Clinical Questions

What is Community Acupuncture (CA)?

Community Acupuncture (CA) is a social-business model that increases people’s access to affordable acupuncture. CA Clinics do this in several ways:
  1. Offering individualized treatments in a comfortable group setting.
  2. Charging fees on an affordable sliding scale. You decide what you pay on this scale. No questions asked. And what you pay never affects the care you receive.
  3. Having consistent hours to make care convenient to as many people as possible, with same day appointments generally available.

How should I prepare for my first acupuncture appointment?

Wear comfortable clothing that you can easily push up above your elbows and knees. You may want to limit the amount of jewelry around your wrists and ankles, as these will probably need to be removed for treatment. Please don’t wear perfume or strong body scents, as many people are sensitive to them.

Most people fall asleep during treatment, and some do snore. Feel free to bring earplugs, music with earphones or a special blanket or pillow - we want you to make yourself comfortable.

Bring your completed Patient Registration and Health History Form & Consent for Treatment (or come 15 minutes early to fill them out here). If you are a woman seeking treatment for Fertility, please also complete our Female Fertility Support Questionnaire.

Please turn off your cell phone before entering the clinic, and come in and have a seat in our waiting room. We will be out to greet you shortly, and escort you to our consult room for your private evaluation. Please note: the waiting room is next to the group treatment space where people are napping, so please speak in whispers in the waiting room and be as quiet as possible. Thank you!

What do we need to provide safe care for you?

We need you to pay attention to your own inner wisdom. If you even suspect that you have a serious condition requiring evaluation by a physician, please seek medical care immediately. We do not provide primary medical care or emergency treatment for conditions requiring the immediate attention of a physician.

In addition, there may be a time when your acupuncturist recommends an evaluation by a physician before acupuncture is performed. Please understand that this decision is based upon our concern for your well-being.

We need you to keep your acupuncturist informed about changes in your condition. Your observations are very important! Please tell us about any new conditions (which includes pregnancy), diagnoses from your physician, medications or treatments, or any new personal concerns. Your treatment plan may need to be revised.

How are acupuncture points chosen for my treatment?

Each point has specific functions and indications. We will select points specifically for each treatment based upon your current health status and goals.

Why don’t you put needles into the painful area? What is the Balance Method?

In this clinic, we rarely put needles where you are having pain. We use the Balance Method, developed by Dr. Richard Teh-Fu Tan, master acupuncturist and internationally known expert (and author of 4 acupuncture books). The Balance Method brings the body back into balance by using acupuncture points away from the painful or affected area. This leaves sensitive, painful areas needle free. The Balance Method provides rapid relief of pain and requires fewer treatments to achieve stable, long-lasting results. Dr. Tan explains: When you want to turn on a ceiling light, you don’t have to climb a ladder to do it. You just flip on the wall switch that controls the ceiling light. And to turn off the light, you flip the switch off. In the same way, by using the Balance Method we insert needles into your arms and legs (and sometimes your head & ears) to turn on (and strengthen) certain parts of your body and to turn off painful sensations (muscle tightness / spasm, burning, numbness…) and other problems. All conditions, even back pain, can be treated in this way. Our acupuncturists use the Balance Method, and this allows you to stay fully clothed and nap in a comfortable recliner during treatment while experiencing rapid results.

How can I support my own healing?

Acupuncture stimulates your natural healing abilities. Your body already produces many natural substances to heal itself: anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, immune system boosters, hormones and so forth, and all of these circulate through your blood, traveling to inflamed, painful or damaged areas. This occurs WITHOUT you even having to think about it and WITHOUT the need for outside drugs. (In fact, many of western medicine's most effective drugs are man-made copies of naturally occurring substances in your body). You also have various types of blood cells that repair body tissues. These natural substances and repairing mechanisms support self-healing. Acupuncture needles stimulate blood flow and nerve conduction through the problem areas. To support your healing:
  • Get plenty of rest. Studies show that people who are rested have fewer illnesses and fewer hospitalizations. They have less chance of being overweight and are able to cope better with the ups and downs of daily life.
  • Breathe deeply and often. Deep breathing is effective for reducing stress, reducing muscle tightness and tension, and improving mental focus and concentration. It is also a great way to help you stop smoking!
  • Drink enough fluids. Your body is 70-80% water and you need to replenish it regularly. In colder weather, the heat in homes and offices can be very drying. While water is best, it is also fine to get fluids from soups, juices, decaf beverages, fruits and vegetables. Limit caffeinated beverages (coffee, some teas and sodas), because caffeine makes you urinate and contributes to loss of fluids. Caffeine also worsens anxiety and the physical sensations from stress, and can interfere with sleep.
  • Notice how your lifestyle affects your sense of well-being and your symptoms. In Chinese Medicine, symptoms are viewed as wisdom teachers. By paying attention to your symptoms (when they come & go), you will gain access to your own inner wisdom. You will begin to notice how your lifestyle supports your health (or does not). And, you will gain insights to empower you to decide what makes sense for you.
  • Do you treat children?

    Yes. We treat children ages 6 and older. For young children, we use very tiny sterile needles attached to a special Band-aid. The needles are inserted in our private consult room, and then the child can relax in the waiting room with a picture book for 15-25 minutes during treatment. A parent or guardian must be present to supervise their child at all times. And the child must be able to sit quietly so that others in the clinic are not disturbed. For teenagers and pre-teens, we treat them with small sterile needles in a recliner in one of our open spaces. We encourage them to bring their own music with ear phones, so that they feel comfortable.

    Do you turn breech babies or induce labor?

    We treat women for pain and symptoms causing them distress (whether they happen to be pregnant or not), however, we DO NOT turn breech babies and we DO NOT induce labor in this clinic. If you want to have one of these procedures, we will refer you to an acupuncturist who specializes in and has extensive experience in these procedures.

    What training have your acupuncturists received?

    Our acupuncturists have received a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine and have completed at least 300 hours of clinical experience before graduation. We are fully licensed in good standing by the State of Maryland. We attend ongoing educational programs to stay current and to develop additional skills and knowledge.

    Mina Johns, MS, MAc, LAc, RN graduated from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia) in 2009 and opened Annapolis Community Acupuncture in January 2010. She is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Certified Balance Method Practitioner and Acupuncture Detox Specialist. She has been a Registered Nurse since 1975, most recently as Triage Supervisor with Hospice of the Chesapeake. Mina decided to study acupuncture after experiencing first-hand what acupuncture can do for one's health. From 2010 to 2016, Mina studied with master acupuncturist Dr. Richard Teh-Fu Tan (creator of the Balance Method, a strategy known for rapid, long-term relief of painful conditions). She became a Silver Level Certified Practitioner in the Balance Method in 2014. Mina specializes in the treatment of people with pain, sports injuries, stress, anxiety, trauma, sleep & digestive disorders and in the treatment of people with complex chronic conditions. Mina is a member of the Maryland Acupuncture Society (MAS) and Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB). She is passionate about making acupuncture accessible to as many people as possible, and is grateful to be able to bring affordable acupuncture to our community. She and her husband Ric have lived in Annapolis since 2004, and are proud sponsors of midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy. Mina loves music, reading, nature, walking, water aerobics, and spending time with loved ones, including rescue dogs PJ and Zoey, and grand-dogs Cooper and Maggie.

    Ana Paula Duarte MSTOM, LAc, Dipl.Ac, received her Bachelor's degree from UCLA in 2003. She went on to study Chinese Medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, graduating with a Master's degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine in 2011. Ana Paula is board certified in acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is a Licensed Acupuncturist, and has specialized training in Sports Medicine, the Balance Method, Fertility Support, and Scalp Acupuncture for acute and chronic neuro-muscular conditions. She is an experienced community acupuncturist, having worked at three community acupuncture clinics treating many people with a wide variety of conditions. When not poking people with needles, she enjoys being out in nature, dancing and enjoying the company of her husband Tuck, rescue cat NaeNae, and family and friends. Ela fala português y habla español también.

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    Scheduling Appointments

    Do I need to schedule an appointment?

    New Walk-in Policy: Appointments Required for Everyone!

    We have moved to a scheduled community clinic model, rather than taking walk-ins. We ask that you schedule your appointment in advance. Scheduled appointments make for a more even traffic flow in the clinic and let us continue to provide a peaceful experience for you. By scheduling ahead you will definitely have a recliner without waiting for a long period, and we can make sure you get in and out in a timely manner. Same day appointments can still be made up to 30 minutes in advance for those unexpected needs. Simply click on the Schedule Now button on our website. If you can’t schedule online, you can text us at 443-951-1575 or email us for the fastest response.

    Can I bring a friend with me?

    Yes! This is a great way for your friends to try acupuncture. We do recommend that you both have appointments if you are coming together.

    Can I bring my child to wait in the waiting room while I get treatment?

    No. Unfortunately we do not have someone to supervise a child while you are getting treatment.

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    Financial Questions

    What do treatments cost, and what forms of payment do you accept?

    Our fees are $15-$40 per treatment on a sliding scale. We use a sliding scale to help you come in often enough to make rapid progress in meeting your healthcare goals.

    The purpose of our sliding scale is to separate the issues of money and treatment. You decide what you pay at each visit. No questions asked. And your treatments are always designed specifically for you. What you pay never affects the care you receive!

    We accept cash, checks and major credit cards (Visa, M/C, Discover and AMEX). We ask that you be prepared to pay at the beginning of each treatment. Full payment is expected at the time of your visit. The returned check fee is $36.00.

    Are receipts provided?

    Yes. We can provide a receipt if requested. For your convenience, instead of receipts each time or each month, we can provide a year-end printout of the dates and payments for all of your treatments for the year. Please give us 5 business days to print an annual receipt, because that information is not accessible in the clinic.

    Do you take insurance?

    We do not take insurance. We will be happy to provide a receipt which you can submit to your insurance. Please note: We do not know whether your insurance company will pay for acupuncture. Please check with them to determine whether or not you are covered.

    Can I use my Health / Medical / Flex Spending Account?

    Absolutely! And we can provide a receipt for your records.

    What is the Late Cancellation / No Show fee?

    When you schedule an appointment you are reserving that time and a recliner for your treatment. This means that the time is not available for others. To be fair to everyone, please give 24 hour notice if you need to cancel, so that others have an opportunity to use that appointment. Late Cancellations and No Shows are charged a $15 fee.

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