Safety Protocols in the Clinic
How do I book an appointment?
Use the online booking on our website. You will see a few more options as some practitioners are offering both online and in-clinic treatments. Make sure you are selecting the treatment you want!
You can book a same-day appointment, but you have to do it online to ensure contactless payment.
No walk-ins at this time.
How do I pay?
You pay online when you book so we can process your payment without touching your card. The payment process is fast and secure.
Your card will be saved on file for easy payment in future.
We no longer accept cash at the clinic.
How are ICBC claims paid?
We will continue direct billing for ICBC claims for you.
What is your cancellation policy?
You will be charged IN FULL for your appointment if you:
Don’t show up
Give us less than 24 hours notice and we can’t fill your appointment
Arrive with any symptoms of COVID-19
Our online booking system allows you to reschedule your appointment 24 hours or longer in advance of your appointment time.
If you must cancel with less than 24 hours notice, please email us as early as possible to increase the chances that we can fill your appointment.
When should I NOT come to the clinic?
If you’ve been out of the country or have been exposed to COVID-19, you must wait 2 weeks before coming in for an appointment.
Please reschedule if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, including:
New or worsening cough
Shortness of breath
New muscle aches
If you DO show up with symptoms, you will be turned away and charged for the appointment.
In other words:
STAY HOME IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS, HOWEVER SLIGHT, AND CALL 8-1-1.
To keep you safe, we will also reschedule if we have flu-like symptoms.
There are no exceptions to this policy. It is here to stay.
What do I need to do BEFORE my appointment?
You must fill out two forms to be treated in the clinic:
When you book your appointment, we’ll send you a new INTAKE FORM to fill out. This form has updated INFORMED CONSENT information specific to COVID-19. We are legally required to have this on file, so you gotta do it.
Two hours before your appointment, you’ll receive an EMAIL REMINDER SURVEY you must fill out. This will include a COVID-19 screening questionnaire asking you about any signs and/or symptoms. We’ve got to have your response before your appointment to be able to treat you.
Plan to come alone to your appointment unless you are accompanying a minor or you need assistance.
Plan to be wearing a MASK before you enter the clinic. It can be a scarf, bandana, medical-grade or other face covering. Just be sure it’s comfortably secured so you won’t have to fuss with it. We may have masks available to purchase, but would prefer if you brought your own.
Bring or wear an extra layer of clothing because we can no longer supply blankets. It’s easy to get chilled during an acu-nap.
Please travel light and carry only one small bag or purse into the clinic with you.
COVID-19 Guidelines for Your Visit to the Clinic
What do I do when I arrive for my appointment?
Please arrive 5 minutes before your appointment. If you’re late we will not be able to treat you and you will be charged a missed appointment fee. If you’re early, wait in your car or outside the door until we invite you in.
Here’s your optional QR code 5-step “check in” process:
Step 1: When you arrive, look for the check-in signage with the QR code on the window.
Step 2: Access the check-in page on your mobile device by either:
Visiting the URL on the signage or
Pointing your mobile device at the QR code:
Apple: Open the camera app and point the device at the code
Android: Enable “Google Lens Suggestions” on the most updated version of the camera app
Step 3: Select one of these three check-in options:
Enter a mobile phone number and get a link by SMS
Enter an email address and receive a link by email
Enter your existing online booking login credentials if you’re a returning client
If you’ve entered a phone number or email address, you’ll receive a verification text or email shortly.
Step 4: Confirm your arrival in the new window by clicking “Check In” again.
Step 5: Put on your mask!
What happens when I enter the clinic?
We’ll open the door for you a few minutes before your appointment time. Here’s what happens when you step inside:
Use the hand sanitizer at the front desk COVID 19 screening station
We’ll take your temperature, or if you have taken it at home, we’ll make note of it.
We’ll verbally ask you the same questions you answered on your intake form 2 hours prior to your appointment. This will happen at every appointment, Feels like overkill? We hear ya, but safety is paramount.
Some practitioners may choose to do your intake at the front desk behind the “shield.”
We’ll ask you to go to the bathroom and wash your hands well. This is mandatory.
Choose your (thoroughly disinfected) chair, and feel free to give it an extra wipe down if that makes you feel safer. Allow the surface to dry before sitting down.
What will be different in the clinic with COVID-19?
We’re still the same caring acupuncturists you know and love, but you’ll spot a few changes. We want you to feel safe in our space:
We’ll be reminding you to wash your hands and not touch your face!
You may notice a new smell. It’s called bleach. We’ll be disinfecting the chairs between clients and sanitizing all high-touch surfaces.
We will be wearing masks and/or face shields when appropriate during your visit. Gloves are not required, but we may wear them for our own protection. (Gloves do not offer as much protection as regular handwashing.) We may also don some fashion-forward scrubs to ensure our bubble safety.
We will not be providing blankets, tea, or eye masks for now. But we will provide ear plugs, as we suspect the clinic will be a little bit louder now that we can’t rock right up beside you or whisper in your ear.
We’ll leave your needles in for no longer than 45 minutes to allow enough space between clients.
What do I do at the end of my treatment?
Wash your hands again! And float on out the door in a state of acu-bliss.
When you leave, please don’t let others into the clinic. We will invite them in when we’re safe and ready.
ONLINE Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
How the heck can you do acupuncture online?
Button power, baby! We’ll send you our acu-buttons, little round band aids that have a teeny tiny acupressure stimulator. During your online session, we’ll show you how to apply the buttons to enhance your inner healer.
Here’s how it works:
You book and pay for an appointment.
We mail you the supplies you need.
You hop online with us for a deep-dive healing consult.
We show you how and where to place your buttons.
You take a LONG acu-nap and bask in the healing glow for 3 days.
Will the clinic open again once COVID-19 is over?
That’s a painful question right now, and we know many of you are feeling similar pain. If enough people book online acupuncture sessions, we will be able to keep the clinic afloat until we open back up.
But here’s the truth: the COVID-19 closure has put us (like so many others) on shaky ground.
So, if you don’t want to lose The Village — if you value us as a vital part of your healthcare — the best way to support us is to book online appointments during this period of isolation.
Will my insurance cover telehealth?
The only way to be sure is to call your insurance company and ask them before you book.
And good luck with that. We’ve spent many hours trying to contact all the major insurance companies only to be met with hangups and confusion.
We’d love to answer this question, but it’s a big unknown right now. We’re hoping this pandemic will increase coverage for telemedicine.
UPDATE! Score one for SUNLIFE, they are accepting traditional chinese medicine/acupuncture telemedicine.
Does online acupuncture really work?
Damn right, it works. We wouldn’t offer this service if we didn’t believe in it. We use the same techniques that clients have found so effective in the clinic.
We don’t like to brag, but we really know how to push your buttons. Your super-healing acu-buttons, that is.
And, while you’re in self-isolation, we want to listen to you, support you, and surround you with our loving attention. We really are in this together.
How do we meet?
We’ll have an intimate face-to-face video chat online, from the safety and comfort of our homes. We’re the same caring practitioners you’ve come to know and trust in the clinic. (Well, maybe our hair is longer.) This is your chance to get our complete and loving attention, with no distractions, for a full 20 minutes.
Do I need a computer?
YES, you need a desktop or laptop computer to access your video appointment (plus CHROME browser).
The cell phone/tablet version is in development, but not quite ready. If your computer is a dinosaur, try and borrow a newer (and freshly sanitized) one from friends or family.
Do you still offer payment on a sliding scale?
YES, we are keeping our sliding scale, with a slight increase to cover extra costs. We are committed to offering you the same high-quality care and affordable rates we offered in the clinic.
How do I pay?
Payment is easy-peasy. Just book your appointment and you’ll be automatically taken to a screen where you can pay with your credit card. Once we receive your payment, we’ll mail out your acu-buttons and other supplies.
Why do I have to pay upfront?
Two reasons. First, once you book, we’ll be mailing supplies to you, which is an upfront cost for us. Second, your appointment time is YOURS alone; it will no longer be available for others to book. We’re happy to reschedule an appointment if you give us at least 24 hours notice.
Do I need special supplies for my treatment?
Yes, we will mail you a set of acu-buttons/ear seeds/other tools after you book your appointment. It’s very important that your profile includes your current mailing address. Please check and update.
What if my acu-buttons don’t arrive before my appointment?
Virtual acupuncture sessions depend on our amazing postal workers getting supplies to you in time. But don’t worry, if your buttons haven’t arrived in the mail by the day before your appointment, we’ll be flexible. Just shoot us an email and we’ll move your appointment.
Applying the acu-buttons makes me nervous. How do I do it?
Don’t worry, we’ll show you! We’ll be on video together, so we can watch what you’re doing. We’ll guide you through the whole process, from opening the packages to applying the acu-buttons in the right places.
Trust us, we’re REALLY good at talking you through this.
Do the buttons hurt?
NO, it’s a lot like putting on a sticker. Sure, you might feel a little pressure when you press it onto your skin, but no biggie.
And just to put your mind at ease, the acu-buttons do NOT break the dermis layer of the skin, so there is NO risk of infection.
What if I put the acu-buttons on wrong?
We hear this fear loud and clear, but our method is foolproof. You really can’t do it wrong. We’ll ask you to press on a very specific area in search of a tender spot. You’ll know it when you find it, we promise.
Then, we’ll guide you to open the package and place the acu-button. Poof, just like that.
If the idea of the acu-buttons really, truly freaks you out, just tell us in a “NOTE” under your treatment option that you DO NOT want the buttons.
We’ve got a great alternative: EAR SEEDS. Read about them in the next question.
What are ear seeds?
Ear seeds are teeny tiny seeds the size of mustard seeds that are stuck onto a small bandaid. Then placed outside of your ear. Outer part of the ear. You can’t mess these up! The tricky part is applying them to your ears, since it’s hard to see your own ears.
What you’ll need is either tweezers and a mirror or an extra set of hands. We can do this together, no problem!
How long should I leave the acu-buttons on?
Usually 1 to 3 days, but it depends on what we’re treating you for. We’ll tell you what we think might be best, but here’s the truth: YOU are the boss of your body. If at any time the buttons are tripping you out or starting to fall off or get dirty, take them off, place them on a cotton ball and put them in the garbage.
Can I get the buttons wet?
Yes, you can bathe and shower with the acu-buttons on, though the more you get them wet, the faster they’ll come off. We won’t have you put them on high-traffic wash zones like your hands. ‘Cause let’s not forget to ALWAYS wash our hands!
What’s your cancellation policy?
We get it, stuff comes up. We can be flexible, but we do require at least 24 hours notice if you can’t make your appointment. Please reschedule at your earliest convenience. If something comes up within 24 hours of your appointment, please shoot us an email to reschedule.
How will my appointment work if I have “coworkers” (aka kids, pups, etc.) at home with me?
Two options here. One is to schedule your appointment for when you can hand off the kids. And yes, we know that’s not always possible (and if you do manage to get creative with this, we’d love to hear about it).
The second option is to have them join in. We love kids. In fact, we have “co-workers” 😉 of our own!
Do I have to live in Vancouver to book an appointment?
Heck, no. But you do have to live either in BC or Ontario. Sara Ward, Lisa Matsuzaki and Karolina Kluska are all registered to practice in BC. Tara Akuna holds dual licences, in BC and Ontario, and she’s seeing her current patients.