Community Acupuncture practice bonus #108

I’m taking a vacation with my family. We’re going to India for a month – and not a moment too soon with a blast of Arctic air and Seattle’s famous liquid sunshine pelting the windows as I type. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a month off, and I’ve never taken that length of time without suspending all income streams for the duration.

So that’s bonus #108 – it is possible to do this in a community acupuncture clinic that is set up as a partnership. Our roles as acupunks in a CA clinic have variously been described as orchestra conductors, and skilled pin setters (i.e. old fashioned bowling lanes). So the essence of CA in these analogies is the music, and the game. The practitioners are somewhat incidental, at least in comparison to the “boutique acupuncture” (BA) model.

I remember once taking a few weeks off in my private practice and did not have anywhere near the peace of mind that I do now, knowing there is another person integral to the practice, who will pick up the slack. Thank you Serena! Not that the issues are unavoidable in a BA clinic  – interruption of care and decline of clinical results, loss of income, loss of patients – nonetheless it seems greatly simplified when the practice is centered, not on an individual, but a philosophy of care.  This has been my experience.

CommuniChi is a two person partnership. Learning how to be a successful team in a partnership is a journey…particularly for acupunks used to the lone ranger (sole practitioner) way of doing things. Maybe I’ve learned a little to loosen my ego, but it’s definitely a process. (For those who are familiar with my regular byline – it’s mainly a reminder directed at myself).

Learning to communicate in a skillful and compassionate manner is a challenge even amongst life partners. Certainly it is no less a task amongst business partners. Stuff comes up. Personalities eventually rub. It’s a fact of life in the sea of samsara. But if we can focus on the positives, and use the rest as compost to nourish the fruit and flowers of our emotional, and spiritual development, then it’s a win-win all around. The important thing is to help people…which is calling me away right now in fact.

And by the way, while in India, I plan to volunteer two days of my time working with Dr. Namgyal Qusar near Dharamsala in the foothills of the Himalayas, giving acupuncture to Tibetan refugees, and Indian citizens. Perhaps someday in the future, there will be a community acupuncture clinic there. Little seeds can grow big and wonderful things.

All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.

river Jordan
Author: river Jordan

After graduating from the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in 1997, I had a hobby practice for a few years before moving to Northern India to study Buddhism. During this time, I volunteered in a local clinic, giving acupuncture to Tibetan refugees and Indian nationals. <p> Returning to the U.S. in 2002, I started a typical insurance based acupuncture practice catering to the upper middle class. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, I volunteered with <a href="" target="_blank">Acupuncturists Without Borders</a>, using community style acupuncture to treat trauma victims in a natural disaster setting. </p> Inspired by the power and efficacy of acupuncture in a post-disaster setting, I began to contemplate issues of socioeconomic class. What could be done to make acupuncture accessible to everyone and still provider a livable wage for an acupuncturist? After attending WCA's first conference in October of 2006, I had found the answer to that question. In January 2007, together with my partner Serena Sundaram, we founded <a href="" target="_blank">Communichi</a>, Seattle's first dedicated community acupuncture clinic. <p> As a Buddhist, I believe that healing begins in the mind. As the positive qualities of wisdom and compassion are cultivated in the mind of a practitioner, this...

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  1. synchronicity

    Jordan, you stole my posting! as i sit at home for the 4th day with a particularly stubborn cold / flu moving through my body, my fantastic business partner has been subbing for me most of the week. and cheerfully (as far as i can tell). i even had to miss our clinic’s winter holiday party 2 days ago, which was a rousing success with lots of patients and friends attending. several of our volunteers showed up and pitched in. my sweetie
    shuttled folding tables and various other supplies back and
    forth and “represented” me at the gathering. he came home with a long list of names of folks who came up to him at the party specifically to send a “get-well” message to me. what can i say, having a biz partner rocks! and our communities are precious treasures of love and support. 

    have a wonderful break and a great time in India – i love Dharamsala! (i spent a great month there back in 1998)



  2. safe travels, Jordan!

    Looking forward to hear your reflections when you get back.  Kudos and smooth sailing to Serena, too, as she holds down the fort (sorry for the mixed metaphorage).  Yay for partnerships!