Acupuncture: How Much Does it Cost?

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How much does acupuncture cost

The cost of acupuncture varies widely throughout California and the United States. When discussing acupuncture, a common question is: “How much does the treatment cost?“. The cost of acupuncture services varies depending on the payment options you choose. So, let’s discuss your options together but first…

What is Acupuncture?

What is acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese Medicine dating back nearly 3,000 years ago. Fine needles are inserted into various parts of the body to treat a range of disharmonies

Through the lens of Chinese Medicine, there are over 200 pathways of energy or qi (pronounced chee) in our bodies. These pathways are referred to as “meridians”. When the flow of energy, or qi, is blocked or stagnant on these pathways, disharmonies (pain, disease, etc.) can result.  

By inserting thin, stainless steel needles at points along these pathways, we stimulate the nervous system and help the energy flow more fluidly in the body, thus preventing and treating diseases and pain that a patient is dealing with. 

Through a Western lens, the insertion of an acupuncture needle has many physiological effects. The needles can affect neurotransmitters, downregulate pain, stimulate the repair of tissues, increase microcirculation, and reduce inflammation.  

What Does it Treat?

Acupuncture can treat a wide variety of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ailments. The most common objectives of treatment are to:

  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Alleviate symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and tinnitus
  • Reduce stress and anxiety, or increase energy and mental clarity
  • Strengthen the body’s immune system
  • Balance and integrate functions of the organs, making for a unified, integrated, healthy person
What does acupuncture treat

The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment for over 200 common clinical disorders, including:

What Can I Expect from an Acupuncture Treatment?

What to expect first acunpuncture appointment

Receiving acupuncture is an enjoyable, relaxing experience. Your first appointment will begin with an extensive evaluation of your health history and current health concerns, and any questions you have will be answered. Your acupuncturist may check your tongue for color and texture, feel your pulse, and discuss your lifestyle habits during this time. 

Treatment will then begin with acupuncture, cupping, or gua sha, depending on your treatment plan. When receiving acupuncture, your acupuncturist will insert needles on various points of your body. The needles are hair-thin and are typically inserted only  ¼ – ½ inches into the body. The treatment itself is relatively painless, with many patients reporting some aching sensations on some points on the body that fade away. 

Once needles are inserted, and you are comfortable, you will rest for 30 minutes and let the needles do the work. Your treatments will feel deeply relaxing, connecting, and rejuvenating, and your acupuncturist will be on call to support you the entire time. 

After your appointment, patients tend to feel relaxed, experience improved sleep and digestion, have more energy, and have an overall sense of well-being. With consistent treatments, most patients notice an improvement in acute conditions almost immediately, and chronic conditions tend to improve in 4-6 weeks.  

Is There Anything I Need to Do Before or After My Appointment?

Stay hydrated before acupuncture treatment

In preparation for your visit, it is good to be well hydrated and put on comfortable clothing that is easy to rest in. You don’t want to get treatment on an empty stomach. It is also best to avoid high quantities of caffeine right before treatment, as it can hinder your ability to relax. After your appointment, we recommend patients to hydrate and take it slow to learn how their bodies react to acupuncture. You may feel sore or low energy after your first few visits. 

The Cost of Acupuncture

Do You Accept Insurance?

In the state of California, insurance companies are legally required to include acupuncture as a treatment for pain and nausea as an essential health benefit. Unfortunately, this law excludes Medicare, though our state acupuncture associations are working hard to change this. 

We at Solis Acupuncture are in-network with select plans through Blue Shield of California, United Health Care, Sutter Select, and Kaiser, and we offer discounts to uninsured, low-income patients. We also take worker’s comp patients. To learn if you have coverage, please call our office at 831-464-1605, and we will be happy to run a benefits check for you.  

How Much Does Acupuncture Cost Without Insurance?

The cost of acupuncture varies greatly depending on where you live, with San Jose and San Fransisco having some of the highest average costs at $130 per session. Nationally, the cost for a first-time acupuncture visit ranges from $150-400, and follow-ups range from $85-$300.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Acupuncture

There are many factors that affect the cost of acupuncture treatment in any given location. The cost of living in the area you get treatment makes the biggest difference- the overhead costs in the region- how much rent is, how well the company pays their support staff, and state and federal tax laws pertaining to the region are all factored into the cost per treatment.  Also, the level of expertise of the practitioners makes a big difference.  New practitioners who are just out of school will often treat at a much lower rate than practitioners who have been in practice for a decade or more.  Some practitioners reduce overhead costs by treating up to 12 patients per hour or treating multiple patients all in one room at the same time, as with community acupuncture clinics.  We at Solis spend 30-60 minutes with each patient, as we feel thorough intake and exam are crucial to optimal outcomes.  

Cost of Treatment at Solis

At Solis Acupuncture, we offer patients a variety of payment options (outlined below) for you to choose from. 

Cash Pay

  • $195 initial visit: The first visit to our office consists of an extended evaluation, assessment, and treatment (which will include acupuncture, gua sha, electrical stimulation, and cupping). This appointment may last up to 2 hours.
  • $120 follow-up visit: Follow-up visits are an hour and will include acupuncture, cupping, electrical stimulation, and gua sha, depending on your treatment plan. 

*We offer financial discounts for those who qualify. Don’t hesitate to contact our office to discuss your options further. 


Purchasing a package is another option for cash-pay patients. Package options are:

  • $550 for 5 visits ($110 per visit)
  • $1050 for 10 visits ($105 per visit)

What Is Included in the Initial Visit?

On your first visit, you will arrive early to fill out your intake forms. This initial appointment will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes. We at Solis are committed to doing a thorough intake so that the provider can achieve an understanding of what your concerns are, the history behind them, and any traumas, injuries, illnesses, or lifestyle challenges that may be connected to those concerns. We then perform an examination – your provider will look at your tongue and pulse if yours is an internal medical case.

For chronic pain or orthopedic cases, your practitioner will have you do some range of motion exercises and muscle testing if necessary. They will then gently palpate the pain region to get a sense of which types of tissues are involved and how they can best treat them. Once they determine your treatment plan, they will go over the modalities and what you can expect from treatment. 

Your practitioner will address any questions you may have about treatment at that time. Once they are ready to treat, you simply rest on the table. When your needles are in, and the provider is done with any additional therapies, you get to simply take a nice 30-minute nap with a warm bed and soothing soundtrack. You will be given a pager to use if you need anything from your provider. Your only homework after your initial treatment is to report back to your practitioner regarding the results of the treatment.   

Additional Costs for Treatment

Contrary to popular belief, acupuncturists are not one-trick ponies.  They are primary care physicians here in the state of California and are highly educated in internal medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine, supplements, and often functional medical practices such as lab testing and evaluation.

You may want to pursue herbal remedies, nutritional upgrades, or herbal remedies to complement your acupuncture treatments. Your provider will be happy to discuss what they feel will give you the best chance at recovering from your ailments. Unfortunately, the cost of herbs, supplements, and lab testing will be out-of-pocket expenses. You can, however, use your HSA or FSA accounts to pay for these items.  At Solis, we are committed to keeping these costs affordable for our patients. 


At Solis Acupuncture, we offer patients a variety of payment options (outlined below) for you to choose from. 

We believe that everyone should have access to the benefits of acupuncture, and we are committed to making our services affordable for all. If you’re interested in learning more about our payment options or scheduling a free consultation, please call us at (831) 464-1605 or contact us online.

Published: Apr 6, 2022

Updated: May 1, 2023

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Lishanna Emmert, DAOM, L.Ac

Lishanna Emmert, DAOM, L.Ac

Dr. Emmert has been treating chronic pain for 15 years. After obtaining her Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, she went on to do a Doctoral Program through the Henan University In China, then a second Doctoral program in San Jose, CA. Lishanna has done certification programs in functional nutrition, whole food supplements for pain and sports injury, orthopedic acupuncture, and functional herbal medicine.