Clinics FAQs

How are you ensuring safety of the clinic services during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Your safety and well-being remain a priority. Our facility has been deep cleaned. We have implemented enhanced disinfection protocols. We have reduced our capacity to ensure social distancing, and adequate time for disinfection between patient appointments. Your practitioner will be using required PPE. Our faculty, staff and students must complete health questionnaire and temperature screening daily upon arrival. Everyone on site is required to wear a face mask at all times. Our systems have been analyzed for maintaining proper ventilation and HEPA filters are running in each treatment room. Everyone on site is required to wear an appropriate face mask at all times. Our systems have been analyzed for maintaining proper ventilation and HEPA filters are running in each treatment room.

What are the qualifications of my practitioner?

As a teaching clinic, all student interns are in their final year of training towards a Masters or Doctorate degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and work under the supervision of our licensed faculty. Your intern will have over 400 clinical hours of training and completed courses such as Anatomy, Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Oriental medicine theory, Herbology, Needle Techniques and Point Location before they begin their clinic intern rotation in ACTCM’s clinic. Patients also have the option of receiving treatments by a Trainee level student who are under the direct supervision of a licensed acupuncturist.

What is acupuncture? Does it hurt?

Acupuncture consists of the gentle insertion and stimulation of thin, disposable sterile needles at specific acupuncture points near the surface of the body. Patients may feel a light tingling sensation, a warming sensation or nothing at all. Most patients report feeling calm and relaxed after their treatment.

Is Chinese medicine safe?

When practiced by a trained professional, acupuncture is extremely safe. Because treatments with Chinese medicine are specifically tailored to each patient, the incidence of adverse side effects is extremely low. However, there are certain conditions you should notify your practitioner about before undergoing treatment, such as hemophilia or if you have a pacemaker.

What should I expect during my first visit?

All new patients in ACTCM’s clinic are asked to complete a patient information form and health history. These forms include questions about your medical history, your family’s medical history, and your lifestyle. It is a good idea to bring with you any copies of previous tests, lab results and any medications or supplements you are currently taking. The physical exam can include taking vital signs as well as detailed examination of the pulse and tongue, abdominal palpation and facial diagnosis. When your practitioner arrives at a working diagnosis, they will place you in a comfortable position to insert the needles. After the needles are inserted, you will relax in the treatment room for 15 to 20 minutes. Your practitioner will then return and take out the needles. After the acupuncture treatment is over, Chinese herbal medicines may be also prescribed.

How many needles are inserted?

Generally 10 to 20 needles may be inserted, although more or less is not uncommon. The actual number of needles used varies from patient to patient and depends on the particular condition being treated.

How long are the appointments?

While this can sometimes vary, a new patient’s first visit will generally last 2 hours. We ask that all new patients arrive 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment to fill out the necessary paperwork. Subsequent appointments generally last 75 minutes.

How long will it take to get better?

Most acute health problems can be resolved in just several treatments. Chronic health issues usually require a longer course of treatment. Your treating practitioner will keep you abreast of your progress and prognosis.

How should I prepare for my first visit?

Please read our Patient Procedures and Precautions prior to booking a treatment. In addition to bringing copies of any previous medical records and medications or supplements you are currently taking, we generally recommend that new patients wear loose fitting clothing and have something to eat approximately one hour before your appointment.

What is the cost to be seen by a student intern or Licensed acupuncturist in ACTCM’s clinic?

Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, herbology, and Asian massage/bodywork are often less expensive than Western therapies for the same conditions. ACTCM’s clinic fees are moderate and affordable for most, and include discounts for same day appointments, students and low income senior citizens. For details, please call (415) 282-9603.

I am on a limited income. Do you provide any discounts?

In an effort to make the complementary health care at ACTCM affordable to the public, we offer our clinic rates at our main Community Clinic on a sliding scale based on income. We also offer discounts to low income senior citizens and students with current ID. After your initial appointment with our Clinic, patients may request to be placed on ACTCM’s “Same Day Appointment” list, which offers patients a discount on appointments made and received on the same day. The Ear Clinic, located at the CIIS Mission Street campus, offers treatment by donation, however no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Does ACTCM accept insurance?

In addition to cash, checks most major credit cards, the ACTCM Clinic is able to accept Workers Comp, Medi-Cal and some insurance plans. Please call us for more information on the specific health insurance plans we accept.

How do I make an appointment?

Click here to make an appointment or call the ACTCM Clinic directly at (415) 282-9603 x5.

How long does it take to get an appointment?

While we can often accommodate same-day appointments, the typical wait to be seen in our clinic is from 3-5 days.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require 24 hours notice when canceling an appointment. Cancellations made with less notice are assessed a $25.00 cancellation fee. Tardiness in excess of 20 minutes is considered a forfeit of the appointment.

What are your days and hours of operation?

Please visit our Hours & Location page for more information on our hours of operation.

I have coupon. How do I redeem it?

Call our clinic to make your appointment. When you arrive for your first appointment, present your coupon to the clinic staff.

Where are you located? What are the directions to your clinic?

For information on how to reach our clinic, please see directions here.

Do you provide parking?

Yes. Free patient parking is available in our Community Clinic parking lot located on Connecticut Street. Patients may park in any spot marked “Patient”. Additional on-street parking is also available.

What do other patients have to say about their experience with ACTCM?

Click here to read some of our most recent patient testimonials. You can also check out what folks are saying by visiting us on

Can you refer me to a licensed acupuncturist in my area?

In addition to the qualified student interns and Faculty Practice licensed acupuncturists found in ACTCM’s clinic, you may also search our database of alumni for a practitioner in your area.