Many people may not realize that there are different ways to operate an Acupuncture Clinic. The two most common setups are generally referred to as Community Acupuncture or Private Room Acupuncture. Some people are aware that there are different types, but still have some confusion over what exactly the difference is between Community Acupuncture and Private Room Acupuncture. Let's call these shop's CA (Community) and PA (Private) for short. I've worked in both a PA and CA clinic and enjoyed my time in each setting. Both types of Acupuncture have a lot of similarities along with a few minor differences, as well as perceived pros and cons. Even within the subsets of CA and PA there are many different ways to administer Acupuncture treatments and provide care to patients. My description that follows is a very general outline of the two schools of thought, and is based upon my personal experience working in both. I want to give you a little peek at how we do things here at The Acupuncture Clinic of Bedford and what similarities we share with each. My hope is that you learn the basics of how each type of clinic operates and with that information you're able find an Acupuncturist that resonates with you.
The nuts and bolts for PA clinics is that people are treated one on one, very similar to how a local Family Physician would treat someone here in New Hampshire. The treatment is generally performed in a small room, with just the Acupuncturist and patient present. Sometimes folks are asked to change into a hospital gown for ease of access, sometimes not. The person tells the Acupuncturist their main complaint, and they lay down on a table. They will generally receive acupuncture points on the front or back side of their body and may be left alone to rest by themselves. After a period of time has passed (20-30 mins) the Acupuncturist may come back in and remove the needles. At this point the person would be asked to flip over so another series of points can be treated on the opposite side of their body. They would again rest for another 20-30 mins. Extra therapies like trigger/motor point therapy, cupping, e stim, or heat are often applied before during and after, sometimes at an additional cost or even scheduled as a separate appointment. Treatments are usually expected to take 1 hour, and generally the cost is $70-$150 per session depending upon the office. Besides the obvious benefits of treatment the upside to this model is that patients get a lot of individual attention, and there is a great amount of privacy. The Acupuncturist also has access to areas of the body that may be difficult to treat in anything but a PA setting. The sometimes argued "downside" is that the acupuncture session takes a large chunk of time from the day, and for some the cost can prohibit them from receiving the amount of treatment they want or need. These are not necessarily true and can be a POSITIVE, especially for people who look forward to a break during their day, or who's salary or insurance easily covers the cost of treatment.
The day to day of many CA clinics involves patients being seen in a large communal space with reclining chairs or even mats on the floor. Appointments can be booked every few minutes to allow the clinic to see a high volume of patients and thereby have a relatively large turnover of people within 30-60 minutes. Many CA clinics treat distal points on the hands and feet, arms and legs. Most allow people to stay as long as they would like, or until a chair is needed. Costs are divided amongst many patients per hour so the overhead isn't passed on to just a few folks, and often times a sliding scale is used for payment. Acupuncturists working in these clinics also get an immense number of treatments under their belt after just a few years, and they quickly gain a lot of clinical proficiency and experience but not necessarily more than a PA clinician would have. The sometimes argued "downside" is that there may not be very much time for each patient and treatment points can be somewhat limited. This hasn't been my experience but could in fact a POSITIVE, as Acupuncture doesn't have to be complex or take a lot of time to administer in order to be effective. Consistent treatment over time yields the best results and this is where CA and PA both really shine. I have dear friends and colleagues that have practices of each type and some in between, and they all have the right set up for them and their patients. No matter how it's delivered, Acupuncture works, plain and simple.
You may ask "Is The Acupuncture Clinic of Bedford CA or PA?" Well, we intentionally treat a bit lower volume than some CA clinics, but a much higher volume than your traditional private practice. We use distal points for a lot of our treatments, but also love adjunctive therapies like cupping and e-stim as well as treating local trigger points and motor points should the need arise. Our treatments are delivered in a group setting that is also kept very private and confidential for each patient, with no time limits. We believe strongly that Acupuncture should be simple, convenient and effective and our particular set up affords us the opportunity to make that a reality. . Call us whatever you like, but we think "The Acupuncture Clinic" is the best fit.
William Boylan Lic.Ac
NH State Licensed Acupuncturist
New England School of Acupuncture
The Acupuncture Clinic of Bedford, 292 Route 101 Bedford NH 03110