So even though teasing out the symptoms using WebMD and a little Google, followed by a quick run to CVS may not be perceived as high quality, it is affordable and effective for 95% of what the average person will encounter. Community acupuncture is very similar when compared to one-on-one acupuncture. For the people that can afford the 100 bucks for their private acupuncture session, I say go for it. But if you're like me, it sure is nice to be able to pay $25. And even though without the private room I can't get pins in my back, and I can hear the guy next to me snoring, it doesn't mean I'm not receiving something that is quality.
One of my favorite quality returns a person gets from consistent community acupuncture treatments is a bit more subtle than the others. I like to think of it as "DIY acupuncture". I like home improvement shows, and there are two types. In the first type, they tell the homeowner to go away for awhile, then proceed to totally deck out the place, and finally the homeowner returns and is hysterical, speechless and bedazzled. In the other version, the show sends in a professional who has a tight budget, and this person helps homeowners do the work themselves. At the end, the homeowner is a little tired, but amazed at what they could do with a little help, and proud of the progress they made.
I've gotten both types of responses from acupuncture clients. When I used to do private sessions, I'd get a lot of folks who were amazed at what my treatment had done to reduce their anxiety; I usually spent about 30 minutes counseling them about it followed by a 15-minute acupuncture treatment. My favorite experiences, though, are with the community acupuncture clients who lie in the recliners for 45 minutes before signaling me over to pull out pins. When I ask how their treatment was, they often talk about how they were able to get themselves to relax after 20 minutes with the aid of the pins. They have a sense that they had an essential part in whatever healing took place in the session. I like community acupuncture because for a nominal amount, I get to help set the stage for people to do their own healing work.