COVID-19 Adjustments to practice

To all of the patients of Nanaimo Acupuncture,

As we enter Phase 2 of BCs plan to re-open clinics and businesses, the safety of everyone in our care (and the people that you come into contact with) are of the greatest importance. I'm hoping that I can maintain a safe and comfortable space while still maintaining the highest standards of infection control. The practice of universal precautions informs every aspect of my clinical practice as I provide trauma informed care and of course for infection control.

This clinic operating on the best suggestions from the province of BC as well as our governing college and association.
Here's what the Ministry suggests for all personal interaction, including clinics and other businesses:

  • Operate at 60% pre-COVID levels of capacity.
  • Practicing good hygiene (hand hygiene, avoid touching face, respiratory etiquette, disinfect frequently touched surfaces).
  • Staying at home and away from others if feeling ill – not going to school/work.
  • Maintaining physical distancing outside the household (e.g. no hand shaking or hugging, small numbers of contacts and keeping a safe distance).
  • Making necessary contact safer with appropriate controls (e.g. plexiglass barriers, room design).
  • Increasing environmental cleaning at home and work.
  • Considering the use of non-medical masks in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained (e.g. on transit, shopping).
  • Reducing personal non-essential travel.

Ultimately it's important for me to let everyone know exactly what the clinic will be doing and let everyone decide whether or not they're comfortable with that. It's essentially your decision

So what am I doing to promote safety at the clinic?

The plan here is to be sensible, not scared:

  • Tape on the floor, if you've been shopping for groceries you'll know what to do, If not just read the signs. Personal space is the most effectivething we can do to prevent possible spread of infection.
  • Appointments are being spaced out to prevent traffic jams.
  • Drop in appointments which had been acceptable in the past, are discouraged.
  • The group treatment room is still available, just for much smaller groups, two at time is the most I can do for now.
  • All surfaces are cleaned after patient contact with a hydrogen peroxide solution as well as at the start of each shift.
  • Laundry, lots of it
  • Gloves, masks and face shield depending on type of treatment being provided.

Policies & procedures for patients of the clinic

Please note that these are subject to change at any notice

  • If you have a fever, cough or any symptoms of COVID-19 please stay home and quarantine for 14 days. Do not leave home, let alone come to the clinic.
  • Please show up for your appointment on time. We are doing our best to limit overlap of patients coming and going as well as leaving extra time for disinfection procedure between treatments.
  • Please try to stay 2m away from staff and other clients (including belongings).
  • Please avoid waiting in the waiting room if at all possible.
  • Please come alone, friends and family members should wait in the car instead of coming into the office.
  • Please don't bring extra clothing, bags, panniers, etc with you. Additional belongings are an additional risk.
  • If you're uncomfortable coming directly into the clinic, you can phone me and I will let you know if the space is clear of people.
  • Please try to touch too many things in the office.
  • The water dispenser is unavailable for now, I can't disinfect water.
  • Washing your hands in the washroom is appreciated before you enter the clinic, I also have hand sanitiser available.
  • Masks are controversial but preferrable. Some say that masks and gloves bring potential contamination from previous contacts while others say that it can help prevent transfer of body fluids. Cloth masks are totally acceptable.
  • Try to avoid touching your face

It's become cliché to say that we'll get through this, but we will. As the late, great Terry Pratchett wrote:

“What is normal? Normal is yesterday and last week and last month taken together”

This is our normal, but for now. Soon we'll have a nicer normal because it will include tomorrow and next week and next month.

Thank you so much for your understanding and patience,
Clayton Willoughby
Owner & Acupuncturist
Nanaimo Acupuncture

Important information for new patients

Before your first visit:

Before you even come in we strongly recommend that you complete your account setup and intake forms online. This gives you more time to share your personal health history including remembering any medications and past procedures. The more complete your information is, the better prepared we are to help you.

Additional documents, including X-ray, ultrasound and other imaging reports, can also be scanned and emailed to the office. Or if you don't have a scanner, we can do that for your at the office. It's important to note that acupuncturists do not have the same access to your medical history as physicians and other pratitioners; we have access only to what you supply.

Take some time and read over the website, there's a lot of information on different therapies and conditions we treat. We want you to arrive at the clinic with the right expectations for treatment; we'll do our best to describe the strengths and use of different modalities to help you. If you have any questions about your condition or treatment, please contact us and we will do our best to expain.

If you're uncomfortable writing about everything, or even some specific topics that's okay. We can talk more in person during your appointment if you're more comfortable with that.

If you have extended insurance, please contact them to find details for your coverage.

Your first visit:

You may have noticed that this clinic doesn't charge extra for a first visit, we also don't have appointments that last several hours for prolonged intakes. We have our reasons. Each appointment is around an hour and includes time for treatment, discussing any concenrs or questions you have as well as time to prepare the room for the next client.

While the length of time for an appointment is set, what happens during this time is up to you. Maybe you just want some treatment, or perhaps you need more time to be heard and have someone better understand you. We will talk together about a treatment plan, including possible options and alternatives. There are treatment options which are most appropriate for your condition and options which are more appropriate for you as a person. whether you prefer a more direct approach or something gentler, the choice for treatment is up to you.

Subsequent visits:

You can book future appointments at the front desk or you can choose your treatment from our booking page. Be sure to read and ask about the different treatments before you leave though. Nanaimo Acupuncture provides a comprehensive range of treatment options to treat conditions from arthritis to neurogenic pain.

Cancelling & Rescheduling

There's a mutual understanding when it comes to booking an appointment with any health care practitioner and it involves two people making a commitment to be there. A practitioner prepares time and space to provide a service, we're a small business and value everyone who comes into the office. Quite often, when someone doesn't show up for a booked appointment, there's another person who was unable to come for that time. Keeping your appointment is your responsibility!

We've done a lot of research into the policies at other clinics and have settled on a very generous policy. Where other clinics might charge the full price of a missed appointment, or even an hourly rate for their time, we charge just 50% of the normal missed appointment (minimum $30).

What about a reminder?

If you've filled out your paperwork correctly, you'll have provided the office with an email address and you'll get a message from the office 24 hours before your appointment. If you get the message and realise that you're unable to make your appointment, this is an ideal opportunity to reschedule your appointment either through the email or by calling the office.

What if I need to reschedule?

You can book and reschedule appointments as you need from your account in the booking system. You have up until 24 hours before the appointment to reschedule

TL;DR: if you book and don't show up, you'll be asked to pay for half of the treatment cost ($30 minimum).

Paying for your treatment

The clinic accepts cash, debit, Visa, Mastercard and American Express at time of treatment. We also accept pre-payment for treatment via email transfer and through your account at Jane app.

An important message:
If you plan on paying for all, or a portion of your treatment with extended insurance, please read the next section.

Insurance & Extended Health Coverage

We are able to direct bill to nearly two dozen different insurance providers, but payment is NOT guarantted. Some plans do not allow for direct billing, some do not allow online submissions and others might cover acupuncture, but only by a medical doctor.

Deductables, maximum coverage per treatment, annual coverage and other factors are information that this office does not have access to. This is why we strongly urge you to contact your insurance provider, or HR rep at work to learn about your coverage prior to booking an appointment. If you bring this inormation with you to the office we can attach a note to your file to save this information for future treatment.

Some plans will allow us to bill and have payment come to the clinic while others allow us to bill on your behalf with you being reimbursed at a later date. Please note that you will need to pay the balance of payment that the insurance plan does not cover at the time of your appointment.

If you want us to bill directly on your behalf, we ask that you let the us know at the front desk before we begin your treatment.

TL;DR: if you have an extended health plan, please confirm your coverage before your appointment and bring the details with you.

ICBC & Worksafe


Nanaimo Acupuncture is fully integrated with ICBC and is able to bill on your behalf for treatment

The new ICBC is built around helping you get back to health fast rather than waiting for years and having to deal with lawyers.
After you get injured in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, you and anyone else involved is pre-approved for 12 acupuncture treatments in the 12 weeks after the accident. All you need is a claim number and you're good to go.

The office will handle all of the submissions, including making requests for extensions. However ICBC may ask you for a physician referral for some extension requests.


Nanaimo Acupuncture will deal with WorksafeBC on a case by case basis. Please contact the office directly for more information.

Consent to Treatment

The goal of this office is to provide high quality, effective treatment and we want everyone to be happy with the treatment they receive. Ideally evey acupuncture treatment should leave you as relaxed as a massage.

But everyone is different, what's comfortable for one person might not be for another. We understand that what might be the most appropriate treatment for something like back pain may not be the appropriate treatment for a particular person. We have many treatment options, including referring out to other practitioners, that we can dicuss with you; the more information you have, the more informed your decisions can be.

Proper consent is very important to us at Nanaimo Acupuncture; we want you to feel in control over what's happening with you and your treatment. This is why we have some simple guidelines:

  1. Know what you’re getting into and ask any questions you want, any time.
  2. Figure out what you’re comfortable with, nothing happens without your approval.
  3. Verbalise it, and if at any point during your treatment you feel uncomfortable just let us know.

Every health care treatment is something that should be done with you, not to you.