WHAT DOES "COMMUNITY STYLE ACUPUNCTURE" MEAN?
In a community style acupuncture clinic, you will be treated in a room with others. This is how it's done in China, by the way. Except in China you'd be squashed five or more into a room just a tad bigger than our massage room! The AFE clinic area is large with four treatment tables and a reclining chair. There is a wall of windows that brings in the day, whether it's rainy, sunny, snowy or anything else, but even on a cloudy day there is nearly always lots of light in the daytime.
Group treatment serves many purposes including allowing us to charge less so that you can afford to come more often. Acupuncture works best when done a lot - especially at first and for acute conditions - and then with some regularity on an ongoing basis. But it also creates a kind of group energy that has healing power. And it let's you know that you're not alone in your healing. Sometimes you could hear us speaking to another person and you might get valuable information that applies to you, too. Often you will just kind of zone out once your own needles are in. Because of this group setting, a commitment to privacy on your part goes with the territory. What you hear here, stays here. And that means your privacy is respected, too. If you do have something you don't want to share in the group setting, you are always welcome to call or email me to discuss it.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
You choose your payment amount from a sliding scale of $20 - $40 per treatment so you can come frequently.
There is a fee of $10 on your first visit to cover the extra time and effort of the first visit that take place both at and after your visit.
HOW FAST WILL IT WORK?
That depends on many things.
On how long you've had your issues. On how frequently you come. On whether or not you continue doing the thing that caused your problem in the first place - assuming the cause is identifiable. It's not always clear what precisely has caused your imbalance or it may be a complex combination of incidences and life style behaviors, thus making it hard to avoid the cause(s).
In other words, sometimes there is immediate relief. Sometimes it takes several visits to notice a change. You will, however, feel more relaxed and peaceful from the get go.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK FOR ANYTHING?
Yep. Pretty much.
Up until the very recent dawn of modern medicine (the last 150 or so years), acupuncture and various other natural medicine methods around the globe and especially Asian methods (like acupuncture, herbs, cupping, and moxa) along with shamanism were the only form of medicine. In most of the countries we now think of as Asia (but really are East Asia!): China, Tibet, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Burma, "Asian" medicine is still the primary form of treatment. It's a full and complete system of medicine addressing all the complaints of body, mind and spirit.
India is part of Asia and has an ancient medicine that is similar to (yet also quite different from) the medicine practiced in the aforementioned countries. It has strong herbal, dietary and lifestyle education components. Although it recognizes energy lines and energy centers, Ayurveda uses pressure and massage to treat them rather than acupuncture. Ayurveda also uses various oil therapies to cleanse and purge the body of toxins.
DOES IT HURT?
Sometimes. And sometimes you feel nothing at all.
Sometimes you'll feel it as the needle goes in. Sometimes you'll feel something later on in the treatment. You might feel a slight pricking sensation, an ache, a tingling, a hot-cold kind of feeling, or even an electrical zing.
Sometimes you feel the energy move away from the point in a line along your body. And sometimes you feel a zing or other sensation some where else all together from where the needle went in.
Some people 'zone out' during their treatment and don't remember anything other than having a really great nap!
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE THE NEEDLES IN?
Again this depends on you and your condition. 20 to 30 minutes is usually best.
Some people like to stay longer. Though your acupuncturist will not let you if your condition is better treated with short duration treatments. Needles in for too long is draining, so if you're already drained, we don't want them in too long.
Japanese style acupuncture is in and out with no retention of needles. This is sometimes best for super sensitive people.
Kids, who nearly always have tons of Qi (aka "energy"), generally respond very quickly. Ten minutes might be plenty long enough for an 8 year old. Just a few minutes for a 3 year old. Just in and out for babies. Or even gua sha* instead of needles.
* Gua sha is a method using a hard but smooth object to gently rub the skin instead of puncturing it with a needle. It creates a similar response.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO COME?
Frequency depends on how quickly your body responds, how well you are able to avoid the cause or change your habits and how long you've had the condition.
In most cases in the beginning of treatment for a new condition, you will want to come in 2-3 times a week for a few weeks to several weeks. 'Several weeks' being 4 to 6 to 12, depending.
If you sprain your ankle, maybe 3 times a week for two weeks. Or, if you can fit it into your schedule, even every day for a week.
If you've had a condition for twenty years, you'll likely come in 2-3 times a week for several months and then cut back to once a week for a while as your body learns to operate differently.
As you maintain these positive improvements longer and longer, you can lengthen the time between treatments.
You will begin to know what you need; what works for you.
Now and then, you'll have a 'bad week' or a set back due to other factors in your life or you'll get an acute illness like a cold or the flu. You'll want to come in more frequently again for a while when that happens.
WHAT ABOUT HERBS? DO YOU PRESCRIBE HERBS?
I studied & first practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine in California. To be licensed there, you must study both acupuncture and the herbal medicine traditions. Not all states require both. Many 'acupuncturists' are just that - acupuncturists only - and have never studied the complex theoretical foundations of Asian herbal medicines, but in California a licensed acupuncturist is always also an Asian herbalist.
There are regional differences in herbal traditions and many schools of thought throughout Asia regarding herbal medicine. For example, Tibetan herbal formulas are routinely huge, easily 30 - 35 herbs, as compared to Chinese formulas which are usually made up of only 2 - 10 herbs. A 15 ingredient formula is a big one in the Chinese herbal tradition. And, as mentioned above, India's ancient medicine relies heavily on what we think of as spices and foods for healing though they also have many non-food materia medica as well like gems, stones, bark, roots (both root vegetables like yams or sweet potatoes that we eat and others that we wouldn't normally eat), insects (which are food in some places) and so on.
On that note: if you are vegetarian or vegan, always tell your 'herbalist' because 'herbs' has become a catchall word describing the spectrum of 'materia medica' - natural medicinal substances - which may include animal parts and insects in addition to plants, stones and gems.
If after reading this page you have further questions, please feel free to call or email me. I love talking about this amazing, wonderful medicine!