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!!

Kids and Acupuncture

Gentle Needle-Free Treatments

Did you know that needle-free acupuncture treatments geared specifically to kids exist? I just spent the last weekend studying a kind of Japanese-style treatments (Daishi shoni hara) that are specifically intended for children. The teacher, Sensei Kuwahara, has a long history of treating ADHD in particular. 

Treatments are very short (children respond quickly) and pain-free. In fact, the kids can actually have fun during treatments. A variety of conditions can respond quite well. 

Over the last two years I've had the good fortune to also be a part of the Shonishin (a Japanese style of pediatric treatment) Club at NCNM. We have hosted guest children and observed their treatments.

I am excited to help either by directly treating kiddos in the future or referring them to the excellent array of providers in our city!

For more information about Sensei Kuwahara's daishi shoni hara treatment: http://www.culia.net/shonihari.html

Shengma - Black cohosh. (Original artwork - All rights reserved)

Shengma - Black cohosh. (Original artwork - All rights reserved)