Skip to main content


Note: In compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, all acupuncture services at Student Health are cancelled until further notice. To see an acupuncture provider outside of SHS, students with UC SHIP insurance may request a referral from a SHS provider. To obtain a referral, please call any group for an appointment.

Individual Appointments

Registered students can make individual appointments for acupu​ncture by calling ​858-534-3300. Costs vary according to the student's insurance; see the Cost of Services​ page for specific information. Schedule your appointment now – call (858) 534-2918

Group Acupuncture Sessions

Low-cost, one hour sessions (up to 3 students per session) with a licensed acupuncturist, provided exclusively for registered UCSD students. Patients will sit on reclining chairs and receive acupuncture while others are also receiving their treatments. We use sterile, disposable one-time use needles which are about the diameter of a human hair.

You will be asked to remove your shoes and socks, and you should wear pants and shirts that can easily roll up so we have access to hands, arms, elbows, knees, calves, and feet. Since you may get cold or hot, wear socks and layer your clothing. You should arrive for the acupuncture session having eaten or snacked so that you are not overly full but not feeling hungry.  Please be sure to arrive on time for your appointment – remember to bring your student ID. 

  • Cost:  $20.00 - billed to your student account  (No Show Fee:  $20.00 (if not canceled 24 hours prior).
  • Location: Student Health Services, on Library Walk across from Price Center. Go to 2nd Floor Conference Room (Murray's Place) - enter by outer stairway on parking lot side (west) to 2nd floor
  • Dates: check back in Fall quarter
Make your appointment for Group Acupuncture: call (858) 534-2918.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can relieve pain and improve sleep, digestion and emotional well-being

Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique o​f ​Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) documented and publicized acupuncture's safety and efficacy for treating a wide range of conditions. Acupuncture is now covered by many insurance policies and is used most broadly to relieve pain​.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture improves the body's functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites--commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. 

quiet water with sun setting

Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe, and the body, in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called "qi" (pronounced "chee") flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. 

​However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body's natural healing response through various physiological systems. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture's effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body's various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.

What happens during an acupuncture treatment?​

First, your acupuncturist will ask about ​your health history. Then, he or she will examine your tongue's shape, color, and coating, feel your pulse, and possibly perform some additional physical examinations depending on your individual health needs. Using these unique assessment tools, the acupuncturist will be able to recommend a proper treatment plan to address your particular condition​.

male patient with acupuncture needles placed in back

To begin the acupuncture treatment, you lay comfortably on a treatment table while precise acupoints are stimulated on various areas of your body. Most people feel no or minimal discomfort as the fine needles are gently placed. The needles are usually retained between five and 30 minutes. During and after treatments, people report that they feel very relaxed.

How many treatments will I need?

The frequency and number of treatments differ from person to person. Some people experience dramatic relief in the first treatment. For complex or long-standing chronic conditions, one to two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, fewer visits are required, usually eight to ten visits in total. An individualized treatment plan that includes the expected number of treatments will be discussed during your initial visit.

What conditions are commonly treated by acupuncture?​

Hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility.​