Frequently asked questions
I want to come see you as a new patient. What do I need to know?
Tell me the truth. Does acupuncture hurt? Do people actually like acupuncture treatments?
Here's the truth: most points are not painful. Some points hurt more than others, and some people are more sensitive than others, but the vast majority of acupuncture points cause minimal or no pain. I always do my best to make sure my patients are comfortable before I leave the room. If a point hurts or feels strange, just say so - usually a minor adjustment is all it takes to make you comfortable. Most people really enjoy coming to acupuncture - after all, do you ever get to take a nap in the middle of the day in any other situation??
I'm a little nervous about acupuncture, plus I'm afraid of needles. Is acupuncture really safe? Will I be able to handle this?
It's okay to feel nervous the first time - lots of people feel that way. Acupuncture is really safe, as long as the acupuncturist is properly trained and is a licensed practitioner (look for the letters L.Ac. after the practitioner's name). I went to school for a long time (it's a five-year clinical masters degree), and a lot of that time is spent learning how to do acupuncture in a way that is safe and comfortable for the patient. You don't even need to see the needles if you don't want to - you can keep your eyes closed or ask for a lavender eye pillow. My motto is, "I keep my eyes open so you don't have to!"
I'm ready to get acupuncture! How often will I need to come in? How long will it take for me to feel better?
I'm glad you decided to give acupuncture a try! Everyone's situation is a little different, and I will spend some time going over a customized treatment plan at your first visit. Some people benefit from coming in once or twice per week at the beginning, while other people might only need to come once every 3-4 weeks. In general, a good rule of thumb is that a chronic problem takes longer to treat and requires more frequent treatments up front; a recent injury or new problem might be treated really quickly, in just a few treatments. Another good guideline is that most issues related to fertility and the menstrual cycle require a minimum of three cycles to see changes. I want everyone to have realistic expectations for acupuncture treatments, so I'll be sure to give you an idea of what makes sense for your specific problem when you come in.
What is the cost for an acupuncture session? Do you take insurance?
Do you offer free consults?
Yes, absolutely! I am happy to meet with you for a 20-minute consult at no charge. You can also do the consult over the phone if you prefer. Just call me at (917) 596-6385 and ask all your questions!
I'm already treating my problem with medication / massage / physical therapy / chiropractic / psychotherapy. Is it okay to add acupuncture?
Yes, definitely! Just be sure to tell me if you're taking any medication, as some medication can interact with some Chinese herbs. That way, I can check for any potential interactions.
Acupuncture is the best, and I want my friend to try it out. Can I buy a gift certificate?
How did you get interested in acupuncture? Was this always your dream career?
Well, it's a long (but ultimately great) story. I was in a car accident in college and ended up with several herniated discs in my low back. I tried a lot of different treatments for back pain over the course of two years, but nothing worked. Finally, as a "last resort" to avoid surgery, I saw an acupuncturist. I went to acupuncture once or twice a week and finally started to feel some relief. At the same time, I was working in a psychiatry research clinic and I was enrolled in a pre-med program at Columbia, trying to decide if I wanted to become a psychiatrist, an OBGYN, or a pediatrician. After my success with acupuncture, I decided to leave the pre-med program and go to acupuncture school instead. It was the best decision I ever made, and I have never looked back. The silver lining to my car accident was that I found career I truly love! (In case you're wondering, my childhood career choices included dentist, art therapist, talk therapist... and entomologist! So I was destined to end up in medicine... or working with bugs!)