What if I am afraid of needles?
How should I prepare for my first visit?
How much does it cost?
How many treatment visits will I need?
Is acupuncture safe for children?
Are practitioners well trained?
Are drug-herb interactions an issue?
Do you accept insurance?
What is acupuncture?

How does acupuncture work?
What will I feel during an acupuncture treatment?
Is acupuncture safe?

Can acupuncture help my condition?
Do you treat Personal Injury (PI) and Workers Compensation patients?

What if I am afraid of needles?

We don’t have to use needles. There are many more modalities a Chinese Medical practitioner can use other than acupuncture. Many of these are listed under our Services page. Chief among these alternatives are herbs, cupping and moxibustion. The bottom line is that there are many modalities used to treat patients other than just acupuncture. So if you have a fear of needles, but think Chinese medicine could help you, don’t hesitate to make an appointment or call to get more information about your condition.

How should I prepare for my first visit?

First, be prepared with any questions or concerns. Writing them down can help us both. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to various acupuncture points. Avoid a large meal, working out, or any form of intoxication before or after the treatment. We are here to help, so let us do all the hard work, just come as relaxed as possible and prepared to feel better.

How much does it cost?

That depends. Many health insurance policies have acupuncture benefits but can vary widely as to what they will pay, what is the patient's copay, visit limits, and whether or not there are deductibles. In other words, all the usual questions around insurance. Without insurance a visit is $85, all inclusive. Even if your insurance doesn't cover acupuncture, it may still be part of an "affinity program" and may be much less than our regular rate. A great example of this is Kaiser Permanente. We have seen copays ranging from zero to $35, some with needed referrals, some without, some with patient visit limits, others without. And they are part of an affinity program, so even if there are no acupuncture benefits, the patient will pay a GREATLY reduced fee. The bottom line is, if you have any insurance policy, give us a call and we will find out how much money we can save you. One caveat in all of this is herbs are almost never paid for by insurance and a patient needs to pay for them out of pocket.

How many treatment visits will I need?

This depends on many factors including your constitution, the condition and its severity, age, and your response to treatment. Many patients will see immediate and substantial improvement. 50-80% improvement after a visit or two is not uncommon. However, most pain conditions can take from 4-8 visits to see maximum pain relief and no return of pain. Other conditions can take shorter or longer numbers of treatment.

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Absolutely. In fact, children often respond more rapidly than adults. Depending on the child's age and comfort, we may use many techniques instead of needles, including massage. Children also respond really well to herbs and we can get child-friendly herbs with proper dosing and a nice flavor.

Are practitioners well trained?

The California Acupuncture Board (www.acupuncture.ca.gov) requires that potential license holders graduate from an accredited school of Chinese medicine, and then pass the state licensing exam. All practitioners at San Diego Acupuncture Clinic hold a Master’s of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) and are nationally certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Here is the official legal notice from the board:

NOTICE TO CONSUMERS

Acupuncturists are licensed and regulated by the California Acupuncture Board
(916) 515-5200
http://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/

Are drug-herb interactions an issue?

Many patients have concerns over Chinese herbal formulas interacting with the pharmaceutical drugs they are currently taking. Although there are considerations to take into account, taking both herbal medicine and pharmaceuticals together is not only safe, but advantageous. Your practitioner will be able to avoid any interactions that will be anything but beneficial to you. At San Diego Acupuncture Clinic, we have the person who wrote the book on drug-herb interactions. Dr. Greg Sperber wrote Integrative Pharmacology, Combining Modern Pharmacology with Integrative Medicine. He has taught the fundamentals of interactions to thousands of students and practitioners.

Do you accept insurance?

We accept insurance from all insurers possible. It is a process and if we are not able to directly bill your insurer, we will try to get set up with them (which can take several weeks or months) and in the meantime, we can provide you with a superbill. With insurance verification, which we will do, insurers should accept the superbill and reimburse you directly for the visit. So, if your insurance covers acupuncture, we will make it as easy as possible for you to see us.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a process whereby a trained and licensed acupuncturist inserts thin, sterile, single-use needles into specific points on the body to elicit a healing response. Currently the fastest growing medical modality in the United States, acupuncture is archeologically documented to be at least 2500 years old. It has been consistently used since its beginning in China and has spread the world over. It is one of the most implemented medical techniques in human history. Needles range in size and thickness but are generally far thinner than any injection needle you have experienced. The needles are so thin, 20 of them could be inserted into the hole of a hypodermic needle. Generally, between five and fifteen needles are used per treatment, although this number can vary greatly. Each treatment is customized to meet your current needs and may be slightly different.

How does acupuncture work?

While any competent acupuncturist can describe acupuncture in Chinese terms, there are lots of theories of how it works in modern medical terms. It has been shown that acupuncture can release various hormones and chemicals such as endorphins (natural pain killers) and lower cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. There is more and more evidence that acupuncture can stimulate nerves and cause changes in certain areas of the brain. It is also pretty clear acupuncture has local effects such as improving circulation and local stimulation of nerves. Lots of research is working to find out how acupuncture works, but there isn't one grand theory that puts all the research in a nice box.

Which brings us back to how acupuncture works in Chinese terms. Acupuncture is based on qi (pronounced chee) which literally translated means “life breath,” but is usually viewed as the “energy” (something that isn't exactly correct) of the body. All bodily functions rely on a constant flow of qi in the body. Disease occurs when the flow of qi gets blocked, becomes too strong, or too weak. Acupuncture can regulate this flow, and in so doing can treat disease.

What will I feel during an acupuncture treatment?

It depends. This medical skill evolved all over Asia so there were many techniques devised. Some generate a great deal of sensation, others cannot be felt at all, and several range in between. Once acupuncture needles are in place, as the needles are generally not felt once in place, the patient rests comfortably. An acupuncturist may continue to interact with a patient or leave the treatment room while the patient enjoys the calming and relaxing experience privately. Acupuncture can feel wonderful!  Many patients fall asleep or feel deeply relaxed as a result of treatment. Many times patients feel energized and relieved of their symptoms immediately.

Is acupuncture safe?

Absolutely. We only use disposable needles that are used once and discarded. Additionally, California regulations prevent the reuse of needles. Anything else we use in the clinic is cleaned using the latest approved cleaning techniques as described in the Clinic Needle Technique Manual.

Can acupuncture help my condition?

This was the only medicine in China for thousands of years; it has and can treat almost anything. Acupuncture, herbs, and other techniques, effectively help your body adjust its own healing mechanisms to address nearly any problem. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can benefit a wide range of health challenges as explained on our Conditions page. Even if it is not listed, or you would just like to discuss your condition with one of our practitioners, please feel free to email or call us and we will be happy to discuss your situation.

Do you treat Personal Injury (PI) and Workers Compensation patients?

We treat both Personal Injury and Workers Compensation patients. These can both be tricky for different reasons. In personal injury cases, the patient is not billed at all. When their case settles, we will receive our pay. If it doesn't settle, we probably will not be paid. It is important for us to look at the case and make sure we are comfortable with it before accepting individual patients. When it comes to workers compensation, in California, there are specific networks, based on the employer. Practitioners must belong to the appropriate one in order to accept a particular patient. We do belong to many of these networks. After that, a patient usually needs a prescription from their main doctor. In both of these types of patients, we can help navigate the system while helping our patients with there pain. Just give us a call...