Frequently Asked Questions
What is community acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been a community-based medicine for most of its long history. In Asia, acupuncture is traditionally practiced in a group rather than in an individual setting. Community acupuncture clinics represent a return to this tradition. Community style acupuncture focuses on “distal” points (points below the knees and elbows) so that patients can remain fully clothed during treatment. Most patients are treated in comfortable recliners. At Denver Community Acupuncture, we also provide two screened-in massage table options, so that we can treat directly in the back or abdominal area as well. In this setting, many people can receive treatment at the same time. Our patients find this setting extremely comforting and we feel that the collective energy of many treatments happening at one time actually makes each individual treatment more powerful. Community acupuncture is very affordable! Denver Community Acupuncture charges on a sliding scale, $35-$55 per treatment and you choose what you feel comfortable paying.
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What should I expect during my first visit?
If you have not already completed your paperwork early, please arrive 30 minutes early for your first appointment. All new patient forms can be found here. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be rolled up above the knees and elbows. Also, make sure you have eaten a small meal before acupuncture. Having treatment on an empty stomach can lead to dizziness and nausea but it is not recommended to eat heavy, greasy foods before or after acupuncture. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your treatment as well. Please allow 60-90 minutes for your first visit, this includes time for the health consultation and a full acupuncture treatment. Your first visit takes longer than follow-up visits because we want to take the time to get to know you as an individual and how your body works. We will feel your pulse and examine your tongue, two methods used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to confirm your diagnosis. After the consultation, you will receive your first treatment in the common room; needles are typically retained for 30-45 minutes.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture should not hurt, but you should feel it. Most people enjoy treatment and find it very comfortable, restful, and relaxing. Sometimes the needle insertion feels like a quick pinch that rapidly subsides. Some people report a mild tingling, heaviness, warmth, or a dull ache at the acupuncture point, which is a sensation of qi moving (or nerve activation). Generally sessions last about an hour, in which the patient rests or even falls asleep. After your treatment, you can expect to feel less pain, more energy, and a heightened sense of well-being. Side effects are rare but may include the following symptoms: light-headedness, dizziness, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising and residual muscle aching. Any of these should last only a very short time.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments a patient needs depends upon the severity and duration of the symptoms. Acute conditions such as cold and flu symptoms and recent injuries generally take 4-6 visits to resolve. For chronic symptoms lasting over 6 months, a longer course of treatment is required. For life long illnesses, it is not uncommon for healing to occur over several months to years. It is important to remember that everyone is an individual and heals at different rates. Your treatment plan will be determined and discussed with your practitioner during your first visit.
Does health insurance cover acupuncture?
Many health plans include acupuncture as a benefit. If you would like more information whether or not your insurance covers acupuncture, we recommend you call the number on your insurance card and ask. In order to keep our rates as low as possible, we do not bill insurance. If you plan to seek reimbursement from your insurance company, please pay the full amount and we will provide a super bill for you to submit to your insurance company which will include information on how to submit a claim to your insurance.
Can children be treated with acupuncture?
Children can be very responsive to acupuncture, acupressure, or a needle-free Japanese technique called Shonishin that involves light tapping, rubbing, or brushing along entire channels or specific acupuncture points. We usually will refer children 0-6 years of age to our pediatric acupuncture practitioner, Judy Terrill (listed under our practitioner and services pages). In the community room, we welcome children over the age of 6 who feel comfortable quietly resting with needles in a community setting.
What should I look for in a qualified acupuncturist?
Today, acupuncturists are trained in accredited graduate programs and are licensed by most states. Some physicians, chiropractors and physical therapists offer treatments known as “medical acupuncture” or “dry needling”, a modality based on a much shorter course of study. While an accredited, masters-level program in acupuncture includes more than 3,000 hours of study, programs for physicians or chiropractors offer only about 200 hours in needling techniques. Acupuncturists should be certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, (NCCAOM), a national organization established to regulate the practice of acupuncture. After passing national examinations, these acupuncturists are designated as board certified in acupuncture or diplomates of the NCCAOM (Dipl. Ac.). The state of Colorado does not require an Acupuncturist to also be licensed in Chinese herbal medicine, so it is important to inquire about your practitioner’s credentials. Acupuncturists who graduate from accredited programs have completed an extensive course of study in Oriental Medicine as well as in Western biomedical approaches to illness. We strongly recommend looking for a practitioner with formal training, national certification, and an active license to practice Oriental Medicine (acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine).
Is acupuncture affordable?
Yes! Our mission is to offer affordable health care to our community and we are able to offer low cost acupuncture because we treat in a group setting. Community acupuncture is modeled after how the medicine is practiced in Asia and because we see multiple patients in one hour, we are able to charge much less for our treatments. Denver Community Acupuncture charges on a sliding scale, $25-$45 per treatment (with a one-time $15 new patient consult fee)… and you get to choose what you feel comfortable paying.