Frequently Asked Questions

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Most people barely feel a thing when needles are inserted. Some people feel a slight pinch, and others ask “Is it in yet?” Acupuncture needles are solid, flexible, and very, very thin (about the width of two hairs). There are certain sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. These may include slight cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling or electric sensation traveling along a meridian. If any discomfort is experienced, it is usually mild and temporary.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is widely acknowledged as one of the safest forms of medicine. Acupuncture needles are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposable. Acupuncturists undergo extensive training and are regulated by the individual states’ medical board.

One of the greatest advantages of acupuncture is that it has virtually no side effects. Occasionally a small temporary bruise may appear at the site of an acupuncture needle. When compared to the laundry list of cautions and side effects for the average pharmaceutical drug, acupuncture is very low risk!

How often do I need to come in for treatment?

That depends on your medical condition. One of the benefits of the sliding scale is that allows patients to come in frequently, often 2-3 times per week. Many conditions respond more quickly to frequent acupuncture treatments, while other patients only need to come in once a week. Once your condition is stabilized, you won’t need to come in as frequently. When you come in for your first treatment, we’ll formulate a specific treatment plan for you.

How much should I pay along the sliding scale?

That’s entirely up to you. We don’t have income guidelines or ask for any verification. All of our patients pay based on what they feel is affordable for them. ENCA is not designed to make big profits; our goal is to provide an affordable service to the community and a sustainable, living wage to our workers. The sliding scale exists to allow you to receive as much acupuncture as you like. You don’t have to pay the same amount every time. We simply want you to get acupuncture as often as you need it, when you need it.

How does acupuncture work?

In Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by balancing the body’s Qi. Qi can be described as a form of bioenergy that runs along meridians. If Qi gets blocked, it shows up as an imbalance or illness. Basically, if you have a health condition, some part of your body’s system is out of whack. Chinese medical theory allows us to diagnose the imbalance… and balance it.

In Western medical theory, acupuncture appears to work by stimulating parts of the brain. It also stimulates the body to release natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. The exact mechanisms which brings this about are unknown, but the effects are measurable.

Do you accept insurance?

No. Because we offer treatments on a sliding scale, the insurance companies will not allow us to bill them directly. If you have health insurance that pays for acupuncture, we can provide a “superbill” that provides all the information you need to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. It is a standardized form which insurers expect. If you have an HSA or flexible health spending account, this will pay for acupuncture.

I have friends in family in other cities who want to try acupuncture. Where should I send them?

Great question! We are a member of a multi-stakeholder cooperative called POCA, the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture. POCA member clinics all offer affordable acupuncture in a group setting. Visit POCA’s Locate-a-Clinic page to find other affordable acupuncture clinics across the country and beyond. 

How can I learn more about how acupuncture works?

We highly recommend a great little book called Why Did You Put that Needle There? by our friend Andy Wegman of Manchester Acupuncture Studio. You can buy a copy at our clinic for $6, or click here to download a free copy.