Updated: Jan 19, 2022
How to Choose between Private and Community Acupuncture
If you’re searching for an acupuncturist in Denver, you have a ton of options. If you consider other types of practitioners who use acupuncture based techniques, like chiropractors and physical therapists who do “dry needling,” your choices expand even further. Staying in the realm of licensed acupuncturists, you have two options: community acupuncture or private practice acupuncture.
The community acupuncture setting is attractive because it typically costs less than private practice acupuncture, and is more accommodating to walk-ins. If you’re not familiar with community style acupuncture, the idea is to treat patients in one large room, often in reclining chairs, so that the acupuncturist can see many patients at the same time. This allows the practitioner to charge less per treatment, because she can more easily see many people an hour. Community acupuncture clinics can be a good option for some people, but here are some things you may want to consider if you’re new to acupuncture and want to choose the right setting for you.
Acupuncturists are Health Detectives
There are so many benefits to developing a relationship with an acupuncturist, one-on-one. Part of being an acupuncturist is being a health detective. I’m constantly gathering information from my patients, from what they tell me in their words and with their bodies, and even in the invisible fields around us. There are subtle clues that arise as the treatments progress. I get to know my patients, about their work and family lives, hobbies, diets, and other pieces of information that guide the treatments, and I’m able to provide them guidance as well. When the goal is to treat the root of the issue, not just give symptomatic relief, developing this relationship is key.
We Need to Peel the Onion
Most people seeking acupuncture have multiple layers to address, and therefore require a systematic plan. If someone’s pain or illness or stress is severe enough to bring them in for treatments, they probably have had it for a while, and had other issues preceding this one that weren’t as severe. Basically, it gets complicated. Acupuncturists often need to start at the superficial layers, and work our way towards the center, like peeling an onion. This can’t happen in one treatment. Working with the same acupuncturist offers continuity of care. I create a treatment plan for my patients, and take them through it as slowly or quickly as they need.
Privacy is Nice
Remember those important health detective conversations? Not much time or privacy for that in community acupuncture. You’re also in a large room with other people getting treatments. While some people enjoy this setting, and feel it’s a healing space, it can be distracting and uncomfortable for some people.
Treating What Hurts
Community style acupuncture primarily relies on distal acupuncture points, found on the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Because there’s no privacy, patients must remain fully clothed, and usually are seated in a comfortable chair. Distal acupuncture treatments can be very useful for issues like headaches, digestive upset, stress, and some types of pain. However, many people require attention at the site of their pain, which is often not accessible in this setting. Or, there headaches are caused by neck and shoulder tension, which needs needles, cupping, and massage.
It’s upsetting to me when I hear people say acupuncture didn’t work for them, but dry needling from a non-acupuncturist did. On further questioning, it turns out they visited a community clinic that did not directly treat the area of pain. They weren’t even aware that acupuncturists needle painful areas to release muscles, scar tissue, and adhesions. This is spreading misinformation about acupuncture, and it’s a shame because acupuncturists really do have so much to offer.
Come in for a Free Consultation
In my practice, I see no more than two patients an hour. This assures plenty of one-on-one type for me to give a great treatment, give appropriate guidance, and answer questions. Treatment price includes cupping, massage, e-stim, or other techniques I need to add to your session.
You can schedule a free 20 minute consultation with me to discuss your health issues. If you are scared of needles and just want to see what it’s like before you commit to a New Patient Visit, I’m happy to do a couple points on you so you can see for yourself that 1) it’s not painful, and 2) acupuncture is very relaxing.