Acupuncture has been shown to help with a number of health issues, including headaches and back pain, but you may not feel so great about the cost. A single session can run upwards of $100 in big cities, it may take several visits to notice effects and the treatment isn't typically covered by insurance. But if you're willing to give up a little privacy, you can slash the price. Many centers, like Brooklyn's Slope Wellness
and Seattle's Green Point Acupuncture
, now offer group appointments, at which a few people are treated simultaneously (and discreetly) by a single practitioner at a lower rate. You'll likely be in a room with at least two other patients, with everyone on a separate table or reclining chair. There may be curtains or folding screens between you to create some personal space, and there's often a white-noise machine to drown out sounds. Though appointments tend to be staggered, you might have to wait your turn; the acupuncturist has only two hands, and another patron may need her needles taken out before yours can be inserted. The payoff? Prices can range from $15 to $55, depending on location (to find a clinic in your area, try the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture at POCACoop.com
, or ask for recommendations at a local school of Chinese or alternative medicine). And affordability may not be the only benefit: "You have multiple people in a room with one common goal—to heal—and the feeling of deep relaxation from the treatment may be amplified by that sense of communion," says Marielle Ceresa, an acupuncturist at Slope Wellness. Complex conditions may not be suited to the community model (talk to your practitioner about your concerns before booking). Otherwise, why not take a stab at it?