Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect?
Community Acupuncture means that you will receive your acupuncture treatment in a large, quiet, comfortable room. You will most likely be sitting in a recliner; you do NOT need to undress (you just need to roll your sleeves up to your elbows and your pants up to your knees); you can usually stay as long as you want; and there will be other people getting treated at the same time, in the same room, in the same way. Come about 15 minutes early to your first appointment to fill out some paperwork, or download it from the "contact us" page of the website and fill it out ahead of time. On your first visit your practitioner will interview you and discuss a treatment plan with you, put some tiny "pins" in, and leave you to relax or nap for a while - average stay is about 45 minutes to an hour, although some people like to stay for a shorter or longer period. We accept cash, checks, and credit/debit cards.
How much does an acupuncture treatment hurt?
Usually not much at all. Most people are deeply relaxed and/or asleep once all points are placed.
Is acupuncture safe? Are you licensed?
Yes. All needles used in our clinic are sterile and single-use. All practitioners have obtained Master of Science degrees in Traditional Chinese Medicine and are licensed by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. We never, ever, reuse needles (you can watch us open new packets in front of you), and our practitioners have the exact same acupuncture education as practitioners who charge $60+/hour.
Why do you have a sliding scale?
The purpose of our sliding scale ($15-35 per treatment with no income verification required) is to separate the issues of money and treatment. We want you to come in often enough to really get better and stay better! Acupuncture is a therapy and a process. Every now and then it will act like a “miracle cure” and someone will have all of their symptoms disappear after only one treatment, but this is rare - acupuncture works by stimulating the body's own self-healing mechanisms and the results are usually gradual. Almost everybody who gets acupuncture will need a series of treatments (average 6-12; more for long-standing chronic conditions, less for mild ones) to get good results. If you don't come in often enough or long enough, acupuncture probably won't work as well for you.
Do you accept insurance?
In order to keep our prices low (lower than the price of the average insurance copay) we are unable to bill your insurance for you. If you have insurance that covers acupuncture, or a flex spending account, please ask us for a receipt that you may submit on your own. If you have an HSA card, you can use that here.
Why did you put that needle there?
This is probably the most frequently asked question in any acupuncture clinic, so our colleague and friend 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 copies for sale in our clinic.
Should I wear special clothing so you can put needles in my shoulder/back/hip?
Nope, just wear loose, comfortable clothes that roll up to your elbows and knees. We are able to treat all kinds of conditions by using a style of acupuncture that uses points primarily below the knees and elbows and above the neck. While some acupuncturists tend to favor lots of points on the torso this is usually a matter of personal preference and style, not a necessity to get effective results from acupuncture.
Are you wheelchair accessible?
Can I address more than one health issue at a time with acupuncture?
Absolutely. Acupuncture often acts like a "re-set button" for the entire body. Often patients who come in for one issue – say for back pain – will notice an improvement in something apparently unrelated, such as a chronic lung problem. This can happen even when the patient doesn't tell the acupuncturist about the apparently unrelated problem. Acupuncture also seems to have the side effects of reducing stress and promoting better sleep and more energy.
Do you treat people for fertility?
Yes. We have lots of experience with this.
Do you treat pregnant people?
Yes, acupuncture is effective for many pregnancy-related conditions. Also, there's a rumor that people who get acupuncture throughout their pregnancy tend to have calm babies.
Do you treat children?
Yes. Acupuncture is often very effective for children and teens, and many of them love it. We do ask that the child in question is willing to try acupuncture; we don't want to treat unwilling patients of any age.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
Not at all – animals get good results from acupuncture just like people, and we are pretty sure they don't believe in acupuncture. Skeptics are some of our favorite people to treat if you want to try it and see what you think.
How do I decide how much to pay, and does how much I pay affect the treatment I get?
You should decide how much to pay based on what you feel comfortable paying, taking into account how many treatments you'll be receiving and for how long. Your acupuncturist will discuss a treatment plan with you on your first visit and make recommendations about how often you should come in. We want you to make the money fit the treatment plan, not the other way around. Don't worry, you don't get more or less needles based on how much you pay, and you can usually rest in the treatment room as long as you want. The goal of the sliding scale is to make it possible for you to come in often enough and long enough to really feel better.
Can I combine acupuncture with massage/chiropractic/osteopathic treatment/medication/etc?
You can combine acupuncture with almost anything - that's one of the lovely things about it. Nothing is going to make it less effective; since it stimulates your body's own healing response it's almost impossible for it to interfere with anything else.
Do you prescribe herbs?
Sometimes - if herbal medicine is something you're looking for feel free to ask, but because so many people get better with access to regular, frequent acupuncture, herbal remedies are not something we automatically suggest to everyone unless we think you'd especially benefit from them or if you ask us specifically for herbal advice. Our practitioners ARE trained herbalists in Traditional Chinese Medicine and have different traditional Western herbalism backgrounds; they usually suggest herbal remedies at their discretion. We have a limited supply of herbs available and can refer out for what we don't carry.
I'm a patient and I love what you do! How can I help?
What is POCA?
The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture is the first and only multi-stakeholder acupuncture co-operative in North America and we are extremely excited to be one of the founding members, along with over 225 other Community Acupuncture clinics. POCA is a grassroots initiative that brings together everyone who is invested in building stronger communities by making safe, effective, natural health care accessible to regular working folks. As a multi-stakeholder co-op, POCA's members include people who get acupuncture, community acupuncturists, community acupuncture clinics, and other organizations. Please ask us about it and/or check out the website at www.pocacoop.com.
POCA clinics vs. community acupuncture offerings:
Read about that here.
Why would I want to have an acupuncture treatment?
- to help you relax
- to alleviate pain
- to help you feel more energized
- to help you avoid illness or injury
- to help you think more clearly
- to help you stop thinking (especially around bedtime)
- to boost your immune system
- to help with digestive issues including GERD and IBS
- to use along with other therapies and medications for the purpose of improving their effect or lowering doses
Acupuncture is part of a whole medical system and there is almost always an approach to help you manage a health problem or remain pain and illness free. Our acupuncturists have lots of experience treating pain management, fertility, anxiety/depression, digestion problems, stress, insomnia, sports medicine, and much more.
In 1979, the World Health Organization published a short list of conditions seen as appropriate for acupuncture treatment. This is not a complete list, just some examples. The list includes:
Abdominal pain, Addiction control, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asthma, Athletic performance, Back/neck pain, Blood pressure regulation, Bronchitis, Chronic fatigue, Common cold, Constipation, Depression, Diarrhea, Headaches, Hyperacidity, IBS, Immune System tonification, Indigestion, Infertility, Insomnia, Menopausal symptoms, Migraines, Muscle cramping/pain, Nervousness, Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, Neurosis, Numbness, Parkinson's disease, Poor vision, Postoperative pain, Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), Sciatica, Sinusitis, Stress reduction, Stroke, Tonsillitis, Toothache.
In addition, here's our list of 'no-brainer' conditions (that is, situations that should absolutely be treated with acupuncture without hesitation):
Athletic sprain/strain, Acute back or neck strain, Temporal Mandibular Disorder (TMJ), Bell's Palsy, Headaches (including Migraines), Palpitations, Early stages of Cold/flu, Asthma, Tendinitis, PMS and other gynecological issues, Fertility/Infertility, Pre/post surgery for accelerated healing, Insomnia, Reynaud's, Anxiety, High levels of stress, Addictions, IBS, Reflux, Hemorrhoids, Herpes zoster (shingles).
Please note that this is not a complete list - acupuncture treatment is highly individualized and the best way to find out if acupuncture will work well for you is to try it. Side effects often include relaxation and an increased sense of well-being.
"Often the remedy is deemed the highest good because it helps so many." -Paracelsus