Fall Updates

As my time filling in for another acupuncturist across town is coming to an end, I have a chance to make a few updates! Fall is here with changing leaves, rain (finally!), stone fruits, and pumpkin spice everything back. If we look to nature, fall is a time of letting go (think leaves falling from trees or ripe fruit dropping from the vine). It’s the proper time for some things to some to an end and for reflection so new ideas can hatch in the spring. Read on to learn more or just skim the bold for the highlights.

In this update:

  • Insurance Updates

  • Cupping Appointments

  • Shiatsu Self-Massage Video

  • Well Community Fund

Cupping Available

A number of patients have asked me about cupping recently. If you are familiar with cupping, I have cupping only appointments available for 30 minutes at $45. If you want to add on a cupping session to your acupuncture appointment, you can now book a 90 min session and for $120 only (rather than $135) for cash patients. For insurance patients, I can offer your copay plus $30 if you book the two together

If you are new to cupping and unsure what that even is, here’s a link to a nice description from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine or ask me for a demo at your next appointment!

Extend the Effects of Your Treatment!

I’ve put together a free video on how to do a shiatsu-based self-massage that may help extend the effects of your acupuncture treatment, assist in times of stress or as just a nice self-care activity. Shiatsu massage is a Japanese acupuncture channel based massage that feels amazing! I trained for a year with Jim Cleaver, LAc on short-form shiatsu. While taking this class, we also learned a wonderful form of self-care self-massage based on shiatsu.

I’m excited to share this practice with you! Rather than take up valuable treatment time with each of you, I’ve created a how-to video. This massage can take as little or as long as you’ve got/want. I’ve had great luck taking care of some of my symptoms by just spending 20 minutes doing this! One person who followed along with the video said, “I only got through the head part of the massage before I fell asleep!”

The video is up on YouTube. If you are interested in a free and accessible self-care tool, check it out. Or if you’re just interested in a chuckle, because I’m new at making videos and it may make you laugh a few times. Plus, you get a peek into my private art studio. Find the video by following this link: https://youtu.be/8683cRXKQCI

Insurance Updates

For me, this involves a few insurances. I have spoken to most of you about the changes I will be making if the changes will affect you so no worries if you haven’t heard about this before. Beginning this next year I will no longer be in network with Cigna or OHP. This has been a hard decision for me and I’ve really gone back and forth with it. I want each of you to get the best care possible and that factors big in my decision to drop these insurances.

For Cigna I will be able to bill out of network. I understand that this means your appointments will no longer go toward your in-network deductibles and that may be an insurmountable financial barrier to you. Please let me know if this is the case and we can work together to make sure you still get acupuncture.

Being a new practitioner, I am required to submit extensive paperwork and evaluations for each of your visits to be covered and I’m required to do this frequently. This means that every few visits I am required to have you complete more paperwork and spend a portion of our visit on data for the insurance company that is time not spent on your actual treatment. In return, I’m only being paid for 1/3 of the actual visit. In the end, this is leaving me with almost no payment to meet my basic expenses let alone the time I spend researching formulas, conditions or accessing continuing education. This just isn’t sustainable.

For my OHP patients, since April of this year, OHP has new requirements including authorizations for visits creating problems similar to those mentioned above. In fact, I have found it virtually impossible to get visits authorized in any sort of timely fashion, if at all. In addition, they are now grouping chiro, PT and acu visits all within the total visits allowed for any particular condition. This means you have to either chose one modality or your providers have to compete to get your visits. I will work with each of you to create an arrangement that works for you this next year so that you continue to get regular treatments. I’ve fretted over this extensively as I know that there are few folks in town who accept OHP and finding good providers can be difficult. You deserve as much choice as anyone in your care. To that end, I’m committed to creating something in the future that makes my services accessible still.

If you have any questions or concerns about this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Well Community Fund

The greatness of community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. Coretta Scott King

Speaking of dropping OHP, I’d like to announce the beginning of a Well Community Fund. I am starting a fund that will help cover costs of treatment for folks who may not be able to otherwise access acupuncture. As a small start-up practice, it is difficult for me to provide hardship rates for those with low/no insurance coverage. This is extremely important to me and fundamental to how I want to operate. This fund will help me to cover the basic costs of operating while also providing excellent caring treatments to patients who might not otherwise get treatment. This fund will be accessible to patients whose insurance coverage is limited, or who have unmet high deductibles but need assistance meeting the cost of treatment until the deductible is met.

This fund will be a great way for you to participate in equity work! Equity work is a way we can engage in recognizing our individual privileges and working to share that privilege with those who face daily discrimination due to systemic racism, sizeism, ableism, cis-genderism and colonialism. From time to time, I’ll also open the fund up to groups such as Firefighters during the Eagle Creek Fire.

I’m working on ways to make it easy for you to participate. For now, if you’d like to “pay it forward”, just let me know as we’re finishing up your treatment and I can add any amount to your payment to go towards the fund. This will be a no-pressure opportunity!!

Healthy Holiday Air Travel Tips!

I just dropped my niece off at the airport for her first trip home since she started college here in Portland! It brought back so many memories of traveling home for the holidays when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest over 27 years ago! So much has changed since then, but there are a few timeless things I've learned about travel in those almost 30 years that I love sharing with patients. Below are my favorite ways to stay healthy while traveling (and I've traveled to a LOT of different places): 

  • Above all else, don't stress too much! If you have a credit card, ID/passport, boarding pass, you're really good to go. (Of course any necessary medication or medical devices would be included in that). Don't let worrying about what you've forgotten add stress to your travels. Most of us are fortunate enough that we can buy a replacement toothbrush or extra underwear if we absolutely have to. 
  • Plan on getting to the airport 2 hours early, especially during holiday travel. Weather can be unpredictable and traffic can be crazy too.  If you have to drive to the airport, this gives you just enough time for a plan B if you can't find parking (we've had to call a friend to move our car from short-term parking, the lots were so full!!). If you can take public transportation, planning to arrive 2 hours early gives you time for any delays that are out of your control. Security and check-in can take forever during holidays, getting there early takes some of the stress away. 
  • Buy a cheap, over-the-counter bottle of saline spray. Use this the night before and day of your trip. Then use again the night you arrive and the next morning. If you are taking a long flight, use during the flight too. This keeps the sinuses doing their job! It also helps with recycled/dry airplane and airport air. If you're going somewhere with a completely different climate, especially if it is dryer or you will be in conditioned air/forced air heat and you aren't used to that, the spray can be used your entire stay too. Then I also use the spray the night before my return trip and the first night I arrive home. 
  • If you're going somewhere warmer, I like to take a C/B vitamin. Check with your practitioner on this. It's not right for everyone and can mess with digestion. 
  • For most people, some Gypsy Cold Care  or other cold/immune support tea can be easy to add to luggage and great to use at the first sign of any cold! I always pack some. 
  • Take an empty water bottle to fill when you pass security or buy a large bottle of water after security. It's easy to get dehydrated during travel. Staying hydrated helps the immune system work at it's best and can prevent travel fatigue. 
  • If you are traveling abroad, with a big time change, there is lots of easy to find information out there about how to adjust. I like melatonin at the time I should go to sleep at my destination (not my home time). This is a temporary supplement for the first night or two and the first night or two back home. 
  • I always travel with a scarf, socks and layers. Lately, we've been housesitting in Hawaii and so we don't want to pack anything but sandals. I still pack a pair of thick socks as the plane gets cold once it reaches cruising altitude. I pack a scarf for the same reason. It also doubles as a blanket or beach sarong. In Chinese medicine, we believe in protecting the neck from cold drafts to prevent neck stiffness and colds too! And I take at least a light fleece to wear if I'm cold on the plane or the place I'm visiting has AC/keeps it colder than I'm used to. 
  • Pack snacks. I always pack a few easy to travel with snacks like meat sticks, nuts, almond butter packets or fruit leather. This helps if you don't get enough food served on the plane, if it's nasty food, or if you have to buy it (it's always expensive!). It is also great for those unanticipated flight delays which seem to be the norm during the holidays! 
  • If travel is stressful for you in general, some Rescue Remedy can be helpful too. You can get it in solid format also so you don't add another liquid to your pack. 
  • Expect the worst! If you expect delays, grumpy people and lost luggage, you can just roll with it when it happens! More often than not, things really work out just fine and I've had some pretty fun experiences in holiday airports with delays (and some not so fun, let's be honest). 

In general, I've found that people are actually pretty sweet and upbeat during holiday travel as everyone is in the same boat. So, with a little bit of prep and a measure of self-care, holiday travel can be enjoyable or at least not too terrible. There are many other supplements and formulas that can support your travel! We have lots of tools to help you specifically so don't hesitate to ask your natural healthcare provider! Happy travels and happy holidays! 


Join Me in Disaster Relief!

In the coming weeks, I'll be making an announcement on how you can easily participate in my "Get Care, Give Care" campaign to raise funds for global disaster relief! In 1993, my family and home state were affected by the "Great Flood" along the Missouri River. Recovery takes a long time. Long after the media attention disappears, we can still make a difference together! 

Read More

Insurances and Billing

I'm currently unable to accept most insurances, but I'm offering flexible payments until I can accept insurance. Insurances require that providers apply to each individual company and some can take up to several months to get "credentialed" with (to be a provider that can bill that insurance). 

In the meantime, I can charge HSA cards, provide super bills and I can offer to work with you on a payment that allows you to be treated now rather than waiting for me to be able to bill your insurance. After I am contracted with insurances, I am unable to discount my services beyond a certain percentage for time of service payments. There are still options to make it work if you are under-insured. Just ask! 

Let me know if you have any questions about my rates, insurances etc.