Things to know before you come in......


My Amherst home office is not handicapped-accessible.  Sorry, but there are stone steps leading to the entrance

To determine if your insurance covers acupuncture, and to pre-register your insurance information before your initial visit, please click the 'Verify Your Insurance' button on the bottom of the page.  You will be asked to enter your insurance policy information - have your card ready.  Verification can take several days.  You will be notified regarding your coverage via phone or e-mail.  


Costs:  First appointment (intake + treatment, generally 75-90 minutes): $88.00.  Follow-up appointments (45-60 minutes): $68.00.  Cash, check or charge accepted, with a $3.00 discount for payments with cash or check.  If your health plan offers a "discount" for acupuncture, a reduced payment is still necessary. 


Medicare/Medicaid does not cover acupuncture in Massachusetts.  I cannot accept Mass Health or Commonwealth Care.  I can no longer accept Workers Compensation due to low rates of reimbursement and the high volume of paperwork necessitated by most WC insurers.


You do not need a doctor's referral for acupuncture, but physician referral and/or prior authorization may be required by your insurance carrier for coverage. 

Please bring any diagnostic imaging reports (films & discs not necessary), lab work, and a list of prescription medications and OTC supplements (vitamins, herbs, etc.) that you may be taking to your first appointment.


Few drugs or procedures interfere with acupuncture, and vice-versa. Acupuncture can be useful in reducing the dose and/or number of medications a patient is taking, but reducing medicines can be a complex issue requiring careful monitoring and should include input from the prescribing M.D.s.

Most patients find acupuncture is pleasantly relaxing. It is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during treatment.  After the treatment, this state of relaxation will not impede normal activities (eg.: driving).


There is no need to plan your day around your appointment, but you should avoid being very hungry or very full when arriving.  Also, to get the most from your treatment, it is preferable to avoid extremely strenuous activity immediately before or after treatment.

Treatments take about 30 - 60 minutes. (For the intake on the first appointment, add 20 - 30 minutes). Effects sometimes take a few hours or days to fully develop.

Acupuncture usually involves a course of treatments (3 - 15 treatments, depending on condition). If acupuncture is warranted, I usually suggest a trial of 4-6 treatments, with a re-evaluation before continuing. It can take a few treatments for effects to be noticeable. If a patient is still not responding after 5 or 6 treatments, the likelihood that acupuncture will be effective starts declining.

If too much time elapses between treatments (more than 10-14 days), sustained progress can be difficult.
  It is more clinically effective to be treated 1-2 times per week, at least initially.


Changes in life style, work habits, etc. may also help or be necessary to restore and maintain health. 
Very few ailments warrant "open-ended" treatment. In most cases once a favorable result or plateau is reached in treatment, there will be little regression for months to years. In cases where there are structural issues (e.g.: bony deformities, etc.) acupuncture often affords relief, though if the cause of the pain is structural and the problem remains uncorrected or unhealed, it usually means the symptoms will return eventually, at which point more treatment may be needed.





John S. Varner, L.Ac.

Phone 413-256-1904



54 Jeffrey Lane
Amherst, MA, 01002



M-F 8-5:00