Community Acupuncture: Bringing accessible healthcare to us all!
“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.”
~S. Kelley Harrell
When you walk into the treatment room at Stillpoint Community Acupuncture, you will see people sleeping in recliners under blankets with their heads and feet exposed. Looking around the room you will experience a sense of comfort and tranquility. We like to call this experience “Aculand”.
There are many wonderful aspects of the Community Acupuncture model that expand upon our current medical model:
The community setting provides a space for people to come together in healing. If you have received community acupuncture before, you know that it is very common to drift off among strangers and neighbours for an hour or two. This is similar to how acupuncture is practiced in Asia, with multiple patients being treated every hour with very little discussion. Many Community Acupuncture practitioners understand there is a collective energy field that is generated when several people receive treatment simultaneously. It is this collective energy that enhances individual treatments, yet allows us to heal together.
When we heal together, it interrupts the isolation that is so common with illness, depression, and chronic pain. This may be a silent experience, but it is a profound model of nonverbal community building, and collective healing.
Connecting with Oneself
By providing a time and space to be with ourselves, Community Acupuncture empowers us to have a relationship with our well-being. This can be as valuable as receiving treatment itself. Our modern lifestyles offer nearly endless sources of distraction and this constant input can have unfavorable impacts on our well-being. Having a space to unplug, reconnect, and ground is necessary. The Community Acupuncture model also focuses on engaging the patient and inviting collaboration within the healing process. At Stillpoint, we encourage you to stay as long as you need. This is a new thing for most folks, but we believe that your body knows what it needs and we give space for that conversation to develop in the time that you need.
The model of Community Acupuncture empowers the community to challenge the idea of value being attached to price. To receive an acupuncture treatment in Canada, most practitioners charge anywhere from $65 to $175 an hour. These rates make it inaccessible for most people to receive acupuncture. However, the growing number of Community Acupuncture clinics are working to shift this reality by offering treatments on a sliding scale where patients decide for themselves what they can realistically afford and how they choose to value the care they receive. This is a subjective conversation that includes financial means, frequency of care needed, and personal choice.
At Stillpoint Community Acupuncture we are open 7 days a week and currently employ four acupuncturists, treating hundreds of people every week. We have a sliding scale of $25 to $50 and we ask our patients to “pay what you can”, no questions asked. We believe that acupuncture need not be expensive to those with limited means. Acupuncture provided with this kind of structure breaks down class barriers allowing people to come together in healing, regardless of financial status. It also challenges the idea that health is something that you consume privately, if you can afford it.
Be the change
The Community Acupuncture model reflects our belief that health is something we share with our community, that we need the space and time to cultivate a relationship with our health, and that this opportunity is a right that needs to be accessible to everyone, despite any form of marginalization one may be affected by.
Haven’t tried acupuncture before, know someone who needs care, or haven’t been in for treatment for a while? Bring your friend, family, co-worker, partner in crime, or anyone else you think could benefit from acupuncture! While supporting a model that is working to create positive social change, you are actively contributing to this movement and allowing others to have access to effective and affordable health care.
When people get acupuncture for the first time, they will often admit to being nervous about the needles. Which isn’t surprising, they’re probably imagining a hypodermic or a sewing needle, when in actual fact, an acupuncture needle is about the thickness of a cat whisker. It’s extremely flexible and when you look at one up close and maybe even flick it with your finger, its harmless nature is revealed.
Harmless but not powerless. Those little needles, placed just so, all working together can accomplish amazing things. They can ease pain, calm an anxious mind, increase circulation, decrease inflammation, stimulate a sluggish bowel or slow an overactive one, and on and on the list goes.
I’m hesitant to compare acupuncture and sewing for fear of fanning the flames of needle fear, but they have some beautiful similarities. A row of tiny stitches can heal the hole in the toe of your favourite sock and make it stronger just as a few acupuncture needles correctly placed can mend your body’s pain. In both, something tiny and precise can be used to strengthen a weak portion of the whole.
Similes are fun! Here is another one: acupuncture is like DJ’ing. Huh? Well, both use needles to create cohesion. A DJ will use the turntable needle to line up the next song and create a seamless transition (hopefully), melding the two together. Similarly, an acupuncturist uses their needles to establish consistency; regular acupuncture treatments over time can nudge the body into a new, more balanced pattern, one that is free of pain. Like two perfectly synced songs, pain dissolves into pain-free, almost without the patient even noticing.
And why would they notice? Acupuncture needles are silicone coated for patient comfort and are extremely delicate. Did you know that you can fit forty of these little guys inside the opening of a hypodermic needle? Forty! So that gives you some perspective on whether or not to be nervous about acupuncture.
Our advice: don’t fear the needle. And if you still do, even after reading this post, just sing that phrase to yourself a few times. Here is some back-up musical inspiration to help out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUO_5EALZoM
Here is a quick run down of some of the syndromes and disorders acupuncture can benefit. Acupuncture is commonly known to treat pain and injury of all types: back injury, tennis elbow, migraines, sports injuries, knee pain and the like. However, acupuncture does more than just relieve pain. Acupuncture has been shown to also treat anxiety, women’s issues, weight loss/obesity, infertility and conception, as well as insomnia and digestive disorders. Even after listing all these disorders above, we still have only touched the tip of what acupuncture can be good for.Because acupuncture works on the somato-energetic level predominantly, it is safe and side-effects free. Acupuncture performed by a trained professional is also almost completely painless, though at times mildly uncomfortable.
As the ancient Chinese did not, as a rule, have a problem with obesity, acupuncture does not have any set method for treating weight control. However, as there is a large psychological element to weight control (cravings, etc.), acupuncture is often found to be very helpful with weight management. Acupuncture has been shown to relieve cravings, both for food and substances. Acupuncture is also a great stress reducer, as it stimulates the release of the body’s natural pain management chemicals, dopamine and seratonin. Although there is never a replacement for willpower, acupuncture can help the dedicated person manage their weight.
Acupuncture can also treat eye disorders, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), nearsightedness, and cataracts. Toothache and other forms of dental pain can be significantly reduced through acupuncture as well. Other facial disorders such as Bell’s palsy and facial paralysis can, if treated quickly after onset, be well treated by acupuncture. Studies have shown that getting acupuncture soon after a stroke can increase the rate and degree of recovery.
Acupuncture treats the whole person (not just the symptoms they are experiencing) on a physical, mental and emotional level. This means that treatment of physical problems also affects the way you feel about yourself. Therefore, emotional disturbances such as anxiety, depression and mania may benefit from acupuncture.
Whatever your symptoms or disorder, it pays to educate yourself about different forms of effective therapy. Studies have shown that educated patients often have a greater degree of recovery and a better outlook overall.
I have terrible allergies and environmental sensitivities. I have heard that acupuncture can help with this, and wonder if anyone has had any success in this area? I would to love to hear someone’s personal experience with it. Thanks!
Using acupuncture before and during surgery significantly reduces the level of pain and the amount of potent painkillers needed by patients after the surgery is over, according to Duke University Medical Center anesthesiologists who combined data from 15 small randomized acupuncture clinical trials.
I’m considering getting acupuncture done for PMS and stress issues- how many sessions will be required for something like that?
Migraines are a debilitating form of headache, as any sufferer will tell you. Acupuncture can greatly reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, with no side effects.
This is a great little introduction to acupuncture from the point of view of someone who had acupuncture during her pregnancy, along with a medical doctor’s comments about efficacy of acupuncture for a variety of ailments, including pain and pain management.
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