Need help getting started with our new booking system,
pre-paids, or other questions?
We've got answers!
Thank you so much for being as excited as we are about reopening in our new interim space at YogaKula in North Berkeley!
We are still very short staffed and are working as hard as we can to both open the new space and respond to all the many emails that are coming in. PLEASE read through our FAQs below to see if your question is answered. If you still have a question that is not answered here, please email us .
For questions about our policies click here.
Frequently asked questions
Click on question to read answer
How does acupuncture work?
Modern science is still catching up with Traditional Chinese Medicine. That is to say, with all our modern tools, we have yet to figure out the exact mechanisms of acupuncture. We do know from over 2,000 years of practice and empirical evidence that it does, indeed, work. Like western medicine, it's not a magic cure-all and is most effective when combined with proper nutrition, exercise, and rest. The primary theory in Chinese medicine is that there are pathways of energy, called meridians or channels, that travel throughout the body bringing energy (qi). Along these pathways are the acupuncture points that are stimulated with the needles to promote proper flow of qi and blood. If you would like to learn more about the theory behind acupuncture we recommend the following resources:
What are you feeling for when you feel my pulse/look at my tongue?
Examining pulses and tongues can give us a sense of your constitutional strength, the general health of your organs, meridians, and body fluids as viewed within Traditional Chinese Medicine. It can give us a sense of how to construct the best treatment for you. At BAP, we use this diagnositic technique in a very general way, and if you are being treated for ortho-sketelal issues, we may not need to do it at all since where your pain is informs us of which meridians we need to balance.
Do more needles/time/deeper insertion mean a stronger treatment?
No. The number of needles and depth of insertion that your acupuncturist uses is not random but part of the technique they have chosen to treat you with that day. Some people and/or conditions do better with fewer or greater needles. Different needle depths treat different conditions. As far as timing, for most people 30 minutes is plenty of time for the needles to take effect. Occasionally we may reccomend that you stay longer for your individual needs or specific conditions. Likewise - some people have found they do better with shorter treatment times (15 - 20 minutes.)
Is stronger better?
We get this question a lot and people mean different things when they say "stronger." A treatment that utilizes more needles, greater needle depth, or a needling technique that causes more sensation doesn't necessarily equate to a "stronger" or better treatment. If you know that you prefer a more gentle experience or a more intense qi sensation, be sure to let your practitioner know. Ultimately, a treatment that makes you feel better is what counts.
Why don’t you use the same points every time?
There are a few reasons for this. First, even if you've come in with the same health concern as your previous treatment, you are different every day. Your practitioner will treat you as your condition presents in the moment. Additionally, there are many ways to treat the same issue. 10 acupuncturists may use 10 different methods to treat the same condition. Having said that, if you experienced positive results after a particular treatment, please let us know!
How often should I come and for how long?
Why did you put that needle there?
This has a complex answer. Most acupuncturists have spent 4 or more years studying the theories and techniques of acupuncture, and it is difficult to sum up in a few sentences. Essentially we are using the pathways of energy in your body (also known as channels or meridians) to promote healthy circulation of energy (qi), blood, and body fluids in order to allow your systems to function normally and healthfully. If you would like to learn more about how we choose which points to use, we invite you to read the book: "Why Did You Put That Needle There?"
Why didn’t the needles go where my pain is?
Depending on your condition and how long you've experienced it, we may or may not put needles near the location of your pain. We frequently use a technique called "distal" or "distant" needling. Because acupuncture uses pathways of energy (also called channels or meridians) we can treat pain "distally." For instance, we may needle your shoulder or elbow to treat knee pain or your hand or foot to treat back pain. We often use the example of light switches - the light is on the ceiling but the switch is on the wall - to turn on the light, you don't screw in the lightbulb directly, you flick the lightswitch. In this case your symptom is the light and the switch is the acupuncture point.
Can children and babies get treated at BAP?
Since it is inadvisable to place masks on children under the age of two, children must be older than two to come to BAP. Additionally, they must able to remain masked for their entire visit.
Can pregnant people get acupuncture?
Yes. Acupuncture can be extremely helpful in alleviating discomfort from conditions occuring in pregnancy, such as morning sickness and back and hip pain. Acupuncture is also known to support general health during pregnancy. Please tell your acupuncturist if you are or suspect you might be pregnant.
Does it hurt?
At BAP, we practice gentle needling technique. When a needle is inserted, you may feel nothing or you may feel a slight pinch or mild pressure. After the needles are in, it's normal to feel some sensation such as a mild itchiness or warmth for a few minutes - though most people feel nothing at all. Any sensation you have should subside within a few minutes. If a needle is not settling down after this or if it is preventing you from relaxing, always let your practitioner know so we can help you get comfortable. If a needle is very painful right away, let us know so we can remove or adjust it.
Are the needles sterilized?
Yes. We only use sterilzed, one-time use needles. Once needles are used, we dispose of them in "Sharps" containers that are processed by a licensed medical waste disposal service.
Do I have to remove my clothing?
No. We use a method called "distal" or "distant" needling and generally only needle the lower legs and arms, head, neck, and ears. We can treat all the same conditions that the back, chest, and abdomen points do, including back pain and internal conditions such as digestive and resipiratory disorders without putting needles directly into areas where your pain or issue may be. Please wear loose clothing that can easily roll up above your knees and elbows.
Should I take herbs?
It depends. Your practitioner will let you know if they think you will benefit from the use of an herbal formula. A few herbs are contraindicated in pregnancy or with the use of blood thinners and other drugs. Please let your practitioner know if this applies to you.
I never sleep when I’m at BAP. Is my treatment still effective?
Yes. Many people fall asleep during their treatments but not everyone. You don't need to fall asleep for acupuncture to work. If you find that you are always awake during your treatment, we invite you to use earbuds or head phones to listen to your favorite podcast or music (remember to keep the volume low so your neighbors don't hear it too!). Some people like to read during their treatments, and we can keep one arm free of needles in this case.
I followed my treatment plan but I’m still not seeing the changes I’m looking for…
Just like Western medicine, acupuncture is not a cure all or magic bullet, and practitioners of either medicine can't predict exactly how an individual will respond to a treatment. If you are following the recomendations of your practitioners at BAP and still not feeling better, after a series of treatments, let us know and we will adjust your treatment plan.
Can acupuncture help me lose weight?
Weight loss is a complex issue, and there is no single method that will ensure that you will successfully lose weight. Acupuncture has been shown to improve sleep and energy, optimize digestion and metabolism, as well as alleviate food cravings - all of which will support you in a holistic approach to weight loss. It's still important to eat well, drink enough water, and get plenty of rest and exercise.
Is it safe to take herbal medicine while breastfeeding, on medications, etc?
Yes. However, some herbs are contraindicated in certain conditions, so you MUST tell your practitioner if you are or become pregnant, are breastfeeding, and any medications you are taking so we can find the right formula for you.
What does this Prop 65 label mean on the herb bottle?
We know that reading the Prop 65 label on an herbal product can be alarming. It is a complex issue that is difficult to sum up in a short answer. It is important to note that the companies we purchase our herbal products from follow very strict GMP guidlines, and we have great trust in their quality control. All of our practitioners and our familes personally use the products we carry. Please see resources below regarding Prop 65 and the quality control of the companies we carry at BAP.
Why don't you feel my pulse or look at my tongue every time?
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses many different diagnosis methods including but not limited to asking questions, feeling the pulse, and looking at the tongue. Sometimes examining a pulse or tongue can give us a bit of extra information we may need to choose the best treatment for you. However, it is more often the case that your description of your condition and answers to our questions give us all the information we need.
Can I see different acupuncturists?
Yes. We work as a team. When you become a BAP patient, we create a confidential health record for you. Your acupuncturists will create detailed notes at every treatment so that we can keep track of your condition and progress, which points we used for each treatment, which herbal formula you might have been prescribed, etc. so that whoever you see the following time will be completely prepared.
What kind of training do acupuncturists get?
To obtain licensure in California, all acupuncturists must complete an accredited 3 - 4 year Masters in Oriental Medicine and pass rigorous state board exams. California acupuncturists are licensed by the California Acupuncture Board.
Are the practitioners at BAP students or professionals?
All BAP acupuncturists have completed their education, passed California acupuncture licensure exams, and are licensed to practice acupuncture by the California Acupuncture Board.
Do any of the acupuncturists specialize in certain types of medicine?
All BAP acupuncturists receive the same training and are able to treat the same conditions.
Scheduling & Clinic Info
How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment?
We have a 24-hour cancellation policy. If you know 24 hours in advance that you can't make your appointment, you can cancel through your online account or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you take drop-ins?
I have a complaint. How should I handle it?
We take your feedback seriously. Please email our Clinic Manager at email@example.com with the subject heading "ATTN: Clinic Manager".
Can bring my service or emotional support animal?
Service animals are welcome in the clinic. We are not able to accommodate emotional support animals. If you are coming to the clinic for the first time please leave a note in the comments box when booking online that you will be coming with your service animal.
I feel like I’m catching a cold/am getting sick. Can I still come?
EFFECTIVE MARCH 2, 2020
Someone was coughing at my last treatment. Will I get sick too?
EFFECTIVE MARCH 2, 2020
Someone was snoring at my last treatment. Can you wake them up?
No. In a community setting you will likely hear the whispers of acupuncturists and other patients, people arriving and settling into their chairs, and sometimes snoring. We invite you to use ear plugs or your headphones during your treatment if sounds disturb you.
Are you wheelchair accessible?
BAP is now located on a second floor. The building has an elevator. If you use a wheelchair or have mobility issues, let us know in the "Notes" section when booking online so we can assist you with the elevator.
Are you (still) a fragrance-free space?
BAP strives to be a fragrance-free space. Many of our patients and some of our staff have sensitivities to fragrance that cause physical reactions, sometimes causing them to have to leave the clinic if they are exposed. Therefore we request all our patients, staff, and visitors to refrain from using any scented products, including essential oils and other "natural" scents, prior to coming to BAP. However, we cannot gauruntee a completely fragrance free environment. If you smell fragrance in the clinic or on any linens please let us know.
How do I schedule?
Still having trouble scheduling? Click here for help.
Can I be added to a waitlist for an appointment time?
Yes! Simply click on the phrase, “Add yourself to the waitlist” at the bottom of page that shows available appointment times.
Where are you located? What is your NEW address?
I'm trying to book with Mary or Julia for acupuncture. Why can’t I find them on the schedule for acupuncture?
In-person acupuncture is available from Michelle, Sierra-maria, Jorge, and Vig. You can book appointments for acupuncture with one of them through our website on the Services page. Julia and Mary are all available for telehealth and remote (telehealth) acupuncture sessions. Visit our website and click on Telehealth to book a Telehealth appointment with one of them.
How do I get a copy of my medical records?
Do you have massage or bodywork practitioners at your new space?
How do I login for my telehealth or BodyIntuitive appointment?
Our telehealth and BodyIntuitive appointments are conducted through our system "Jane" because it is HIPPA compliant. You will receive a confirmation email after you book your telehealth appointment. There is a purple button in that email that says "Test my device". You can click on that to make sure your camera and microphone are working and get a sense of the platform. It's pretty simple. You will also be sent another email 30 minutes before your appointment that has the link to join the telehealth session. We recommend hopping on the video call a few minutes early just in case there's any technical troubles (we don't want it to cut into your session time!).
Adding and managaing family and friends to your account
You can now add family manages to your account. You can customize your settings so that you can do any of the following: see their appointments, schedule for them, receive notifications and receipts, and pay for them. Follow the instructions for adding a family member or friend HERE.
How to schedule for family or friends
First add your family memner or friend to your account following the instructions linked above. Then log in to your account and start scheduling as normal. After you select your appointment type, date and time, you will see a screen that ask who you are booking for. Click on their name and then click "Continue".
Fees, Pricing & Payments
Someone gave me a ‘Lucky You’ card. How do I redeem it?
We have temporarily suspended our 'Lucky You' program. Sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date on changes.
Do you accept insurance?
We do not bill insurance. Check with your provider to see if they will reimburse you. Receipts are emailed to your email address on file. We can also provide you with a superbill if your insurance provider requires a diagnostic code.
Can I get a refund?
Can I pay with my HSA card?
Yes. Check with your provider first to make sure your plan covers acupuncture. You will be emailed a receipt.
Do you offer disounts for veterans and active military?
Yes. Veterans and active military pay only $20 for first time and return visits. Please write "Veteran" or "Active Military" in the 'Notes" section when booking online.
Do you accept credit cards? Checks? Cash?
At this time, for safety reasons, we prefer you pay for your treatments and herbs with our new online payment system. Checks are acceptable if PRE-FILLED when you arrive at the clinic (make it out to "Berkeley Acupuncture Project of CA"). We do NOT accept cash payments at this time.
Trouble adding my credit card to my Jane account
Make sure you've entered all the correct numbers (account #, expiration date, CVV code) and check that the card has not expired
Try another card
Why am I being asked for a credit card?
Why are there different prices for the same appointment types?
How do I pay for my appointment?
When you log in to Jane, you will be asked to put a credit card on file in your account. After your treatment, we will charge your credit card on file.
How many prepaid visits do I have?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This takes us time to look up and respond. Please be patient as we have limited staff resources for answering inquiries. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can. Please be aware that we no longer have dedicated reception help.
Can I still use my prepays?
Prepaid creidt from 2020 or earlier may be used only for in-person acupuncture (not telehealth). All our appointments are now booked through the Jane system (reached through our website on the Services page, by clicking the booking buttons at the bottom of the pages after you have read through all our new policies). Tell us you are using a pre-pay when you book online.
Can I use my prepaid balance to buy herbs?
The prepaid accounts are for acupuncture or telehealth services only.
I'm not a new patient. I'm trying to book a telehealth appointment, but it looks like I have to go through an evaluation first for $40.00. Is that correct?
Yes, but only for Telehealth appointments. Telehealth appointments involve more talking and consultation. Since we can’t see multiple patients simultaneously on Telehealth like we do when we are working in person, we need to account for the extra time our practitioners will be spending with you.