I’ve been sharing some snippets from my Modern Acupuncture experience in San Francisco over on my Insta Stories (find me @wtfab), and over the last few months, it’s become such an important part of my self-care routine! I wanted to share more about my experience because acupuncture is something that I really didn’t know much about before starting to go to Modern Acupuncture, but it has legit been a game-changer for me.
What is acupuncture?
Ok, first what exactly is acupuncture? Acupuncture treatments involve the insertion of super-thin needles (we’re talking the size of a human hair) into your skin at strategic points on your body. Acupuncture is a key part of traditional Chinese medicine and is often combined with Chinese herbal medicine. It’s most commonly used to treat chronic pain, however, there’s a wide range of issues that people use acupuncture for and they can include stress management, migraines, fatigue, digestive issues, and helping with fertility for women trying to conceive. (*Note: I’m not a doctor. This is based on online research and conversations I’ve had with other people who do acupuncture).
Does acupuncture hurt?
A very understandable question I’ve been receiving (and my first question too before I tried acupuncture) is, does acupuncture hurt? The answer is, no. I was really nervous about this for my very first treatment, but my acupuncturist was really sweet and walked me through everything, explaining everything along the way. Sometimes when a needle is inserted I don’t feel anything at all, and other times it’s like a very small pinch. After a needle is inserted, you don’t feel it. Occasionally a needle will be inserted at a pressure point that might feel a little uncomfortable, and if that happens I just let my acupuncturist know and they readjust.
Modern Acupuncture San Francisco
As I mentioned I go to Modern Acupuncture in San Francisco for my treatments, which is located in Cow Hollow. If you’re in the North Bay, they also have a location in Marin. I had never done acupuncture before but had always been curious about it, so when my friend Emily referred me (you can read her post all about Modern Acupuncture here) and I had the opportunity to try it, I jumped on it. I was picturing a treatment where you lie on a massage table and it’s this whole thing that takes an hour and is crazy expensive. Modern Acupuncture is not that. A full treatment only takes 20 minutes, and the pricing is really reasonable.
Modern Acupuncture has taken the practice of acupuncture that’s thousands of years old and modernized it to fit our current busy lifestyles. Instead of a single room with a massage table, their tranquil treatment room is set up with comfortable massage chairs that are each in their own curtained-off space so patients have some privacy. When I pictured acupuncture I pictured a stock photography image of someone lying on a table and needles in their back, so the idea that you could sit in a comfortable massage chair was new to me. The incredible thing is that even though you’re in a sitting position, your acupuncturist can still target places like your lower back through different pressure points on your arms and legs.
Modern Acupuncture’s updated set up allows for their treatments to be at a reasonable and accessible pricepoint and super convenient to book. They always have availability for me at the exact time and date that I want and that fits into my schedule, since one acupuncturist can have several patients set up and enjoying a treatment at any given time. This is so clutch for me because my schedule is jam-packed, and being able to fit in my acupuncture when I’m in the Marina for other appointments or meetings makes it so easy.
Their acupuncturists are all fabulous, and Justin is my go-to therapist. He has his Doctorate in Acupuncture, and he’s incredibly knowledgable. I always feel like I’m in great hands with him!
My experience with Modern Acupuncture in San Francisco
Ok so let’s get into the details of my personal experience with Modern Acupuncture, San Francisco! When I first decided I was going to try acupuncture, I didn’t necessarily have any aches or pains that I wanted to focus on—I just wanted to see how it felt and if I noticed any difference in my mood and energy. After my first treatment, I felt very relaxed and SO sleepy. Like I came home and took a mid-afternoon nap, which I never do!
As it does, life got busy and between travel and being slammed with work, I didn’t go back to Modern Acupuncture for a couple months. During that time, I started having really bad lower back pain. This isn’t unusual for me, unfortunately, and over the last few years has happened to me a couple times each year where I have really bad lower back pain for a week or two. It usually happens after a really tough work out (especially when there’s a lot of deadlifts, bent-over rows, and running involved—all things that are hard on your lower back muscles), and I’ve over-exerted myself accidentally. Except this time, my lower back pain wasn’t going away within a week or two like usual, and it had lasted almost two months. I’d been trying everything to help relieve it—using Icy Hot and Flexpower on it, taking Advil, scalding hot showers with hot water on my lower back, using less weight at my workouts, and massage. Nothing helped and I was getting concerned (and really, really annoyed) that my lower back pain wasn’t going away.
I don’t know why I didn’t think to do this earlier (maybe because acupuncture was still a new concept to me), but I finally booked an appointment at Modern Acupuncture. I told my acupuncturist I was having a lot of lower back pain and asked if he could target that, and he said of course and explained the different pressure points and areas on the arms and legs that can help release lower back tension and pain. The areas around my knees were especially interesting—I felt a lot of pressure down my shins when those needles were inserted, and he explained that these were key areas for relieving pressure and targeting lower back pain.
You guys. I felt like a new freaking woman after this acupuncture treatment. I immediately noticed a huge difference in my lower back pain during my workout later that evening. For the last couple of months I was struggling with a lot of the moves—I felt tightness and soreness in my lower back just doing a simple squat. After my treatment, I could tell my lower back felt much less tight during my workout. I knew I was on the right track here! With one treatment, my lower back pain went from around a 7 on a scale of 1 – 10 to like a 4. I immediately booked another treatment for the following week.
I did three weeks of treatments once a week, and by then I was feeling pretty damn good. Again, life got busy and I didn’t book an appointment for about a month or so. And of course, my lower back pain started to creep back up. I booked another appointment, and when I came in Justin told me that’s a pretty typical story he hears often with his patients—acupuncture helps take care of the pain, you feel good so you stop going consistently, and then the pain starts to come back again. Oops! He told me that especially for someone who does intense workouts and can get a tight lower back from it (I’ve been doing Barry’s 4 – 5 times a week!), you should really be doing acupuncture a couple of times a month as maintenance. So, that’s the new routine that I’m on and it’s been great! Every other week has felt like the right cadence for me, although honestly if I lived closer to the Marina location I’d probably go once a week.
If you’re in the Bay Area and looking to try acupuncture, I can’t recommend Modern Acupuncture enough! Their services have truly improved my overall health and wellness, and their business model makes treatment efficient and cost-effective. The average San Francisco acupuncture cost is ~$85 per session at an acupuncture clinic, whereas with Modern Acupuncture you can do their Pathway Plan for two treatments at $99/month, so $49.50 per treatment. You can even try out your first session at Modern Acupuncture San Francisco or Marin FREE with the code 008!
Acupuncture has been recognized as an effective treatment for chronic pain. A 2012 study found acupuncture was better than no acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain conditions including neck, shoulder, and back pain.
Acupuncture can help relieve back, neck and shoulder pain. It is also used for a wide range of issues like fatigue, stress, and migraines.
The average cost of an acupuncture treatment in San Francisco is $85 per session, however with Modern Acupuncture’s plans you can get two treatments per month for $50 per session.
Acupuncture is a practice that involves penetrating the skin with needles, stimulating certain acupressure points on the body to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.