Frequently Asked Questions

Do acupuncture needles hurt?  Are they sterile?

Acupuncture needles are made with medical-grade stainless steel (with the exception of special gold/silver needles).  All needles are sterile and for single use only.  Patients usually feel only a tap on the skin or occasionally a mild pinch upon insertion.  After the needles are inserted, although hard to believe at first, the patients typically feel relaxed and often fall asleep. 

How should I prepare for the treatment?

  • Try to wear loose clothing that can roll up to the elbows and knees
  • Avoid a too full or empty stomach
  • Avoid vigorous exercise before and after the treatment  
  • Come 15 minutes early to the treatment if it is your first visit to fill out necessary papers

Do you accept insurance?

We do not bill insurance directly, but will give you a copy of a "superbill" which contains all relevant information for insurance reimbursement if your policy covers outside-network acupuncture treatments.  This form can also be used for flexible-spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) which allows you to make most medical-related payments on pre-tax basis.

How much does it cost?  What form of payment do you accept?

  • Acupuncture treatments: $90 per treatment ($10 discount for seniors 65+)
  • Herbs: Varies, generally under $3 per day 
  • We do not accept credit cards, we accept check or cash only.  If you forget to bring the payment, you can either bring it to your next visit or mail it to the clinic.
  • Late cancellation/missed appointment fee:  a minimum 24-hour notice is required for cancellations.  You may be charged the full treatment cost for late cancellations and missed appointments.  Of course, this excludes emergency circumstances that are beyond your control.

What are your hours?  Do you take walk-ins?

We are open during the hours indicated below.  We do not accept walk-ins and highly suggest making appointments by phone or email.  
  • Sun & Mon: Closed
  • Tues : 10 - 6 pm
  • Wed: 10 - 6 pm
  • Thur: 9 - 4 pm
  • Fri: Closed
  • Sat: 9 - 5 pm

What takes place during the treatment?

In each visit, the patient will have an assessment and receive acupuncture treatment, which may involve other adjunct techniques (tui na, cupping, moxibustion, etc).  Exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes may be discussed as needed.

Are the herbs safe? 

At our clinic, we use patent and powdered herbs which have met some of the most stringent standards in the industry (Sunten & Nuherbs).  Drug-herb interaction is also an important consideration for the safe use of herbs, so make sure to let the practitioner know what medications and supplements you are currently taking.

How do you become an acupuncturist?

In the United States you need a license to practice.  It typically requires a master's degree in Oriental Medicine, passing a national license exam, and meeting the requirements specific to the state you want to practice in.  In Massachusetts, acupuncture licenses are given by the board of medicine.  If you are considering becoming one, I encourage spending some time with established practitioners first.  Also, learning internal arts such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong is important.  With time, such arts will likely give you a strong foundation to become an effective healer.  Good luck!

Are there any studies on acupuncture or herbs?

Yes, indeed!  Even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established a branch (NCCIH) devoted to the study of various complementary and alternative medicine such as acupuncture and herbs.  Click here to search for related publications.  Also scroll down for a list of conditions that can by treated with acupuncture (published by the World Health Organization).

What conditions does acupuncture treat?

Considering the philosophy of Oriental Medicine, it doesn't seem entirely correct to list the names of “diseases” or “conditions” here.  These are Western diagnoses and reflect its philosophy, which is vastly different from the Eastern medical view.  In Eastern Medicine, there is a greater emphasis on the patient rather than the disease itself – but this can be confusing to the reader and deserves a deeper discussion.

However, to facilitate our communication, here is a list of the diseases or disorders for which acupuncture was tested in controlled clinical trials published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002.  It is by no means a complete list of diseases in which acupuncture can be helpful.  Rather, it is listed here only to show the relative range of conditions in which acupuncture may be utilized.  

The WHO list has 4 sections:
  1. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved, through controlled trials, to be an effective treatment;
  2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed;
  3. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult;
  4. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment.
Of these 4 sections, for our purposes, only the first two will be listed here:

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials to be an effective treatment:
  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Knee pain
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow
Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:
  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Competition stress syndrome
  • Craniocerebral injury, closed
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Earache
  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
  • Female infertility
  • Facial spasm
  • Female urethral syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Hypo-ovarianism
  • Insomnia
  • Labour pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Ménière disease
  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain due to endoscopic examination
  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein–Leventhal syndrome)
  • Postextubation in children
  • Postoperative convalescence
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prostatitis, chronic
  • Pruritus
  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
  • Raynaud syndrome, primary
  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Retention of urine, traumatic
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sialism, drug-induced
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
  • Spine pain, acute
  • Stiff neck
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tietze syndrome
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)