I tried a free acupuncture clinic in Los Angeles's Koreatown today. Here's how it went.
I got there around noon, not knowing that there is a break between the morning and afternoon clinic sessions. The afternoon session started at 2 pm. I put my name on a list and walked around Koreatown for an hour. (Alas, I had already eaten at home.) It was in some respects good that I had put my name on the list early, as those who got there right at 2 still had a 2 1/2 hour wait ahead of them.
I did bring a book (smart move) and did some reading in the waiting room before being called in at 2:30 pm. The intern was very nice and then the supervisor came in and look at my chart, checked my pulse, etc. I went in because my chronic fatigue has been acting up so this is always a good challenge to deal with. I felt confident that with the supervisor's recommendations I was in good hands.
She (the supervisor) also recommended I get some herbs, which were not free (but I had expected that). I've been a bit run down lately so I felt that was worth it.
Once on the table, it was like any other acupuncture session I have received, though the clinic is a bit noisy. This was not a new age setting with pretty music playing. Still, I was pretty tired and felt quite comfortable on the table.
They recommended I come back next week for the free clinic, and I could even go Monday morning, which is also free. I don't think I'll go twice a week because the time getting there and waiting is significant. However, I figure if I bring my laptop and/or a book to read, I really won't be wasting much time overall, considering how inefficient I can be when working from home at times. (The smart thing to do would be to sign in around noon and then go get some lunch nearby.)
All in all, this was a good experience, but if you have the money it's probably better to just pay someone, if just because most people with regular jobs can't afford to wait. I can, because I don't have all my time rigidly scheduled and part of my work is writing, which can be done anywhere. And now I feel I should continue for a while, since they have already started me on a treatment.
I'm reporting back a little over a week later to say that one acupuncture session (plus the herbs they gave me) really helped. My energy returned within a few days of the session. I did not go again yesterday because I'm doing a two-day pranic healing workshop this weekend and I didn't want to overdose my body with healing. But I will go back next Friday.
Yeah, I'm usually turned off by clinics myself because there's the whole waiting factor, not to mention they can sometimes be sterile and noisy. But it's wonderful that there are places where you can get free acupuncture. For years, I couldn't afford the treatments (didn't even have health insurance), but luckily, I've found a clinic where the treatments, though not free, are very reasonably priced on a sliding scale. It would be great if more alternative modes of healing could follow suit.
I'll be going back today...it's actually convenient for the next 7 weeks because it's on my way to my evening yoga teacher training lecture. The traffic is so bad in Los Angeles that I am purposefully leaving the westside in the afternoon to get to the other side of Hollywood for an evening class because it would be impossible and stressful at rush hour. So the free acupuncture along the way is actually a nice treat. Otherwise, I'm planning on going over to Hollywood early anyway to go hang out at a library until my class starts.
In China, most acupuncture "treatments" consists of 10 consecutive days of 1-hr acupuncture sessions. Then take a break, then repeat the treatments maybe 3 times depending on the condition. Just FYI! Most people should be worried about underdosing with acupuncture, not overdosing ;)