Acupuncture is officially defined by the state of New York as ???the treating, by means of mechanical, thermal or electrical stimulation effected by the insertion of needles or by the application of heat, pressure or electrical stimulation at a point or combination of points on the surface of the body... for the purpose of achieving a therapeutic or prophylactic effect.???
That???s a mouthful!!
In fact, it???s such a mouthful that there is a lot of room for differences in practice style and clinic set up for a licensed acupuncturist in New York. And because there is such a range of practice types, there is no one single cost for acupuncture in New York City. It really matters where you go!
Here is a breakdown of your general options for acupuncture clinics in New York. I am not ???naming names??? because these blogs are permanent but individuals can change their prices at any time and there is no way I could keep it current. Instead, I am grouping the options into 2 main categories to give you a sense of the range of price you might expect to pay.
Option 1: Private Practice
Physical Set Up
A solo practitioner has an office with anywhere from 1 - 4 treatment rooms. Each treatment room usually has a massage table, a heating lamp to keep you warm during the session, a stool for the practitioner, and some acupuncture supplies like needles, sharps containers, rubbing alcohol, and cotton balls. The office itself could range in esthetics from an Eastern inspired spa to a conventional medical office.
Initial sessions are often long (90 minutes) to allow the practitioner enough time to thoroughly review your medical history and current symptoms. Follow up sessions are typically 60 minutes. Manual therapy (massage), herbal medicine, and nutritional advice is often made available through the course of the session.
Typical initial visits will cost in the $100 to $150 range. Higher end practices can charge much more than that, up to $400 per session.
Is Insurance Accepted?
For the most part, if a private practice accepts insurance, it is only as an out-of-network provider and most plans don???t have coverage like that.You may find a private practice who is in network with your insurance company, but in my experience this is the exception, not the rule in New York.
Option 2: Community Acupuncture Practice
Instead of private rooms for each patient, community acupuncture clinics usually have multiple tables (anywhere from 4 - 12) in a large treatment room. Many clinics use screens or curtains for privacy, but not all do this. In either case, there are multiple people getting acupuncture at the same time. This allows the clinic to see a higher volume of people in a smaller space, keeping the prices low. There will be white noise machines and gentle music playing to help you zone out during your session.
Some community clinics only use chairs or recliners instead of massage tables so if this is important to you (for example if you have back pain) you should check with the clinic before making an appointment.
Sessions (including the initial) usually last an hour. There is less talking than in a private practice, but the needle retention time (the actual medicine part of the session) is the same. Nutritional advice and herbal recommendations are usually included in the course of a treatment, but massage therapy would be a separate session.
Anywhere from $20 - $50 per session. Some clinics use a sliding scale to let you decide for yourself how much you can afford to pay, others opt for a lower price point with packages available to keep the price around $30 - $40 per session.
Is Insurance Accepted?
Some community clinics have in-network providers, others don???t. You???ll have to check with the clinic before your first appointment.
Obviously, as the owner of City Acupuncture I am biased towards community clinics. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect; it is often necessary to get 5 - 10 sessions to see lasting results, so cost is a real factor. Besides, the practitioners in community clinics tend to be very experienced because they treat a high volume of people every day. That means they have probably seen your problem many times over. Lastly, since there are multiple providers working in a community clinic, they can keep much longer hours and schedule appointments every 15 minutes. That means it is more likely you can get an appointment when it???s most convenient for you.
All that said, some people will feel more comfortable having more talking time with their practitioner. For others, a private room is necessary for them to be able to relax during the session. In these cases a private practice is a great way to go. The most important thing is that you find a practitioner that you trust and that you feel comfortable with the treatment plan and financial arrangement.