Updated: Jan 22
I've been a licensed acupuncturist for some time now. From my brief but rich experience running a private practice, working at various practices around the city and treating people at a local hospital, I've learned a few valuable lessons, the most important being this:
The world is full of people who need acupuncture and herbal medicine. Most of those people don't get acupuncture because their health insurance doesn't cover it or they can't afford expensive treatments out of pocket. What most people don't know is that community acupuncture is designed to make acupuncture affordable with treatments for as little as $20.
Community acupuncture clinics like Brooklyn Open Acupuncture and Third Root Community Health Center (I practice at both of these) charge as little as $20 and $25 respectively for treatments in large communal rooms.
Community acupuncture clinics use a sliding scale. They request that clients use their decide how much they pay based on their income. Both of these clinics have a wealth of clients who pay at the top of the pay scale, making it possible for them to sustainably provide treatments at the bottom of the pay scale. This is social entrepreneurship at its best and proof that businesses that serve the social good do prosper.
Community vs. private acupuncture: If you want to get acupuncture, but are not sure whether to get a private or community acupuncture treatment, here are some things to consider:
Community Acupuncture 6-12 people receive treatment in the same room. If you like the idea of relaxing with others, this is for you. And since acupuncture affects our qi, or energy, in addition to the physical body, many believe that the energy cultivated in group acupuncture settings can have a healing effect on its own. Because the space is shared, your acupuncturist may only use points on areas of the body easily accessible in public. This is usually sufficient, but can be an issue with certain presentations and with clients who prefer to avoid even minimal public exposure. Your acupuncturist will usually spend 10-15 minutes with you, depending on how many clients the clinic takes per hour. And you are encouraged to retain the needles for as long as you like. Community acupuncture is set up to provide needle-based treatments that are both simple and elegant.
Community acupuncture clinics like Brooklyn Open Acupuncture and Third Root Community Health Center (I practice at both of these) charge as little as $15 and $20 respectively for treatments in large communal rooms.
Private Acupuncture This is done in a private room, so your acupuncturist can access a wider range of points and utilize a broader range of related therapies including cupping, gua sha, herbal formulas and manual techniques.
You'll have more time to tell your acupuncturist what you're working on and share lab results and other information. Likewise, your acupuncturist will have more time to treat you.
Tip: When looking for a private treatment, find out how many clients the acupuncturist sees per hour. An acupuncturist who sees four clients per hour is only going to have 15 minutes to give you. In that case, you might consider a private treatment with someone who sees fewer patients per hour or--if privacy is not a priority for you--community acupuncture.If you like what you see here, please pass it along.
To make an appointment: Brooklyn Open Acupuncture in Fort Greene: Community Acupuncture Third Root Community Health Center in Ditmas: Community and Private Acupuncture My Practice in Downtown Brooklyn: Community and Private Acupuncture
For more information, call or email me directly (see below).