.
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Why did you put that needle there?

Our friend and fellow community acupuncturist Andy Wegman wrote an entire book with this title! You can listen to him read his book, download it for free, or buy a copy from Amazon. We also have a copy in the waiting room that you are welcome to read.  The short answer is that we can’t explain what each individual point is for in your treatment, both because we don’t have time and because the points don’t work that way.  There’s not one point for allergies, and another for digestion.  The combination of points that is selected for your treatment is designed to address your symptoms and their underlying causes, and is based on a variety of elaborate theories as well as empirical evidence gathered over thousands of years.  I wish there were a simple explanation for how this all works, but there isn’t!

How many treatments will I need?

That depends on your unique situation.  I will give you a treatment plan at your initial visit and will revise it as treatment continues based on your individual response.  If you’re seeking treatment for a long-standing problem I recommend committing to at least ten treatments to give acupuncture a fair shot at making a difference.  Coming in for a single acupuncture treatment is a bit like taking one vitamin pill or doing one workout- it’s probably good for you, but you won’t notice any big results unless you stick with it.  For more on this topic, check out my blog.
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Do I need to make an appointment?

Drop-in appointments are welcome if space is available.  Please check with me before sitting down if the treatment room looks close to full.  Scheduled patients will be treated before drop-ins. You can also schedule same-day appointments online; getting your name on the schedule can be helpful since it allows me to review your treatment history in advance.
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What do I need to do before and after treatment?

Please wear comfortable clothes that can easily be rolled up to the elbows and knees.  Aside from that no special preparation is needed, though it’s best not to be overly hungry or overly caffeinated at the beginning of treatment.  After treatment you can go about your regular activities.  Some people feel sleepy after treatment while others feel energized- it’s best not to schedule demanding activities immediately after acupuncture until you know how you respond.
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I am sick; can I still get treatment today?

If you are well enough to make it to the clinic you are welcome to come in for treatment.  If you are vomiting or have a high fever it’s best to rest at home, but if you just have a cold it’s a great time to come in and get treated, as acupuncture can reduce the duration of a cold.  If you’re not feeling well please make sure to place your blankets and pillows directly into the laundry after treatment.
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How long should I stay?

I recommend relaxing with the needles for 30-45 minutes.  You should allow at least an hour for initial visits, and 45 minutes for follow-up visits.
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Where can I find other community clinics?

There are hundreds of community acupuncture clinics all over the country and around the world.  Check out the POCA co-op clinic finder for a list of clinics to share with your family and friends in other places.
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