Frequently Asked Questions


  • About Acupuncture
  • About Community Acupuncture
  • How it Works at our Clinic

Here are some short (and long) answers to questions that people ask us about acupuncture and the treatment process. If you can’t find your question answered here, please don’t hesitate to ask us. Acupuncture will always hold a smidgeon of mystery and great wonder (that’s good!), but the rest is very rationale and explainable.

We will keep adding FAQs here as they arise….


Q. What is acupuncture
A. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting tiny needles at specific points on the body in order to stimulate the body’s own ability to heal itself. A trained acupuncturist uses very fine, sterile needles to affect the energy flow in the body. Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and is used as the primary healthcare system in many cultures throughout the world. It is used to preserve health as well as effectively treating acute and chronic conditions.

Q. What conditions can acupuncture help?
A. Fortunately, this is not a short answer. Acupuncture can safely and positively affect almost any issue you may be experiencing, including:

  • Stress & anxiety,
  • Insomnia (sleeping disorders),
  • Digestive problems,
  • Pain: joint, muscle, and nerve,
  • Allergies,
  • Compromised immune system,
  • Women’s or men’s issues,
  • The side-affects of medical traumas, such as surgery & chemotherapy,
  • It is also a great prevention tool for helping maintain your body’s natural balance.

In fact, acupuncture is effective for an enormously wide range of conditions, so wide that it will likely help almost any problem to some degree, even if it can’t cure it entirely. For instance, in our experience, acupuncture can:

  • Decrease inflammation,
  • Calm spasms,
  • Boost immunity,
  • Increase fertility,
  • Induce labor (when your baby is ready),
  • Reduce or dispel a migraine,
  • Shrink swelling,
  • Relieve pain in almost any location,
  • Regulate hormones,
  • Cut recovery time from surgery almost in half,
  • Calm anxiety,
  • Lift depression,
  • Restore mobility, and
  • Create deep relaxation.

As long as these lists are, there are always more conditions that acupuncture can help. If you can’t find your specific concern listed here, please talk to us. Acupuncture knows no bounds, and it can’t hurt to try. Here are a few more conditions we can treat:

  • Addiction–alcohol, drug, smoking
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Dysentery
  • Emotional problems
  • Eye problems
  • Facial palsy/tics
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gingivitis
  • Headache
  • Hiccough
  • Hip pain
  • Incontinence
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Knee pain
  • Low back pain
  • Menopause
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Migraine
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • PMS
  • Pneumonia
  • Reproductive problems
  • Rhinitis
  • Sciatica
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore throat
  • Stress
  • Tennis elbow
  • TMJ
  • Tonsilitis
  • Tooth pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Wrist pain
  • And more …

The best way to find out how acupuncture can help you is to try it. (Are you ready, yet, to schedule an appointment?)

Q. Is acupuncture recognized by other health organizations?
A. Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in treating a wide variety of medical issues. As more and more doctors of Western medicine are recognizing the many benefits of acupuncture, they are recommending it for their patients—and getting it themselves!

Q. Is acupuncture safe?
A. Yes, acupuncture is a very safe form of healthcare. Because it works on the body’s ability to heal itself, acupuncture cannot make a problem worse…it is very gentle in that way. Acupuncture almost always helps, but in the unlikely event that it doesn’t help, it can’t hurt, either. (Consider the possible side-affects of surgeries and prescription drugs.) You are always in good hands with a licensed practitioner who has been rigorously trained and who always uses sterile, single-use needles.

Q. Will it hurt?
A. Some people come in with a pre-existing nervousness about needles. In fact, acupuncture needles are extremely fine (not much bigger in diameter than a human hair) and rarely cause pain. You may experience a tingling sensation or, occasionally, a momentary sharpness or dull ache. If you experience any discomfort with a specific placement, tell your acupuncturist who will quickly make adjustments. Most patients find the treatments not only painless, but deeply relaxing.

Q. How does acupuncture work?
A. Western medicine is still trying to figure out how this ancient technique works. To the patient, the most important thing about acupuncture is not how it works, but how amazingly well it works. Most practitioners go through a rigorous Masters training program in Chinese medicine to become certified acupuncturists and they are happy to share what they know with you. There are also good books on the subject which we can recommend.

Q. Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
A. 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. The great thing is, it can’t hurt.

Q. How many treatments will I need?
A. Acupuncture is a process. Many people experience some improvement after one treatment, but a course of treatments may be necessary for significant, lasting change. The longer you have had a certain condition, the longer it may take to affect change (to turn the ship around). Keep in mind that a “cure” may not always be possible, but we always expect improvement. Your practitioner will develop a plan and discuss it with you at your first visit.

Q. Can more than one condition be worked on at the same time?
A. Absolutely—although it is usually better to major in one, and minor in the others. Be sure to tell your practitioner what your priorities are. Sometimes you may be working on one issue, and it helps resolve another issue. It’s not magic, it just shows how everything in our body is related.


Q. What is “community” acupuncture?
A. Some will tell you that community acupuncture is a grassroots Revolution in healthcare. It certainly is a model of treatment that more and more people are getting excited about. Not only is it effective, but it aims to be accessible to everyone in the community by making it more affordable—without being dependent on health insurance coverage. The major elements of the community-style model are that 1) it offers individual treatments in a comfortable, healing, group setting, and 2) it offers those treatments on a sliding, pay-what-you-can, scale. We think that’s a revolutionary approach to the well-being of our local community. And Hollywood Community Acupuncture is proud to be a part of it.

Q. How does the sliding scale work, anyway?
A. Community-style clinics (as opposed to more expensive, private-room clinics) offer their services on a sliding scale, often starting as low as $15 per treatment. Pay what your current budget allows: no proof of income required. You decide what you can afford to get the care you need. To be sure, this is not a traditional fee structure. It makes many folks uncomfortable at first, but you’ll learn to appreciate it quite quickly.

Q. How do I decide how much I should pay for my treatment?
A. That is totally up to you. We ask for no income verification, or justification. Our “sliding scale” is intended to allow everyone in our community to get as many treatments as necessary in order to reach her/his personal health goals. If your budget only allows $15 treatments, that is what we want you to pay. If and when your budget allows you to pay more than the minimum, then please do. We are able to make a living wage and stay in business when our patients pay along the entire range between $15 and $40. Helping us spread the word about our clinic and bringing in more people also helps all of us!

Q. Does someone who pays $15 get the same treatment as those who pay $40?
A. Yes and no. First of all, unless she is the one taking your payment, the practitioner does not know how much you’ve paid….therefore she cannot (and would not) adjust your treatment based on payment. Those who pay $15 are assured of getting the full meal deal, just like anyone else. On the other hand, no one gets exactly the same treatment because no one’s condition or treatment plan is the same. In other words, each treatment is based on achieving your personal health goals, not on your ability to pay. (Amazing concept, isn’t it?) That’s what “community” acupuncture is all about: Everyone gets the best treatment possible—regardless of how much you pay on the sliding scale.


Q. What should I expect at my first appointment?
A. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing, and show up a few minutes early for your New Patient appointment. When you first come in, you’ll want to stop by the front desk and check in. You’ll give the office person your completed paperwork and payment. Many like to book their future appointment(s) at the same time. After you’re finished checking in, the acupuncturist will introduce herself and review your health history, listen to your health concerns and goals, carefully explain the process, and will help ensure that you are relaxed and comfortable at all times. She will then take you into the treatment room and show you to your recliner. Remove your shoes & socks, and put them in a basket under your chair where no one will trip over them. Roll up your sleeves to your elbows, and your pant-legs to your knees. Relax and bliss out for the next 30-60 minutes. If you have never had acupuncture before, you may be a bit nervous at first, but you’re in for a real treat. This is a safe and healing space.

Q. What will my acupuncturist do?
A. During the initial exam, a full health history will be taken. The acupuncturist will then feel your pulse at each wrist and observe the color and shape of your tongue. This information will provide a more complete picture regarding your health. After the interview, your acupuncturist will answer any questions, recommend a treatment plan, and will give you an acupuncture treatment. At subsequent visits, the acupuncturist will check on your progress and treat you accordingly.

Q. Does HCA use disposable needles?
A. Yes, we only use disposable needles. They come to us sterilized, we use them once, then we dispose of them in an approved Sharps container.

Q. What are the qualifications of my acupuncturist?
A. Your acupuncturist at Hollywood Community Acupuncture has a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine, and is certified by the local governing boards. Please read about our acupuncturist(s) in “About HCA.”

Q. Why don’t you deal with health insurance companies?
A. To keep overhead low and bookkeeping simple (so we can offer low-cost treatments), we do not process insurance claims. Insurance companies don’t like sliding scale and we don’t have the time nor patience to deal with their hoops and red-tape—we’d rather spend the time with you! However, upon request, we are more than happy to issue you a receipt that you can submit to your health insurance company. Since insurance companies often limit your number of treatments (if they cover acupuncture at all), or hassle you with co-pays and endless paperwork, many of our patients opt for our simple “low-cost, pay-as-you-go, no-questions-asked” way of doing things.

Q. What is my responsibility as a patient at HCA?
A. Hollywood Community Acupuncture does not provide primary care medicine. Acupuncture is a wonderful complement to Western medicine, but it is not a substitute for it. If you think you have a serious, undiagnosed problem, you need to see a primary care physician (MD or ND). We cannot diagnose and treat something really serious, of unknown origin. We can provide complimentary care for conditions which require a physician’s attention – for instance, we often treat patients for the side effects of chemotherapy. While we are always here to assist you, we ask that you take primary responsibility for your health.