Acupuncturist Aimee Van Ostrand offers an affordable alternative treatment for all.
Rising costs can be a barrier in many aspects of health care these days, and this includes Eastern medical treatments like acupuncture. “Although many insurance companies do cover treatment, they often limit the number of visits, or your diagnosis isn’t covered,” says Aimee Van Ostrand, a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and owner of Healing Within Acupuncture and Nutrition in Stillwater. “That’s why I love the community acupuncture model. It makes it sustainable for the provider, and my patients can come as often as they need.”
The common picture of an acupuncture treatment occurs in a private room, one-on-one with the provider, similar to Western medicine—and this experience costs upwards of $60 to $100 per treatment. Through community acupuncture, an acupuncturist can see multiple clients at one time, and payments can be reduced to $20 to $50, according to a sliding fee scale.
“I have people who are going through life transitions, they’ve suffered a loss or are going through a divorce or emotional pain,” Van Ostrand says. “They’ll see me two to three times a week just to get through those really difficult times. It really becomes a financial hardship if you’re paying $60 to $100. But that’s when you need the care the most. When people can pay it forward, they do. It amazes me all the time. I have patients who can afford to pay more and they do. It builds community.”
According to Van Ostrand, community acupuncture is returning to how acupuncture was practiced thousands of years ago in China as a treatment for many ailments. “The whole idea is making acupuncture available for everyone and really separating the issue of money and health care,” she adds.
Van Ostrand started her business in White Bear Lake (now a satellite location) and opened her main clinic in Stillwater two years ago in the historic building on South Second and Chestnut streets. She is the only practitioner in the area who offers community acupuncture. The layout of her open space offers six to seven chairs for people to be seen at once. She has a combination of zero-gravity recliners and cushioned recliners. There is also a private treatment room in the back.
Rolling appointments are made every 15 minutes, so when you arrive, you receive a private intake to review your health concerns. You stay clothed, rolling up your sleeves and pants legs in a reclined position, and Van Ostrand will do the needling, often in points around your ears, scalp, arms and legs. As you relax during the appointment, which is most often an hour, she moves on to the next person.
“I can treat almost any part of the body without directly needling it, so there isn’t a need to get undressed. However, we have a private room if we need it,” she says. Acupuncture has been found effective in treating pain, digestive issues, stress and anxiety, and can be an alternative to pain pills, which carry risks and side effects. She also treats endurance athletes, such as runners and cyclists, to help aid in recovery.
Looking for a more traditional take on acupuncture? Check out Dr. Chu’s Acupuncture Clinic in Hudson.