Questions (Frequent and Otherwise)
Why did you put that needle there?
Probably the most frequently asked question in any acupuncture clinic, anywhere. Our friend and comrade Andy Wegman wrote an entire book with this title! You can listen to him read his book, download it for free, or buy a copy from Amazon. We also have copies for sale in our clinics.
Can I address more than one health issue at a time with acupuncture?
Absolutely. Though we don't know exactly how acupuncture works, we do know that it often acts like a re-set button for the entire body. Often, patients who come in for one issue – say for back pain – will notice an improvement in something apparently unrelated, such as a chronic lung problem. This can happen even when the patient doesn't tell the acupuncturist about the apparently unrelated problem. Acupuncture also seems to have the "side effects" of reducing stress and promoting better sleep and more energy.
Do you treat pregnant women?
Yes. We get lots of referrals from midwives and obstetricians because acupuncture is effective for many pregnancy-related conditions. Also, there's a rumor that women who get acupuncture throughout their pregnancy tend to have calm babies.
Do you treat children?
Yes. Acupuncture is often very effective for children and teens, and many of them love it. We ask only that the child in question is willing to try acupuncture; we don't want to treat unwilling patients of any age.
Which of your acupuncturists specialize in fertility/sports medicine/pain management/etc?
For philosophical reasons, none of our acupuncturists specialize in anything. All of us have lots of experience treating lots of different conditions, because an acupuncturist who works full time at WCA generally treats between 75-100 people each week. We believe that acupuncture is helpful for most problems based on patients being able to get enough treatments, not on being able to see an acupuncturist with a particular area of interest. There are literally thousands of different ways to do acupuncture, and all of them seem to work, and as far as we can tell, no one way seems to work substantially better than any other. There are no studies that we know of that prove that acupuncturists who specialize in a particular area get better results than acupuncturists who don't specialize; there are, however, recent studies out of Germany that suggest that even when you do acupuncture “wrong”, it still works.
Which of your acupuncturists have the most experience or training?
Lisa and Skip, the founders, have been practicing for 17 and 18 years, respectively. Moses and John have studied intensively in China. John, Lisa and Skip have many years experience in public health and addictions clinics. Joseph and Cortney have advanced training in Master Tung style acupuncture. All of us are licensed in the State of Oregon and get lots of continuing education. The truth is, though, we don't know for sure whether any of this has any impact on the results you get. None of us know how acupuncture works; we just know that, for the most part, it does work. We think you should see whichever acupuncturist you like best. And don't worry, we're not competitive, and we won't be offended if you like one of us better than the others. All of us get good results and all of us have people who like one of us better than the others. If you're not sure who you like best, feel free to try all of us until you find a good fit. Also, it's OK to see more than one of us; our styles are slightly different, but our clinical approaches are essentially the same.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
Not at all – animals get good results from acupuncture just like people, and we're pretty sure that they don't believe in it.
We like skeptics. You just need to have enough of an open mind to want to find out if acupuncture will work for you, and you will only know that for sure by experience. We suggest you try it and see what you think.
Does WCA use disposable needles?
Yes, we use disposable needles. They come to us sterilized, we use them once, then we dispose of them in an approved Sharps container.
What about people sneezing and coughing in the community room? Should I be concerned about getting sick when other people are sick?
Not all coughs and sneezes that you hear are contagious. Also, flu and cold seasons come around every year. These cyclical infectious diseases require ongoing person-to-person contact in order to thrive. Often times, trying to keep from falling ill or wanting to recover quickly from illness is specifically what brings us to our local community acupuncture clinic. The Respiratory Hygiene/Infection Control guidelines from the Center for Disease Control recommend that people with infectious respiratory diseases be separated from other people by at least 3 feet (measured from nose to nose). Interestingly enough, in order to treat people in the community acupuncture setting, recliners need to be about 3 feet apart simply so that the acupuncturist can move between them. So the community acupuncture clinic by its very nature separates patients with infection respiratory diseases from each other. We encourage our patients to get in the habit of protecting themselves from getting sick by doing important things like making sure they are getting enough rest, managing stress levels, drinking adequate fluids, washing hands regularly and generally taking good care of themselves. This is recommended not just during high risk seasons, but year ‘round.
My mother/sister/father/neighbor/friend is insisting that I try acupuncture, but I'm afraid of needles.
We don't recommend that anyone try acupuncture based on how much someone ELSE wants them to do it. Most people who try acupuncture like it and find it relaxing, but not everyone. It just isn't everybody's cup of tea. For acupuncture to work for you, you are probably going to have to do it more than once, which means you have to want to keep getting it. Some people don't like the experience of getting acupuncture, but they like the results they get so much that they are willing to put up with the experience. Only you can decide if this is for you. Tell your mother/sister/father/ neighbor/friend that we said so.
If you really are afraid of the needles, you might want to ask your mother/sister/father/neighbor/friend to bring one home to show you. Most people feel better when they see them, because they are very tiny, not much thicker than a hair, and nothing like a hypodermic. We will give your mother/sister/father /neighbor/friend a sterile sample needle if they ask us for one. Or you can watch our documentary, which is full of images of blissfully relaxed people getting acupuncture.
My mother/sister/father/neighbor/friend REALLY NEEDS acupuncture, but doesn't want to try it! I'm going to drag him/her/them in anyway! Don't you think that's a great idea?
How do I decide how much to pay, and does how much I pay affect the treatment I get?
You should decide how much to pay based on what you feel comfortable paying, taking into account how many treatments you'll be receiving and for how long. Your acupuncturist will discuss a treatment plan with you on your first visit and make recommendations about how often you should come in. We want to make the money fit the treatment plan, not the other way around. Don't worry. You don't get more or fewer needles based on how much you pay, and you can always rest in the treatment room as long as you want. The goal of the sliding scale is to make it possible for you to come in often enough and long enough to really feel better. Please also read about how our business works – we're not in this for the money.
We should note, though, that if you repeatedly cancel without 24 hours notice, our terrifying German receptionist Ilse might threaten to treat you in the parking lot with her stapler.
Can I combine acupuncture with massage/chiropractic/osteopathic treatment/medication /exercise/etc?
You can combine acupuncture with almost anything; that's one of the lovely things about it. Nothing is going to make it less effective, and it doesn't interfere with anything else. It's one of the reasons that so many doctors refer their patients to acupuncture.
Should I drink a lot of water after my treatment?
Only if you want to.
Can I have a few beers before my treatment?
This is not a good idea. As we noted above, you can combine acupuncture with almost anything, but we would really prefer that you not arrive for your treatment impaired by alcohol or recreational drugs. We are a family-friendly space, not a party zone, and if we think you're really impaired, we're going to ask that you leave and come back when you're sober.
I'm an acupuncturist and I want to do this!
I'm a patient and I love what you do! How can I help?
We love you too! Please join POCA.