A common question for those considering acupuncture treatment for the first time is to ask, “How much does acupuncture cost — especially in relation to Western medicine?”
It’s a Quality of Life Question
It’s a question that can be answered on a number of different levels. My thoughts immediately go to quality of life for those who aren’t finding relief using our society’s default approach to medicine. In our culture, we pop pills, treat symptoms (rather than root causes) and if things get really bad, have surgery. But if you’re still suffering through daily experiences with pain, low energy, emotional distress or a million other nagging conditions, what’s the cost of that? What do you miss when you’re always sick or weak … or are distracted by pain or symptoms? How many side effects do you have to deal with from prescription medications before looking for a better way? How much do you have to struggle before you’re worth the cost of a better life? To me, the real “cost” is in not seeking natural and effective treatment methods to have a healthy body and well being.
It’s a Dollars and ‘Sense’ Question
But most people aren’t necessarily looking for a philosophical discussion. They’re looking for numbers and dollars. Well, we can certainly do that, too! The easy answer is Western medicine is dramatically more costly than acupuncture and other natural treatment methods. Take one statistic as an example. According to a recent Associated Press article, Americans spend a staggering $86 billion a year treating back pain without even finding much relief. The vast majority of that care is Western in its medical nature, from scans and X-Rays to pain pills to other drugs. Speaking of medications, the latest statistics I can find from the U.S. Department of Labor state that the average American spends $335.36 on medications each year, with the average American family spending $185 per year on over-the-counter drugs. And the cost of prescription medication continues to rise steeply, contributing to the health care crisis that prompted recent national legislation.
It’s About Prevention
In comparison, acupuncture is far more cost effective than surgery and a lifetime of lab work and expensive medications. An acupuncture treatment center at Eastern Medical Center costs $80. If you have an acute condition, you might have to come back once a week or so for a while. When your body is back to its natural state of good health, those sessions will become once a month or once every two months.
And while acupuncture will help you get through any current health difficulties, acupuncture by its very nature is about prevention; it’s about preventing you from getting sick, which also prevents you from having to spend money on medical care. Regular acupuncture prevents heart attacks, strokes, illnesses resulting from a weak immune system, diabetes and unnecessary surgeries, just to name a few. This is possible by keeping the body in natural balance, where it functions properly and can really take care of itself. In addition, people who cannot derive the energy they need to recharge themselves (such as with fibromyalgia), people whose lives are filled with constant stress and people who cannot seem to fully recover from illness using conventional Western techniques, these patients can all benefit from regular acupuncture. Why wait until you get diabetes to start taking medication? If you know you are pre-diabetic, did you know that acupuncture, natural herbs and diet change can help prevent the onset of diabetes?
Not to mention, when getting acupuncture treatments regularly, many other symptoms start going away as well. Acupuncture can help the body with so many ailments that I will normally see a patient for one reason, and end up helping with that and healing something else entirely. That’s two medications off the monthly books — along with all the out-of-network specialist visits. And most insurance plans cover a number of acupuncture treatments, and at Eastern Medical Center we accept Workers’ Compensation and auto accident claims.
I hope this helps explain how much acupuncture costs. I also hope it helps even more to explain the cost of not seeking better, more natural care.