Acupuncture frequently asked questions

What is acupuncture and how does it work?

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles (as thick as a human hair) into the body for therapeutic effect. Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on theories of Qi (energy) and Xue (blood) flow through distinct channels or meridians. At Heart & Hands, we practice a unique distal balancing system using points mainly on the arms, legs, head and ears, which is ideal for lying comfortably in our zero gravity recliners.

If you have any additional questions about acupuncture or what it is like getting treated, considering reading, Why did you put that needle there?“, published free, online by Manchester Acupuncture Studio.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture works quickly, is versatile and can be used frequently. It is extremely safe with mild side effects, which may include minor bruising, bleeding or light-headedness. It does not interfere with medications and has been safely used on elderly and pregnant women. ONLY single-use, disposable, sterile needles are used and are shallowly inserted into through the skin.

Sensitivity will vary from person to person. Insertion of the needle may generate a split second prick, this is followed by an unusual sensation of either aching, heaviness, warmth or tingling. Patients often become accustomed to sensations with regular treatments and most leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Practice makes perfect!

What can acupuncture treat?

Common colds/flu, allergies & asthma
Digestive complaints- indigestion, acid reflux, IBS, etc.
Insomnia, restless leg syndrome
Hypertension, diabetes
Stress, anxiety, depression
Neck, shoulder and back tension
Tendonitis, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder
Chronic pain & arthritis
Smoking cessation & withdrawal support
Headaches, migranes & TMJ
Menstrual irregularities & menopause
Fertility & pregnancy support
Morning sickness & labour induction
Side effects of radiation, chemotherapy & other medications
Immune boosting
…wondering if acupuncture can help ______________? Don’t hesitate to ask, just contact us

What are the benefits of Community Acupuncture?

A Strong Therapeutic Effect

All living things GENERATE and EXCHANGE magnetic and electrical energy. Acupuncture increases the flow of these energies, which aid in healing. When people receive acupuncture together, these energies are collectively magnified and the therapeutic value of the treatment increases.

Less Isolation

Being treated in a group is a powerful social experience. To be in the quiet presence of others during a treatment reminds us that we are not alone. Reducing isolation can strengthen a person’s resistance to disease.

Acupuncture is a Process

We recommend regular and frequent treatments. In Asia, a typical treatment plan for a chronic condition can be 2-3 treatments a week for a couple months. Most of our patients do not need that much acupuncture, and most people require a course of treatments, not just a single session. Community acupuncture is set up to facilitate this process so that you may come in as often as needed to get better and stay better.

Affordability & Accessibility

Generally, acupuncturists see only one patient per hour and charge $75 to $120 per session. At Heart & Hands, we don’t. We believe that acupuncture does not need to be expensive to be effective. Our $30-60 sliding scale allows more people to access acupuncture and to use it as a preventative, long-term health practice. It becomes affordable to come as often as needed to GET well and STAY well!

Why a sliding scale?

We operate using a $30-60 (Community Acupuncture) and $40-70 (Cupping & Gua Sha) sliding scale, which is available to anyone at any time with no income verification, no questions asked. Clients are encouraged to choose an amount that is affordable and sustainable over time so that they can continue to come as often as necessary to get and stay well.

When using our sliding scale please first and foremost keep in mind your financial means and the frequency you are receiving treatments. However, also consider that this is how your practitioners make a living and how the clinic covers the cost of operating.

The sliding scale in place so we can treat people from a wide spectrum of financial situations, which is why we want to keep the bottom end of our sliding scale as accessible as possible. If you are tight for money, pay at the low end of the sliding scale, but those of you who have extended healthcare benefits or those of you that find the higher end of the sliding scale within your means, we encourage you to pay more. Also, if your financial situation or treatment frequency changes, please adjust your payments accordingly.

To keep our rates affordable, what we need from you

  • Book online – we may not always be available to answer the phone. Please make the effort to book your appointment online. This reduces the amount of time spent on the phone if the acupuncturist on-shift so they can focus on client care.
  • Leave a voicemail – we are not always available by phone. If you want us to return your call, please make the effort to leave a voicemail.
  • Be punctual – we rely on high volume to keep our rates affordable, therefore, we rely on everyone arriving on time so that the acupuncturist on-shift can stay on track. Commencing Nov 1, 2021, clients arriving 5+ minutes past their appointment time will be subject to a $2 late fee.
  • Be accountable to the appointment you have booked – adhering to our cancellation policies and ensuring you keep track of the appointment(s) you have booked. When you book an appointment and not show, you are taking a timeslot away from another client in need of care.
  • Paying it forward – if it is within your means, esp individuals who have extended benefits, by paying on the higher end of the scale you are investing in clients who have less financial privilege and is the basis of mutual aid.
  • Learn more about how a sliding scale is a tool for economic justice – read more from Worts + Cunning Apothecary

How frequently should I get treatment?

Here are a range of recommended treatment frequencies. The frequency of treatment is dependent on a variety of factors including health history, severity, season and/or climate, age, gender as well as how your body responds to the first 1-3 sessions. The response to acupuncture varies greatly from individual to individual. Receiving acupuncture is a PROCESS that is closely dependent on treatment frequency as well as a life style – stress level, relationships, diet, exercise, sleep, hormones, etc.

We will discuss adjustments to your treatment plan depending on how you are feeling and if you re-aggravate your condition or experience a relapse in symptoms. These treatment frequencies are guidelines and flexible to your healing process.

The role of an acupuncturist is to assist the body to shift back into a balance. The body inherently knows balance, but will periodically stray off the path. We believe health and wellness is a process that will wax and wane with the seasons, illness or injury, aging and life changes. By committing to consistent treatments, it will allow you to adjust to life’s ups and downs.

Keep in mind that one of the most common factors that impedes your healing process is COMMITMENT to a treatment plan! If you do not come in, we cannot help you! If you commit to us, we are committed to supporting your healing.

10 out of 10 AKA
“at the end of my rope”

Daily until we see some change.
7-9 out of 10
3x week for 2-3 weeks, then re-evaluate.
5-7 out of 10
2x week for 2-3 weeks, then re-evaluate.
Mild or long-standing issues
(3 months – 1 year)

1x week for 8 -10 weeks, then re-evaluate.
Very long-term/chronic
(+1 year)

2x week for 10 weeks or 3 x week for 7 weeks, then re-evaluate.
Chronic stress
(and related symptoms)

1x week during stressful periods and until stress subsides.
Most other issues
1x week till 50% improvement, then every other week, then once a month.
Wellness and Prevention
At least monthly and especially before travel, during seasonal changes, or times of higher stress.
Gynecological including hormonal, menstrual pain and/or irregularity
1x week until a normal cycle is established, then every other week until patient experiences 2 normal menstrual cycles.This is followed by monthly –
the week before menses
Chronic conditions with poor prognosis (ie. degenerative conditions- MS, Parkinson’s, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.)
1x week as general maintenance

Can I receive acupuncture if I am pregnant?

At Heart & Hands, we think Community Acupuncture is an ideal therapy as a minimally invasive, drug-free and traditional for of treatment throughout the pregnancy journey.

Modified treatments are extremely helpful for supporting pre and post-natal conditions. Midwives and other medical professionals commonly recommend acupuncture for a variety of issues including:

  • Morning sickness & other digestive issues
  • Breech or posterior babies
  • Labour preparation & induction (an effective alternative to medical induction)
  • Fatigue, anemia & body pain
  • We sometimes recommend acupressure for further support at home.
    Click here for some resources.
  • Read more about how acupuncture can be part of a happy, healthy pregnancy

Do you treat children?

For children, the age that they can start receiving acupuncture depends on their comfort level with the needles AND their ability to sit comfortably and quietly for at least 10-15 minutes (children require a shorter treatment times than adults).

Typically, children can start receiving acupuncture with needles around 8-10 years old as long as they are comfortable with the idea of needles – like all of our adult H&H clients, your child (not parent) is entitled to providing their own consent prior to receiving treatment.

Additionally, with our current masking policies, your child must able to remain masked for their entire visit.

What if I have specific questions for the practitioners?

We are a pretty bustling place during our office hours, so we encourage clients who have complex questions or medical history to email us via our contact page , so we can review your information and respond accordingly.

It may not be possible to make time to speak to you in-person during a shift and disrupts appointment timeslots booked by your fellow clients.

We thank you in advance for the consideration!

Will my health insurance or MSP cover the cost of acupuncture?

YES! Acupuncture is covered by most extended health plans in BC. Please contact your employer or extended health provider to find out about your coverage. The UVic Student Health Plan and Camosun College student plan also covers acupuncture fees.

However, due to the high volume nature of Community Acupuncture, we do not direct bill to Extend Health Providers. Our $30-60 sliding scale is also intended to be affordable to individuals who do not have extended health coverage and need to pay out of pockets for such expenses.

B.C. residents who qualify for premium assistance (an income of $30,000 or less) Medical Services Plan will cover $23 per visit to a maximum of 10 visits per calendar year. Find our about our Direct Billing to MSP Service and how you may qualify for up to 10 sessions!

We will bill MSP directly for $23 per session and you will be responsible for paying the remaining $12-32 per session to fall within our $30-60 sliding scale.

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