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Acupuncture FAQ

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most common and dependable medical therapies used in the world. It is by nature simple, safe and effective health care. Acupuncture works by stimulating your own body’s natural healing response. Acupuncturists use thin, sterile disposable needles inserted superficially into specific areas  of the body in order to help the body’s ability to heal itself. Over the years in which acupuncture has developed in Canada, it has proven to be exceptionally safe when performed by licensed acupuncturists, as well as very effective in treating a wide variety of ailments. If you want to know more, just ask, we have lot’s of resources available that go into more depth on the art and science of acupuncture.

What’s Community Acupuncture?

Community Acupuncture is a social-business model that aims to increase patient access to acupuncture by offering treatments in a comfortable group setting, and fees on an affordable sliding scale, without income verification. This model gives you the opportunity to receive treatment based on need, in order to get the best results possible, while engendering a warm community atmosphere amongst patients and staff. We feel it’s a winning endeavour for both patients and clinic.
Our practitioners are all fully licensed and have decades of combined experience practicing acupuncture. There are now more than 200 CA clinics throughout North America. To find out more about CA, or to find a clinic near you, check out POCA: the peoples organization for community acupuncture.

Here is a 3 minute video that describes Hemma Community Acupuncture from the perspective of our clients. Thanks to everyone who shared their stories!

Here is a 3 minute video about Community Acupuncture made by our friends at Working Class Acupuncture in Portland Oregon.

Here is a 1o minute documentary made for people who are afraid of needles! It documents the history of acupuncture and introduces Community Acupuncture, a movement that makes this medicine accessible to millions.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

The human body is designed to deal with any injury or invasion. All medicine relies on this principle. Acupuncture provides a mechanism to stimulate your body’s natural healing instincts; therefore it can treat or support your body through any healing crisis or imbalance. The most common types of conditions that we see in the clinic can be grouped into a few broad categories.

muscular, joint pain, nerve-related, headaches, migranes, PAIN

anxiety, depression, addictions, grief, trauma, p.t.s.d.,  insomnia

Uterine Health
PMS, menopause, infertility, support during pregnancy and childbirth, including labor prep, and labor inducement

ulcers, IBS, crohn’s, colitis, constipation, anorexia, etc.

asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, allergies, common colds, emphysema

Stroke recovery and other neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, support for cancer patients, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, bells palsy

Our experience tells us acupuncture can reliably and safely decrease pain and inflammation, quiet spasms, boost immunity, dispel migraines, shrink swelling, relieve pain in almost any location, regulate hormones, shorten recovery time from surgery, calm anxiety, lift depression, quiet anxiety, restore mobility, improve digestion, and create deep relaxation. Acupuncture is particularly helpful for people with chronic diseases, meaning conditions that can be managed but not cured. Because these folks often need to take many medications with multiple side effects, acupuncture can greatly improve their quality of life by helping with mood, energy and sleep – without creating any more side effects.

What Can I Expect On My First Visit?

During your first visit, we’ll sit for a consultation together and share information about your current health concerns. The goal here is to figure out a plan to start moving things forward for you. Once we establish a treatment plan, we’ll move into the treatment room where you take a seat in a recliner of your choice, take off your shoes and roll up your sleeves and pant legs. From here on out, your job is to kick back and enjoy a good rest. A typical treatment will last from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the condition being treated and how long you’d like to stay.

Acupuncture is a PROCESS. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to resolve a problem with one treatment. In China, a typical treatment protocol for a chronic condition could be acupuncture every other day for three months! Most of our patients don’t need that much acupuncture, but virtually every patient requires a course of treatment, rather than a single treatment, in order to get what they want from acupuncture.

On your first visit, your acupuncturist will suggest a course of treatment, which can be anything from “we’d like to see you once a week for six weeks” to “we’d like to see you every day for the next four days.” This suggestion is based on our experience with treating different kinds of conditions. 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. If you have a question about how long it will take to see results, please ask us, or if you think you need to adjust your treatment plan, please let us know. We need you to commit to the process of treatment in order to get good results.

HOw LOng is a treatment?

We get asked this frequently.  Often people think that, because of the lower cost, and that we book every 10 minutes (20 minutes for a new patient), that the treatments are only 10-20 minutes in length.  In a community clinic your acupuncturist can treat up to 6 people in an hour.  In our clinic you are paying for a treatment not for the time of your partitioner.  Most sessions last between 45-60 minutes (60-75 minutes for a new patient).

How Often Should I Come?

This question gets asked a lot so we wanted to add a few additional thoughts on the subject.

As profound as acupuncture can sometimes be, it is also subtle. Often we are trying to shift patterns that have been in place for a while, so we need to remind the body of our intentions frequently and consistently in order to create sustaining change.

We want you to experience maximum relief from your health concerns in the shortest amount of time possible. Often times, you will notice improvement in your condition after just the first or second visit; however, it is common for this to only be a temporary improvement. For acupuncture to have a lasting affect, it is best to receive it frequently and often enough for a cumulative improvement in your health. Below are some basic guidelines that apply to most conditions.

For an acute condition, such as back strain, sports injury, or common cold, you will experience the most benefit from multiple visits in a short period of time. You should receive two or three treatments in a week for a period of one or two weeks. By this time, your condition should be much better, and you and your practitioner can determine if further treatments are necessary.

For chronic conditions, ones that are more constitutional in nature, we recommend getting treatments on average twice a week depending on the severity of your symptoms. Once the condition has started to improve then the amount of time between treatments can be extended. After that occasional maintenance visits are often enough to prevent further problems.

If you are seeking relief from stressful life events think of acupuncture as a tool that can help you get through these periods. While acupuncture cannot change reality it can help alleviate the effects of the external pressures which we sometimes experience. During those times, come in once or twice a week, or as often as you need to alleviate your symptoms.

Acupuncture can also be part of a prevention regimen. For example, strengthening your immunity in the fall before the flu season or spring allergies. If you listen to your body and pay attention to your emotional state, you will have a good understanding of when it is time to come in.

What If I Can Only Manage Once A Week?

One visit per week can still be of benefit to you. Less frequent acupuncture is better than no acupuncture. If you are coming less often than the suggested guidelines, you will still receive benefits; however it may take longer before you experience the results you desire.

Can Insurance Pay For Treatments?

If you have insurance that covers acupuncture, we’ll be happy to give you a payment receipt, which you can submit to your insurance company. If you are eligible for premium assistance with your MSP coverage you may also be eligible for up to $230 of reimbursement per year — $23 per treatment. If you want to know more about MSP reimbursement please call Health Insurance BC 1-800-663-7100

How Can I Support Community Acupuncture?

We Need You!

I know, everyone says that! So why do we need you? To be able to offer affordable acupuncture we have to see many patients each day. We need you to tell your friends, family, and co-workers about us. If you believe in what we are doing, if you appreciate what we are able to offer, if community acupuncture has helped you, please tell everyone! Don’t be shy!