For Newbies

What problems can be treated with acupuncture? What can be treated in a community style acupuncture clinic?

The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture’s effectiveness for over 40 disorders. Here are the most common:  acid reflux, acne, addiction, allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, Bell’s Palsy, Chemotherapy difficulties, Chronic fatigue, cold, constipation, diarrhea, depression digestion, dizziness, emotional issues, fibromyalgia, headaches, hip pain, IBS, high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, knee pain, low energy, low immunity, low libido, menopausal symptoms, PMS, migraines, nerve pain, night sweats, PTSD, restless leg syndrome, sciatica, stress, stroke, TMJ, tendonitis, vertigo…

My last acupuncturist would look at my tongue and feel my pulse. I noticed you don’t do this very often. Why is that?

There are a couple of answers to this question:

  1. Tongue diagnosis is traditionally used in China for herbal diagnostics. Since we don’t prescribe herbs in our clinic we rarely need to use tongue diagnosis.
  2. Pulse diagnosis was invented long before prescription drugs existed.  Prescription drugs change the pulse in a way that makes the properties an acupuncturist would normally feel for an unreliable diagnostic tool.  Especially, with the amount of prescriptions the average person takes.
  3. Mostly, the majority of the systems we use in our clinic do not incorporate tongue and pulse diagnostics as necessary tools. There are many styles of acupuncture, not just the 1-2 styles taught in American acupuncture schools.  Our acupuncturists have taken continuing education to learn advanced systems that do not incorporate tongue and pulse into the diagnostics. Taking a tongue or pulse reading for these systems would be silly. It looks fancy, but serves no purpose.  It would be like carrying around a hammer AND a screwdriver to hammer in nails. You look fancy because you have more tools…but the screwdriver is not serving a purpose and it makes more sense to leave it in the tool chest.

Do you do cosmetic acupuncture?

Basically, we are here to help you feel better, we take that seriously.  We are proud to say that we are not a “spa”. We feel that offering spa type beauty treatments would dilute that message.  We are a clinic, we are here for your health…physical, mental and emotional. We treat pain, we treat stress, we treat real life.  

Does it hurt? Is it safe?

Acupuncture needles are thinner than a human hair making their insertion pretty mild.  Most people even fall asleep during acupuncture!

Single use, disposable, sterilized needles are always used.  Needles are NEVER reused.  This has been standard practice among licensed acupuncturist for 15 years.  Acupuncture has virtually no side effects. Occasionally a small temporary bruise may appear at the site of an acupuncture needle. When compared to the laundry list of cautions and side effects for the average pharmaceutical drug, acupuncture is very low risk!

All LICENSED acupuncturists (L.Ac.) are required to do extensive clinical and safety training as a part of their state and national licensure.  As an FYI, Physical Therapists who do “dry needling” do not have the same stringent requirements or training.  Many dry needling classes are weekend crash courses!

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

Absolutely not!  Acupuncture is not a religion, or a belief system, it is a form of medicine.  It is one aspect of traditional Chinese medicine.  We have an entire notebook filled with scientific research regarding acupuncture if you would like to know more about the documented physiological effects acupuncture creates in the body.   

Community acupuncture keeps things simple in order to demystify the “woo” surrounding acupuncture in the U.S.  Chinese medicine uses symptomology and diagnostics in order to address health concerns.   It really is that simple. Our treatments stimulate blood flow, relax and assist in the repair of muscles and tendons and support the body’s natural healing systems. In our treatments we consider the importance of separate body systems and then evaluate symptoms which correspond to an overall pattern of imbalance. We use advanced systems that utilize treatment locations away from areas of injury or pain. Awesome results are achieved by taking advantage of inner workings between different body systems. For example, if you have pain because of a muscle issue, we don’t just work on the muscles. We also work on the nervous system to affect how your brain reacts to the muscles. This way we aren’t just putting a band aid on things.

Am I missing out on good acupuncture points by doing community acupuncture?

Jessica Feltz, one of the countries busiest acupuncturists had this to say, and we think it sums it up perfectly:

“No matter what style of acupuncture you receive or with whom, there will be excellent and effective points used, and good points that are not chosen. No one kind of acupuncture is able to use all of the acupuncture points at once – and nor should they…that would be a heckuva lot of needles!”

The late Richard Teh Fu Tan, a world renowned acupuncturist, was known for extremely effective acupuncture using mainly points in the arms and legs. And yes, we can even work on back pain, some of the most effective points for back pain are actually in the legs!

Do I have to make an appointment?

Our clinic is by appointment only.  Even if this means making an appointment from your smartphone, 25 minutes before you come in, it helps us keep things running smoothly.  We will do our best to try to accommodate walk-ins/call aheads if there is room in the schedule, appointments are always given first priority.  Your best bet for same day appointments is to give us a call at 480-269-0415, we can often squeeze you into a full schedule with just a little advanced notice.

Please note, we do require 3 hours notice for all cancellations in order to avoid a fee.  Two consecutive missed appointments without notice will require direct contact with the clinic before any future appointments will be scheduled.  Until direct contact is made all future appointments will be deleted.

How long is an appointment?

Plan on spending an hour at the clinic for your first appointment.  We ask that you come 10 minutes early to fill out paperwork.

For follow up appointments the actual treatment is around 40 minutes.  Please note that your scheduled appointment time is the time we expect you in your recliner and ready to nap.  You may want to arrive a few minutes early to account for rescheduling, bathroom use, chatting with our awesome front desk staff, etc.

You can let us know if you need to be out early, or you tend to get antsy, we will shorten the treatment time for you.  Longer treatments do not equal better treatments, as long as the needles are in for 30 minutes you will receive the full benefit.  So why 40 minutes?  We add on that extra 10 minutes so that our patients can enjoy a little more time relaxing.  Many people need the nap just as much as they need the acupuncture.  Treatments do not exceed 60 minutes.

Additionally, your practitioner may shorten/lengthen your treatment time based on your individual health concerns.


How many treatments do I need?

For short-term issues, a handful of acupuncture treatments should do the job. For chronic or long-standing issues, a maintenance schedule of some sort would be in order to keep systems running smoothly after the initial period of relief and change.  As symptoms diminish, the necessity for treatment frequency goes down


Heather comes in for help with pain from a new ankle sprain less than 24 hours old.  She receives treatment 4 days in a row, which would probably be plenty to help her sort out her injury completely.

On the other hand, Joe gets acupuncture treatments for insomnia that he’s struggled with for five years. Chances are good he’ll start to see significant changes in the intensity of his symptoms with 2-3 treatments for five weeks.  After this time, he can receive less frequent treatments for another stretch of time to help make sure the process of change continues moving forward. Once he finds himself in a place where he’s consistently happy with his sleep and anxiety levels, we’ll know it’s time to dial back the frequency of his treatments even further, a tune up here and there as needed.

Keys to getting the most out of acupuncture

*Acupuncture treatments have cumulative benefits, the treatments get stronger the longer you receive them.

*The longer you have had an issue, the longer it could take to see changes.

*In the beginning, more is better if you want to get the ball rolling faster.

*It is ok to receive treatments several days in a row, in the beginning it is encouraged.

*Try to get your next treatment before the effects of the previous one wear off.  Taking 2 steps forward will take you further than taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back.  As the effects build you will be able to go longer in between treatments.

Is there anything I need to do before/after receiving an acupuncture treatment?

It is recommended that you have eaten within an hour of receiving treatment, even if it is just a snack.  Acupuncture on an empty stomach is not recommended.  Also, wear loose fitting clothing so that the practitioner has access to the acupuncture points.  Pants should easily roll up to the knees and sleeves should roll up easily to the elbows. All treatments at Tempe Community Acupuncture are done in a group setting.  Also, please try to help keep the clinic a scent free zone by not wearing perfumes or colognes as some of our patients have sensitivities to these chemicals.  After the treatment feel free to go about your life as usual.

How does the sliding scale work? Do you take insurance? Can I purchase gift certificates?

Our prices are based on a sliding scale of $19-35, and what you choose to pay (within our sliding scale) is based on what you can afford.  We do not ask for any sort of income verification. You decide what you can afford in order to stick to your treatment plan.  We want you to come in often enough to really get better and stay better!  We are able to keep our prices lower by treating a lot of people, so make sure to tell your friends about us.

Because we offer treatments on a sliding scale, the insurance companies will not allow us to bill them directly. If you are using your HSA/FSA card, we are coded as a medical facility through our point of sales system, and it should not be necessary to submit any additional paperwork. If you want a receipt for your insurance company, HSA, FSA, or tax-write-off, you must request a receipt at the time of service and keep it for your records. We do not keep track of individual payments, and cannot offer a receipt at year’s end. Thank you for participating in the systems which help us to keep our fees low!

Gift certificates and packages can be purchased at the clinic or in our online store.
Online Gift Certificates

What is community acupuncture? Do you do the same treatments on everybody? Are there other clinics like yours?

Community acupuncture keeps things simple in order to demystify the “woo” surrounding acupuncture in the U.S. Chinese medicine uses symptomology and diagnostics in order to address health concerns. It really is that simple. Our treatments stimulate blood flow, relax and assist in the repair of muscles and tendons and support the body’s natural healing systems. In our treatments we consider the importance of separate body systems and then evaluate symptoms which correspond to an overall pattern of imbalance. We use advanced systems that utilize treatment locations away from areas of injury or pain. Awesome results are achieved by taking advantage of inner workings between different body systems. For example, if you have pain because of a muscle issue, we don’t just work on the muscles. We also work on the nervous system to affect how your brain reacts to the muscles. This way we aren’t just putting a band aid on things.


To see a list of community clinics visit P.O.C.A. at  They are the organization that brought community style acupuncture back into the mainstream.  P.O.C.A. clinics are typically owner operated and/or family owned.  P.O.C.A. clinics are not part of a franchise, franchises tend to be profit driven models that practice high volume in order to make more money.  P.O.C.A. clinics are members of a co-op that strives to focus on patients rather than sales!  High volume is practiced in order to keep prices low.  Treating in a group setting is “group acupuncture”.  Treating in a group setting in order to keep prices low while putting our patients first, that is Community Acupuncture.

P.O.C.A. clinics are not a franchise.  Franchises tend to be profit driven models.  P.O.C.A. clinics are members of a co-op that strives to put the patients before the profits!

Can I receive acupuncture if I am pregnant?

Acupuncture is safe and gentle enough to use while pregnant.  It can really help with morning sickness and other pregnancy difficulties!  There are certain points that should be avoided so be sure to let your acupuncturist know if you are pregnant.  Additionally, acupuncture is a great tool to enhance fertility if you are trying to get pregnant.

Can I bring my children?

It is important that the calm and quiet environment of the group treatment room is maintained. Because of this we do not allow children under 15 in the treatment room.  All minors must have parental consent.  Additionally, for liability reasons, we cannot allow young children to wait, unattended, in the reception area.

There are several acupuncturists we would love to refer you to if you are interested in acupuncture for your children under 15.

What kind of training do your practitioners have?

The acupuncturists in our clinic are Licensed Acupuncturists in the state of Arizona.  They are nationally board certified by the NCCAOM. In order to be nationally board certified it is required to pass board exams, finish a Master’s Degree level program in Acupuncture/Oriental medicine, pass the Clean Needle certification for safety, and undergo yearly continuing education. A Master’s of Science in Acupuncture typically is a 4 year / 3000 hour program (in addition to undergraduate work) that involves intensive study in Traditional Chinese Medical theory and herbology; this is coupled with at least 2 years of hands on clinical training.

Please note that this is different from a “certified acupuncturist” or a practitioner that does “dry needling”. Certified acupuncturist and dry needlers typically go through a very short training (as little as one weekend) with no clinical training. For your own safety always ask your practitioner how much training they have.


How is TCA involved in my community? How can I get involved?

We consider ourselves a social business, this means that we strive to be an active part of giving back to the community.  This also means that our patients and community are our number 1 focus.  You are a patient, not a customer.  We focus on your health, not your wallet.

A few of our ongoing community based adventures:

All bottle water, eye mask, T-shirt and Tank top sales in our clinic go directly to our favorite local organization, APARN,

We give away a couple of gift certificates every month to hardworking local people and/or organizations that serve the community.  If you are a member or fan of an awesome organization, or a particular giving person in our community, please contact us and let us know so that we may consider them for our monthly give away.

We do an annual “petsgiving”.  Each year we pick a local animal rescue to receive half of every dollar spent in the clinic during our 2 day “petsgiving” event.


A note about handicapped parking…

For any of our patients with disabilities, please note that our handicapped parking is located on the North side of the building.  There is a separate entrance to accommodate handicapped parking, additionally, this entrance is wheelchair accessible and walker friendly with no inclines or high steps. Once you enter the building, if you prefer not to travel to the front desk, there is a labeled “doorbell” on the wall.  Ring the doorbell and our front desk employee will gladly come to you.   Additionally, we do have one portable recliner in our treatment room that we can easily collapse and remove in order to accommodate a wheelchair treatment.

While we have done our due diligence to the maximum extent feasible to provide an accessible clinic, we apologize for any inconvenience it may cause that it is technically infeasible to alter the bathroom any further to allow for full wheelchair accessibility.

Who do you recommend for…..

We often get asked for recommendations.   We love to support local businesses!!!

Feel free to check out our TCA recommends page.  If it is on our TCA recommends page it is a business that we either personally use and love, or a business that is owned by somebody we personally know and think is great!