We got into acupuncture and Oriental medicine because we felt conventional health care had some problems. After awhile we started to feel that conventional, boutique acupuncture also had some problems. So we got attracted to this community acupuncture idea, because it doesn’t exist with the mindset that there is this unending cash reserve that can fund every health care option under the sun.
In practice what this means is that we have three goals: to provide affordable, accessible acupuncture; to create living wage jobs; and to break even.
Affordable acupuncture and living wage jobs are the social dividends – things that benefit society – that we generate; we don’t generate financial dividends, or profits. What we love about this arrangement is that we owe our existence entirely to you, our patients. We don’t spend time or energy convincing wealthy donors or government bureaucrats that acupuncture is important to working class patients; we don’t have to beg; we don’t have to prove that we are “serving the needy”; we don’t have to make our clinics complicated in the way that nonprofits are often complicated. Thousands and thousands of lovely people with modest incomes like to get acupuncture, and so we have jobs; end of story.
People often think of acupuncture as being effective for complex, difficult, or uncommon problems that Western medicine has limited success with. Unfortunately, this contributes to the perception of acupuncture as a medicine of last resort, or that acupuncture is somehow miraculous in its effects.
Acupuncture is in fact fairly straight forward, and well suited for all manner of ordinary problems. The reason that acupuncture is sometimes effective for complex and unusual conditions is not because acupuncture itself is complex and unusual, but because acupuncture is basically somewhat effective for most things.
And notably, it is helpful in some important general ways that can benefit just about everyone. Acupuncture has an overall effect of reducing stress and boosting normal function, so things like sleep, digestion, energy level, and mental clarity all tend to improve.
You also don’t have to have a specific problem, per se, to get acupuncture. It’s good preventative care, and it just feels good. Most people fall asleep when they get acupuncture and awaken rejuvenated and refreshed.
Here are some articles, written by Lisa Rohleder, that outline the basic thinking behind the community acupuncture model
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