About the clinic
What do we need from you?
Treatment is in a community setting.
Most American acupuncturists treat patients on tables in individual cubicles. This is not traditional in Asia, where acupuncture usually occurs in a community setting. At Common Source, I use a combination of tables and zero gravity chairs, clustered in groups in a large, quiet, soothing space. Treating patients in a community setting has many benefits: it’s easy for friends and family members to come in for treatment together; many patients find it comforting; and a collective energetic field becomes established which actually makes individual treatments more powerful.
The treatment room is meant to remain a quiet space for you and others to relax, sleep, and just sort it all out. Its atmosphere exists through everyone relaxing together. This kind of collective stillness a rare and valuable thing. Maintaining this reservoir of calm requires very little talking in the clinic space, even by the acupuncturist. So, please keep your voice at a whisper.
Because healing takes time, there is a sliding scale.
Acupuncture is most effective for current health concerns when it is done regularly. I’ve found this to be especially true at the beginning of a course of treatment. Acupuncture is a PROCESS. It is very rare for any person to be able to resolve a problem completely with one treatment. Frequent treatment is much more likely to lead to relief. At your first visit, we will talk about a course of treatment based on the intensity and duration of your health concern. Twice a week is usually the minimum needed to get some momentum moving ahead with speed for a health issue – though more frequent visits are common for short periods of time if the problem is quite intense. If you don’t come in often enough or for enough treatments, acupuncture may not work as well for you.
Most American acupuncturists also see only one patient per hour and charge $65 to $175 per treatment. They tend to spend a long time talking with each patient, going over medical records, asking many questions. I don’t practice that way. The only way that I can make acupuncture affordable and still make a living myself is to streamline my treatments and see multiple patients in an hour, so I have returned to the traditional approach; instead of asking you lots of questions, I rely on my initial intake form and pulse and tongue diagnosis to decide how to treat you. This is exactly how acupuncture is practiced traditionally in Asia — many patients per hour with less time spent on talking. As a result, patients get individualized and high-quality treatments at a lowered cost, which means that multiple visits won’t be a financial burden.
To keep our costs consistently low, I do not bill insurance. If you have insurance that covers acupuncture, I will be happy to give you a payment receipt, and you can submit it directly to them.
Nicole opened Common Source Acupuncture in October 2014 when she became aware of the lack of affordable acupuncture in Ann Arbor. The clinic is newly re-located to downtown Ypsilanti to remove some of the barriers of the original space. Nicole practices acupuncture, herbs, and Chinese medical nutrition along with being trained as a GAPS diet practitioner (learn more about GAPS here). While her practice provides a broad range of whole family wellness treatments, being a mom of young children, Nicole has a soft spot for working with children and providing labor preparation and support for pregnant women.
Nicole graduated from Pacific College of Health and Sciences in New York City with a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Pacific College of Health and Sciences is one of the oldest acupuncture schools in the nation. The Master’s program includes nearly 3500 credit hours of theory and hands-on clinical practice, forty percent of which is in the bio-sciences. Nicole graduated from the program before they split the Masters and Doctoral programs. Nicole’s Master’s of Science is the equivalent of the new DCAM.
Responsibility for your own health is essential.
Common Source Acupuncture does not provide primary care medicine! Acupuncture is a wonderful complement to Western medicine, but it is not a substitute for it. If you think you have a problem that is not “garden variety” (meaning, you are worried that you might have a serious infection, a malignant growth, or an injury that won’t heal) you need to see a primary care physician (MD or DO). I can provide complimentary care for conditions which require a physician’s attention. For instance, I often treat patients for the side effects of chemotherapy. I also can provide “triage” for conditions that are waiting to be seen by a MD and answer questions about test results – many times we can get a condition under control before a doctor’s appointment is available. But I need you to take responsibility for your own health.
Flexibility makes treatments more relaxing and effective.
The community setting requires some flexibility from you. For instance, many patients have a favorite chair or table. When I am busy, someone may be sitting in yours. Similarly, there will be a few patients who snore. Other patients who dislike snoring can bring earplugs to their treatments. I am grateful for this! Some of my patients even bring favorite pillows or blankets from home with them, because they prefer theirs to the ones I provide. That’s fine with me. Basically, I need you to participate in making yourself comfortable in the community room before I arrive to treat you.
In terms of how long you want to stay – please tell me if you need to be somewhere at a certain time! If you want to be unpinned at a specific time, please ask. I’ll make sure you’re out on time. In general, if you feel done, open your eyes and give me a meaningful look. If your eyes are closed, I think you’re asleep and if we have the space, I won’t wake you up. Needles are generally in for 30-45 minutes
Learning the routine makes everything go smoothly.
Part of our success is that our patients learn the routine. Making payment happens at the front desk BEFORE each treatment, so you can relax and enjoy treatment. My mission is to serve as many people as I can in the community at prices they can afford, which means I need to keep costs down wherever possible. Therefore, I do not have a receptionist, but rather use what’s known as an Invisible Receptionist. Basically, this means that I give you all the tools necessary to handle the main things a receptionist usually does: payment and re-scheduling.
It works like this:
- On the desk near the entrance you’ll see a little box full of laminated envelopes, as well as a few forms, pens, a notepad, etc. When you walk in, grab an envelope and write your name on it with one of those wet erase markers.
- Payment goes in the envelope, and the whole thing gets put in the wooden box with the slot in it. I take cash, check, and major credit cards. Cash and check are preferred, since I don’t get charged any extra fees to accept them, but please don’t hesitate to use a card if that is the best option for you!
- For payment by credit card: credit cards will need to be swiped by the acupuncturist. Just wait at the reception counter and I will be able to assist you.
- If you need a receipt, fill out one of the forms that say “Receipt” at the top (or pay with a credit card and it will be automatically emailed to you), and if you need it signed for tax purposes, just bring it with you to the chair and I’ll sign it for you. If you need a receipt to send in for insurance reimbursement, let me know so I can put the proper codes on it for you. ***Please note that I do not keep detailed billing history, so if you need a receipt do it THEN.***
- Scheduling is done online here, and the service is easy to use, freeing up time for me to give more acupuncture treatments.
- If you’d prefer not to schedule online, I totally understand. Just write when you’d like to come in next time on a note in your envelope with a few alternate times, and I’ll text or email you to confirm your time slot.