A new movement makes acupuncture more accessible and effective.
by Vanessa Barrington on February 28, 2012
One afternoon a week I step into a dimly lit, nondescript storefront off of bustling 24th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, where, in short order, I will install myself in a recliner and nod off into a blissful state of unawareness. An endless loop of chanting monks plays over the sound system, and I’m surrounded by prone figures, lying motionless and silent. No, it’s not an opium den; it’s my neighborhood community acupuncture clinic.
Community acupuncture is a practice that is growing in popularity around the country, as it allows a practitioner to see multiple patients simultaneously in a large common room at a much lower cost. Most community acupuncture clinics charge patients on a sliding scale (usually ranging from $15-$40).
“Acupuncture is beneficial for so many everyday health issues but it must be given regularly for its full benefits to be reaped, said Ninah Hofmann, owner and acupuncturist at CA Works.
“Community acupuncture’s sliding scale makes regular treatment affordable to a large segment of the community,” Hofmann says.
Speaking from personal experience, I have successfully treated severe seasonal allergies, and occasional back pain with once a week treatments – something I could never afford to do if I were paying the usual cost of private acupuncture. In addition to a lessening of allergy symptoms and pain, I’ve noticed an overall increase in emotional well-being as a result of regular treatments.
Brenda Klein, a fellow client at CA Works told me, “I’m a walking testimony for regular acupuncture. It has had a profound affect on me. I’m a markedly different person and no longer suffer from the anxiety and stress I once did.”
I spoke to Courtney, another regular client at my clinic, who is using acupuncture to treat sickness from chemotherapy.
“I got sick the first week of chemo, but since then I’ve been coming to acupuncture from one to three times a week and it’s keeping me from being sick,” she said, adding, “No worries about this being a community clinic vs. a private room. Everybody goes in and focuses on themselves. It doesn’t matter who else is in the room, the neutrality of the space is great.
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