Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from new patients to our acupuncture clinic.
How do I schedule an acupuncture treatment and herbal consultation?
Please telephone Chinese Medicine Works to schedule an appointment. Call 415.285.0931. We welcome new patients and will do our best to accommodate your needs. To reserve your first appointment we require a credit card, and we appreciate your observance of our cancellation policy. We request payment at the time of your visit and accept cash, check, and credit cards.
Do I need to bring anything to my first appointment?
Please download and print these two PDF files, and bring the completed forms along with you to the appointment:
If you are unable to print and complete these forms before your initial appointment, please arrive 30 minutes early to fill them out at the clinic.
How long does an acupuncture appointment take?
The first visit may require up to an hour and a half (including an acupuncture treatment), but follow-up visits generally last one hour.
The acupuncture clinic and self-assessment forms aid the diagnostic process but may require as much as half an hour to fill in. Please print and fill them out at home and bring them to your first appointment. (See previous question.)
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
Chinese Medicine Works has reserved time and space just for you. If you wish to cancel your appointment with us, we require at least 2 business days advance notification, or by 5:00 PM on Thursday for a Monday appointment. Late cancellations or missed appointments will be charged in full to your account.
Will insurance cover acupuncture?
Many insurance companies will either partially or fully cover the cost of acupuncture treatment – it depends on the company and the policy that you have. It is best to contact your insurance carrier to learn the coverage limitations of your policy. Chinese Medicine Works provides you with an invoice called a Super Bill listing the standardized diagnostic and treatment codes as well as recording the fee that you have paid.
You are responsible for paying all fees at the time of service for each appointment. You are also responsible for checking with your insurance carrier to see if they accept Super Bills, and if they do, you can submit your Super Bills to them so that they may reimburse you for the cost of treatment.
How does acupuncture feel?
Insertion of slender, disposable needles goes unnoticed by some, and to others feels like a small pinch followed by a sensation of tingling, numbness, a dull ache, the movement of a warm fluid, or heaviness. The experience of acupuncture can be likened to subtle gates being opened from the outside to the inside in order to facilitate internal communication. The acupuncture needles act like keys in the locks of these gates, remaining in place for about twenty to forty minutes.
Acupuncture is refreshing and involves lying down in a warm, comfortable, safe space and being transported to a place not unlike that of dreams. Usually deep relaxation and an elevation of spirit accompany treatment.
What can I expect after an acupuncture treatment?
It is as normal to want to continue resting as it is to be immediately energized. Sometimes there is immediate relief of pain or discomfort; sometimes the acupuncture treatment effects are more evident several days later. Because acupuncture is restorative and encourages the release of tension and worry, there is usually a sense of renewal and calm.
Will acupuncture help me?
Acupuncture can effectively treat acute and chronic conditions. That being said, there are miraculous cures of apparently intractable problems as well as times when recovery is beyond the scope of acupuncture in spite of dedication and persistence. Ultimately, the only way to discover whether acupuncture is helpful for you is to try it.
Can children be treated with acupuncture?
Yes, children as young as six-months-old can benefit from acupressure, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine. There are special techniques for treating young children that are gentle and safe. We have had experience with many children and enjoy making them comfortable with their experience at Chinese Medicine Works. Whether acupuncture needles are used depends on the comfort and temperament of the child.
Can pregnant women be treated with acupuncture?
Yes, acupuncture is effective for treating infertility, helping to avoid miscarriage, relieving morning sickness, and for other difficulties of pregnancy like edema, gestational diabetes, back or hip ache, and indigestion. Acupuncture is also effective for inducing and facilitating labor and can help correct mal-position of the fetus in the last trimester.
What should I do to prepare for acupuncture?
It is best if people are neither hungry nor have a full stomach before having an acupuncture treatment. It is best, although not necessary, not to have pain medication, sedatives, or stimulants like coffee or nicotine for treatment to be most effective. It is also best not to engage in heavy exercise two hours before or after an acupuncture treatment, and to abstain from alcohol on the day of treatment.
Loose, comfortable clothing that provides easy access to torso, arms and legs is most desirable. Many people think that they should not schedule an acupuncture treatment when they are sick with a cold or flu, but this is actually a good time to come, since acupuncture and herbal remedies can help speed recovery.
How many acupuncture treatments are necessary?
Depending on how long a problem has existed, there is a proportional period of time required to correct it. For acute and more superficial problems, perhaps only one treatment is necessary. For one that has been in place for decades, it will take a relatively longer period of time to alter the entrenched pattern of imbalance. Because there is often a struggle between the need for change and the desire to maintain that which is familiar and stable, treatment outcomes are difficult to predict. Everyone wishes for a cure without change, for recovery without effort.
According to studies by research scientist Bruce Pomeranz, the beneficial effects of acupuncture are cumulative: a greater effect is achieved with frequent acupuncture treatments of proper duration over the course of an extended period of time. Often people experience some benefit quickly, even though the ultimate results may require a more lengthy series of treatments. Many people come once a week or every other week until they reach a point at which a sustainable level of benefit is realized. As symptoms improve, fewer visits are required, individual progress being the yardstick.
How do I get to the clinic? Is there parking?
Please visit our location page to see a map, directions, and advice about parking, as well as how to reach us by public transportation.