Community acupuncture is a rapidly growing movement which began with Working Class Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon. Each community acupuncture clinic is independently owned and unique in its own way. However, we all share one common goal, which is to make acupuncture more affordable and accessible by offering acupuncture in a supportive community setting for a sliding scale. For more information or to find a community acupuncture clinic near you visit www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org.
Most US acupuncturists treat patients on tables in individual cubicles. We take a more traditional approach and treat in a community setting. Our treatment room more closely resembles a living room than a medical office. Patients sit in comfortable recliners arranged in a large, quiet, soothing space. We find this approach has many benefits: it's easy for friends and family to come in for treatment together; many patients find it comforting; and a calm, relaxing atmosphere is established which actually makes each individual treatment stronger.
Most US acupuncturists only see one patient per hour and charge $65 to $175 per treatment. We have a sliding scale. They generally spend a lot of time talking with each patient, going over medical records, and asking a lot of questions. We don't. The only way that we can make acupuncture affordable and still make a living ourselves is to streamline our treatments and see multiple patients in an hour, so we have returned to a more traditional approach; instead of asking you lots of questions we rely on pulse and tongue diagnosis to decide how to treat you. Many patients feel this approach makes it easier to get the treatment they need, acupuncture, without all the drama that often goes along with it.
No. The style of acupuncture we practice uses "distal" points. Meaning we can treat problems anywhere in the body by placing tiny needles in your hands and feet. Generally the acupuncture points that we use are located below the knees, below the elbows, and on the ears and head. So nobody needs to undress. Most people just come in make themselves comfortable on one of our recliners, take their shoes off, roll up their sleeves and pant legs, and relax while they wait for treatment.
Most people do not find acupucture painful. The needles are very small, about the width of a cat whisker. The insertion of the needle sometimes feels like nothing at all, other times it may feel like a small tap or a pinch. Common sensations that people feel while the needle is in include slight tingling, numbness, pressure, or aching around the needle. These sensations are normal and often considered beneficial to the treatment. We will ask you to let us know if any of the needles are uncomfortable. If they are we will adjust them to your comfort level.
Acupuncture is a process. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to resolve a problem with one treatment. The number of treatments you will need can depend on many factors. On your first visit, your acupuncturist will suggest a course of treatment. This can range from "we'd like to see you once a week for the next six weeks" to "we'd like to see you every day for the next three days". This suggestion is based on our experience in treating different conditions. Generally most people notice an improvement within 4-6 visits and a typical course of treatment for an uncomplicated problem is 6-12 visits. However, if you don't come in often enough or long enough, acupuncture probably won't work for you. The purpose of our sliding scale is to help you make that commitment.
Because we have a sliding scale, we cannot do insurance billing (that's the insurance companies' rule). If you have insurance that covers acupuncture, we'll be happy to give you a payment receipt, and you can submit it; that's Ok with the insurance companies.
Yes. Acupuncture will not interfere with other treatments you are currently receiving. Acupuncture can often be used as a compliment to other therapies. For example, we often treat people for the side effects of chemotherapy.
For your first visit, we ask that you come in 20-30 minutes before your scheduled time in order to read and sign some necessary forms, and to fill out a health history questionaire. You will then meet with the acupuncturist who will give you a brief orientation to the clinic, discuss your primary concerns and goals for treatment with you, and give you an estimate of what kind of progress you can expect from acupuncture, and how long it may take. He will then feel your pulse, most likely look at your tongue, and gather any other information he may need in order to give you the best treatment. Your acupuncturist will then insert the needles (most people get between 6-12 needles at each visit, but that can vary depending on the person and the condition). Once the needles are in and we make sure you're comfortable, your job is just to relax and enjoy the space.
On all follow-up visits, you just come in, make yourself comfortable in a recliner, and after a brief discussion with your acupuncturist, get right to the treatment. Our goal is to make the process as easy and as efficient as possible. We know that your time is valuable.
If no one out there understands, start your own revolution and cut out the middle man.