Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Wear Special Clothing?


Not necessarily. We do recommend wearing baggy or loose-fitting clothing that can be rolled up to the knees and elbows, however, we can work around tighter clothing. Some people wear sweat pants, skirts, or baggy pants which is helpful. If modesty is a concern for you, we can absolutely just put needles in hands, feets and/or ears and still give you a great treatment. We highly recommend bringing a clean, lightweight, blanket or two such as a fleece or throw blanket for staying warm during your treatment.




What is Acupuncture Used For?


Acupuncture is helpful for many conditions. A short list includes: Autoimmune conditions, Migraines, Acute & Chronic Pain anywhere in the body, Old and New Injuries, Mental Health, Respiratory conditions, Nerve Damage, Hormone Imbalances, Diabetes, Digestive conditions, Sexual & Reproductive Health, Menstrual cramps, Menopause, Stroke sequellae, and Skin conditions. It can be used while undergoing cancer treatment to reduce unwanted side effects. To see also the list of conditions we commonly treat see our First Appointment page. Some people try acupuncture after spending years exhausting all other methods. We say, give us a try early on and see what it can do for you. Many people find it helps when nothing else has worked.




Does Acupuncture Hurt?


Usually not. It's common to feel a slight prick when the needles first go in. Often people don't feel the needles go in at all. Once the needles are in place, the process is usually very comfortable and relaxing, so relaxing in fact many people fall asleep during their treatment!




Why Do You Use A Sliding Scale?


Our sliding scale is in place so you and others are able to get acupuncture frequently enough to get results.

We recognize that some people work very hard but are not compensated adequately for their hard work. We also recognize that some people are on fixed incomes, are single parents/caregivers, or are juggling bills. We believe that everybody deserves care. Period. We don't want payment to get in the way of you getting help. We trust you to pay what you can, no questions asked. We firmly believe that acupuncture that is not affordable or accessible isn't useful. No medicine works if you can't afford to actually take it. So please utilize the sliding scale so you can get acupuncture frequently enough to get better and stay better!

If you don't know how much to pay, consider your treatment plan- i.e. how frequently you've been recommended to come in and for how long. Consider an amount that you could pay while completing this treatment plan. If you have a higher income to expenses ratio, please consider paying on the higher end of the scale in an amount that still makes getting treatment comfortable. We are funded solely through patient fees, so paying what you can is very helpful to us and others receiving treatment as well. If you aren't sure where to pay on the sliding scale - this chart might be helpful.




Will Acupuncture Work for Me and My Condition?


We have listed the conditions we commonly and successfully treat here, but there is a lot more acupuncture can help with. Some people find that acupuncture helps when nothing else has worked. Some people's bodies respond fantastically to acupuncture, some people get moderate results, and for some people, in some conditions, it doesn't help. Acupuncture, like many modalities including surgery and pharmaceuticals, doesn't work for every body or for every condition, every time. Bodies are complex systems and just like pharmaceuticals and surgeries you don't know if something will help until you try it. Fortunately, acupuncture is incredibly safe and in most cases will leave you feeling better than before the treatment. So it doesn't hurt to try. A series of acupuncture treatment has helped many people when nothing else has worked.




How Many Treatments Will I Need?


A standard course of treatment with acupuncture is 10-20 treatments - however, if your condition is severe or has been going on for a long time, more treatments will likely be needed. If your condition is acute or mild, you might only need 1-3 treatments. Some chronic conditions, such as arthritis, require ongoing care. For example, if you have an injury that is continually reinjured by the work you do, you might need to come in on a regular basis to stay out of pain, such as a weekly visit. Some people come in seasonally such as for allergies or when a health condition flares up.




Do You Reuse Needles?


No! Never! We use only sterile, single-use, filiform needles which are promptly disposed of into a biohazard storage container.




Are You LGBTQ Friendly?


Heck yeah we are! Shelby, our acupuncturist is proudly Queer and very pleased to be able to support Queer and Trans communities with affordable group acupuncture. We honor and appreciate all pronouns, gender identitites and expressions.




How Does Acupuncture Work?


There are many theories as to why acupuncture works and some of them - such as theories that arose in very different climates - contradict each other. Acupuncture works in many different ways especially when you consider Eastern and Western frameworks. The Eastern perspective says that all matter is composed of Qi in varying states and dis-ease is caused by an imbalance, stagnation, or deficiency in Qi. Acupuncture helps to restore the flow of Qi so the body can heal. Biochemically speaking, studies have shown that acupuncture has many effects on the body. One very important effect is shifting the body into a parasympathetic mode, which means moving from a state of fight/flight/freeze into rest, digest, and heal. That healing state means new tissue can form, blood can better flow to peripheral tissues, hormones and endorphins can be released, and muscles can relax. What we as acupuncturists and patients know is that some of it is still a mystery but we see that it works. We utilize theories to create treatment plans and every day we see patients getting better, which for us is what keeps us coming back to using and getting
acupuncture.




Why Did you Put that Needle there?


Acupuncture points are used for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. Some points are used because they have a specific function and others are used because of their location along a certain acupuncture channel. In our clinic, we often use what is called, "distal needling" meaning we put needles in places other than where you have pain. For example, shoulder and back pain can be treated using points on the ankles or forearms. Acupuncture has a systemic effect on the body so we don't have to put needles right where something hurts. For more information on this topic, you can check out the book " Why Did you Put that Needle There?" by Andy Wegman from Manchester Acupuncture Studio. Here you can download a free copy in Spanish or English, listen to Andy read the English copy in lovely dulcid tones in or purchase it here through POCA.




Do I Have to Take Off My Clothes During My Treatment?


No! And in fact, we ask that you remain fully clothed except to roll up your sleeves and pantlegs. This is a group treatment space and not everybody feels comfortable being in a room with someone else who is half-naked. We think it's great (and important!) that people feel comfortable with their bodies but please, keep your clothes on. Wearing shorts and a tank top is not necessary but is totally acceptable.




Can I Work on More than One Condition At a Time?


Absolutely. We will usually ask you what your Top 3 concerns are. People often find that they see improvements on conditions they didn't even mention to us- this is because many systems in the body are interconnected and helping one system can have very positive effects on another system.




I'm Pregnant, Can I Still Get Acupuncture?


Yes! Please let us know that you are pregnant so we can alter our treatment accordingly. Acupuncture can be used throughout pregnancy to treat conditions such as morning sickness, aches and pains, edema, gestational diabetes, and for general stress reduction which can promote a healthy full-term pregnancy. Acupuncture close to the due date can encourage tissues to relax and prepare for the birth process. Acupuncture can even be used to induce labor. Moxibustion, if done at the right time, can be used to turn a breech baby. Acupuncture is also very helpful for postpartum care such as wound healing, resolving mastitis, promoting sufficient milk flow, and alleviating post-partum depression. We also treat babies for a variety of conditions including colic, earaches, skin conditions, congenital conditions, and upset stomachs.




If I Pay More/Less Do I Get More/Fewer Needles Or Get A Longer/Shorter Treatment Time?


No. Payment does not dictate your level of care at OCA. Everyone is equal at OCA. The number of needles used is not a gauge for better or more effective treatment. Similarly, your length of time in the chair is not dictated by how much you pay. Everyone gets to stay about 1 hour, longer if there is room. More or less needles do not equal a stronger/ or weaker treatment. There are many different styles of acupuncture, some use more needles, some use less. No one style has been proven to be more effective than other styles of acupuncture. At OCA we practice a few different styles of acupuncture, primarily Balance Method, Master Tung, and Tong Gi Chim. We use gentle needling techniques. If someone prefers we use less needles, we can easily create a treatment using less needles.




Do You Have A Speciality?


The acupuncturist here at Olympia Community Acupuncture was trained to treat a wide variety of conditions. We specialize in treating just about anybody for just about anything. We are happy to refer out to other practitioners if we think you'd be better served elsewhere.




I Love Your Clinic and What You Do - How Can I Help?


Why thank you! We love you too! There are many things you can do to support our mission.

We always appreciate referrals to friends, family, co-workers, clients, and colleagues. The best way to introduce your friends and family to the wonders of acupuncture is to buy them a gift card or bring them in for their first treatment- that way you can both enjoy it together. You can also grab a few of our business cards and flyers and hand them to folks who might want them.
We accept volunteers for a variety of tasks including reception, outreach, cleaning, social media, grant writing, translation, material design, editing, and more. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at: Olycommunityacu@gmail.com or (360) 545-3767. Volunteers get free acupuncture.

You can donate here: (Button)
Or drop off donations at our clinic. Our 501c3 status is pending which means once we achieve 501c3 status, all donations you make now will become tax deductible upon 501c3 status approval. We also take donations of supplies and furniture- please call ahead to see if it's something we need.

You can help create other amazing community acupuncture clinics by joining the POCA: the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture. Your membership dues fund microloans to start new clinics, workshops, affordable acupuncture education, and more.




Can I Utilize Acupuncture While Taking Medication, Seeing a Chiropractor, Undergoing Physical Therapy, or Before or After Surgery?


Yes you can. Acupuncture does not interfere with medications. It supports the recovery made in chiropractic care and physical therapy. Before surgery acupuncture can prepare the body for the procedure and afterwards will speed up recovery time, decrease inflammation and encourage formation of health tissue.




Do You Accept Insurance?


We make acupuncture more accessible by charging a rate that is at or below the cost of the standard insurance co-pays for acupuncture. We do not accept insurance however we do accept HSA cards/checks and can give you a receipt to submit to your insurance providers. If we were to go to a flat rate and bill insurance, we would have to substantially increase our rates to pay someone to bill the insurance companies and that flat-rate would leave us inaccessible to many people in our community.




How Long Does A Treatment Last?


A treatment in the clinic lasts about 30 to 45 minutes, longer if space allows. We recommend retaining needles for at least 30 minutes. You decide how long to stay - continegent on chair availability - and you let us know when you are ready to leave.




Should I Eat Before Getting Acupuncture?


Yes. Please do notget acupuncture an empty stomach or with low blood sugar - if needed we can provide you with a snack beforehand. It is also best to use the bathroom before your session and to drink water afterward.




What if I Think Acupuncture Is a Hoax and just Wishful Thinking - Can It Still Help Me?


Lucky for you acupuncture can work even if you think it's stupid, boring, or hokey. Acupuncture works in concrete ways to make changes in your body such is increasing blood flow, decreasing inflammation and releasing endorphins- and you don't have to believe this for the effects to take place. Many people have been surprised at how well it works to melt away years of pain and stress.




I Think I Want to Become An Acupuncturist/I Am An Acupuncturist and I Want to Do Community Acupuncture


Then stroll on over to this amazing site and buy yourself a POCA membership right now: https://stage.pocacoop.com/join/ and read all about it. The wiki and the forums are jam-packed with information that can tell you everything you need to know about community acupuncture. I highly recommend reading Acupuncture is Like Noodles, which you can purchase at our clinic, online here or thumb through for free in our clinic's wee library. As for acupuncture schools, I can recommend none other than POCA Technical Institute where I gratefully attended. In order to become an acupuncturist, you'll have to study quite a bit, so I recommend getting started with a POCA provider membership and reading Acupuncture is Like Noodles. If you are not yet an acupuncturist, we strongly recommend becoming certified to practice NADA's 5 Needle Protocol. You can find out more about NADA and 5NP here.




Can I Come If I Am Sick?


If you are unvaccinated and have any new or worsening symptoms related to COVID, we have to ask you not to come into the clinic. These include: cough fever chills sore throat runny nose shortness of breath sudden loss of taste or smell unexplained diarrhea new body aches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please get tested for COVID and stay home. If you have a known condition that includes these symptoms, such as COPD, and would like to get treated please send us an email or give us a call and we can work out a solution together. If you are vaccinated, again give us a call or email and let's talk. As always, if you are vomitting, have a fever, or have diarrhea, please stay home.