CA Clinics: Beautiful, Special and Unconventional

What qualities do community acupuncture clinics share? CA clinics make acupuncture affordable and accessible by offering acupuncture in community settings with sliding scales of $15-40.  What is important to recognize is that community acupuncture is NOT a chain of practices and practitioners who all do the same exact thing. It’s not exactly the same old reliable menu of options, environment and service at each and every establishment. The only consistent thing found among them is the structure with low-cost, group-oriented treatments.

What does this mean? This means there’s DIVERSITY in community acupuncture! The idea of diversity in this case initially instigated several feelings in me: excitement and relief in the possibility for autonomy and creativity (I can do this however I want to do it! I can put my clinic wherever I want to put it! I can make it look however I want it to look, feel how I want it to feel, and practice in whatever way I feel drawn to, ways which I believe would best serve my patients), alongside the feelings of fear and insecurity (Isn’t there a RIGHT way to do this? A BEST way to practice, set up the clinic, structure patient flow, make patients feel at home, offer “customer service,” ensure that everyone gets the best possible treatment? What if I’m WRONG in my approach(es)? What if people don’t like the way I practice?).

I’ve been inspired by other CAPs that I’ve visited, and by all the lovely photos I’ve seen on the web. If you haven’t checked these out yet, I highly recommend you take a peek at these:
Community Acupuncture Clinic Photos

Seriously, how could I NOT be awestruck when I see these pics?!

At times when I see the beauty in other clinics and hear about their caring ways with their patients, I can’t help but gush and gawk over them, and even become a little jealous at times. The truth of the matter is that we all have special spaces that people love; clinics that our patients come to as a calm oasis and respite from busy life; that people have meaningful and transformative healing experiences in as they quietly snooze among others. It doesn’t matter if the space is enormous or tiny, the chairs are recycled lazy-boys or new zero gravity chairs, if there are blankets or sheets or heat lamps, if there are massage tables or not, etc. What matters is that we all offer good care and affordable pricing, and what is even more special is that we all have unique spaces, unique personalities and unique needling styles, among other traits, which means that community acupuncture can appeal to the masses. The fact that there is diversity is even better when there are several clinics clustered around a common geographical area, since this means that we can help out patients by making appropriate referrals. I’ve been grateful that I could count on other clinics to refer to when they’re located closer to where a patient lives or have hours that would suit them better than mine; I’ve been happy to take in new patients who saw another community acupuncturist first but would benefit from something that I offered that they didn’t (i.e. herbs). It’s great being able to have colleagues in this movement whom I consider to be friends and feel very fond about even if I have never met them! I feel excited when I can tell a patient whose mother lives in Minneapolis and wants a referral that she can choose from 4 different community clinics out there! None of those clinics are going to be exactly like mine and none of those practitioners will be like me and that doesn’t matter at all; I know they’ll get the affordability and community care that we all know and love and regard as community acupuncture.

Author: Justine_Myers

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

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  1. I’m fortunate that my city

    I’m fortunate that my city has 3 clinics, I’m happy to refer someone to a closer or better suited clinic.  I’m free of that feeling of “market saturation” that higher fee practitioners live with.  I can refer because we are all in this together, there will always be more than enough patients to go around.  That is a good feeling, I highly recommend it.

  2. I love it!

    Hey Justine, I love this post.  I love how you fess up to various insecurities – we all face them, sometimes the same ones, sometimes different ones.  And I love knowing that – despite surface differences of the aesthetic and organizational varitey – I can refer patients to other clinics that have the same *essential* values (and fee structure).  I refer folks to the other Detroit Metro area clinics often, but I know there are LOTS of other Michiganders who would go for affordable, low-fuss acupuncture; there’s no one I can send my sister to in Kalamazoo, no one in Traverse City or Grand Rapids, no one even in Ann Arbor.  And my cousin in Atlanta REALLY wants to try it.  Go south, young punks!  Go to the middle!  Go forth and multiply our numbers, please!!! 

  3. re

    As an impatient student, your post is very refreshing! Looking forward to the creativity of the real world, after almost three years of trying to blacken the right scantron bubbles, and convince teachers that I’ve gone through the right process of zang-fu diagnosis via endless interviewing.

    Actually there are more than 4 community clinic options around Minneapolis. Seems to be vibrant here. Would love to see community clinics along the redline stops (well other subway lines too of course!) in Boston rather than um The Gap. Maybe some of those stores have closed anyway since I lived in Boston. I think the diversity and creativity make it fascinating and inspiring to visit different clinic locations. Maybe I’ll even make it out to Boston 😀