Community Acupuncture can legitimately be called A Movement, and not just any movement, but a movement that is sweeping the national and international arenas. One of the main agendas of community acupuncture is to increase accessibility to acupuncture and eliminate the barrier of cost by sharing space. When receiving acupuncture, the patient is seated in a comfortable reclining or zero-gravity chair in a room where there are other people also receiving acupuncture. The mood in the room is meditative and serene. You remain clothed and needles can be placed on the head, arms below the elbows and/or legs below the knees. The needles remain in, you lay back and relax, for about 30 minutes. When you come for community acupuncture at Wellness Minneapolis, you will hear me walking about, other patients coming and going, and whispers being exchanged. You will feel the reassurance and community of others who are on this path toward wellness with you.
This is quite a different model from traditional acupuncture where patients receive treatment in a private room on a massage table. The solitude of a traditional treatment is essential for some people in this busy and over-stimulating world we live in. A traditional acupuncture treatment involves a more comprehensive intake process at the initial appointment, and a longer check-in before each follow up treatment. This is simply because the practitioner has more one-on-one time with that patient. In this setting, the patient can receive needles in more areas of the body such as the upper arm and leg, the upper and lower abdomen, hips, neck, and back. Also, the practitioner can provide more modalities than just acupuncture (see Treatment below) for the patient which can maximize the acupuncture treatment.
Sometimes it is a hard choice to make between community and traditional one-on-one acupuncture. I offer both at Wellness Minneapolis, so I have hashed out some of the differences between them here for you:
Herein lies the primary reason for choosing community acupuncture – to reduce cost. Community Acupuncture at Wellness Minneapolis is $50 for your initial visit and $30 for each follow up visit. Traditional one-on-one Acupuncture is $100 for an initial treatment and $75 for each follow up.
Private vs. Public
To lower the cost of acupuncture treatment, in community acupuncture patients share their space with other patients. There is a sense of camaraderie, empathy and reassurance that comes with this type of treatment and setting. Many find this togetherness comfortable and comforting. You can bring a friend and receive acupuncture at the same time! Traditional one-on-one acupuncture is solitary, quiet, and still. It is just you, me and some meditative music. Sometimes acupuncture can produce an emotional response such as a burst of laughter or tears. In the quiet of your own room, you are free to fully express that. I feel that perhaps this characteristic, more than any other difference between community and one-on-one acupuncture, is an important deciding factor for many people. If cost is not your main concern, privacy may be.
For community acupuncture you are fully clothed and will only be asked to remove shoes and socks, and to roll up shirt sleeves and pant legs. For traditional one-on-one acupuncture you may also be fully clothed with rolled up sleeves and pants depending on the reason for your visit. Yet, in the private setting you will have the flexibility to wear a gown or a drape, or partially disrobe to allow the needles to be placed on hips, back, upper legs or lower abdomen.
Another important difference between a community visit and a one-on-one visit is the time spent at initial intake and follow-up check-in. For a one-on-one appointment, your initial visit lasts 90 minutes during which time I will collect a comprehensive medical and personal history, and discuss your condition at length before you receive your acupuncture treatment. We also spend time checking in during each follow up appointment (60 minutes), discussing changes, and addressing questions and/or concerns prior to your treatment.
Your initial visit for community acupuncture is about an hour. Intake will take place briefly in a private room, followed by acupuncture in the group room. With each follow up visit, you will come directly to the group room, have a brief whispered check-in with me and then receive treatment. Those visits are generally about 45 minutes.
It may surprise you to learn that the effectiveness of acupuncture is equal in a community setting as it is in a one-on-one setting. I have studied various techniques that allow me to treat each patient holistically regardless of whether I have access to their entire bodies or only parts. So in a nutshell, the acupuncture treatment you receive in community acupuncture can be just as effective as one you receive in a one-on-one setting.
That being said, I am limited to using only acupuncture in the community setting and cannot utilize other therapies in my toolset. For one-on-one treatments, I can use additional modalities to treat your condition such as moxibustion (heat therapy), cupping, electrical stimulation, or gua sha (rubbing therapy). These modalities wonderfully supplement and enhance your acupuncture treatment...and they feel great!
In the end the choice is yours. Weighing the options between community acupuncture and one-on-one acupuncture can be confusing. If cost is your main concern, I would recommend community. One pattern I see often with my patients, is that they choose to start with traditional one-on-one acupuncture for the first few treatments, then once they feel better they switch to community acupuncture for their long-term health maintenance. On the other hand, I have patients that even after receiving acupuncture for over a year, still choose to have one-on-one treatments, as well as patients that have only ever come to community. There is no right or wrong answer. Consider the differences above and make the choice that is right for you.
Marian Kimball Eichinger has a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is nationally certified in Acupuncture and a licensed acupuncturist in Minnesota. Click here to learn more about Marian.