community connections

The world
of community acu has been buzzing here at WCA lately, to put it mildly. The
second clinic location just opened and our new book, acupuncture is like
noodles, dropped just days before the clinic opening. On top of those big events,
May 1st was a high energy success with free acu offered at both
clinics. Yep, I have been feeling the hum of CA from all sides these days. To
illustrate this feeling from my point of view, here are a few of the
connections I have experienced recently:

I don’t
typically work Fridays, but I chip in a bit on May day even if I’m not on the
books, so I put myself down for 2 hours mid-day. This year I treated a physical
therapist referred from her friend and co-worker P.T., which is one of my
regulars. This PT came with her daughter in tow, which didn’t match our
available slots in the schedule, but it worked out easily, and was fun sharing
CA with a family. I love doing that!

At the end
of my short May day shift I went skateboarding. After blasting around the skate
park for and hour, I saw a familiar face—it was a patient of mine that I
treat to maintain his joint tensions from, you guessed it, skateboarding. This
guy, much like myself, loves to skateboard. He skateboards for the joy of it
and to deal with stress in his life. He uses acupuncture for these same reasons.
As we parted that day, he reminded me that he would see me at the clinic on

I went to a
local theater production yesterday on a tip from a WCA patient that I see on
occasion (who offered me a free ticket at the door). As I found my seat I was
soon greeted by a regular patient of mine with friend in tow, and we laughed
through the comedy production together. By the end of the show the patient sitting
next to me reminded me that she would see me at the clinic soon. The patient
that gave me the free ticket to the performance also happened to co-write and produce
the show. At the end of the show he made announcements about current projects by
his theater group for the listening audience. After he mentioned the
performance items, he spontaneously plugged acupuncture, and specifically WCA. He
shared briefly how acu helps him continuously over the long term to cope with
the stresses of performance life. He then suggested that everyone check out WCA
if interested in acupuncture.

acupuncture sure seems to have a great side benefit of creating a sustainable
and comforting larger community of support around those that participate in it.
Good stuff!

Moses Cooper
Author: Moses Cooper

hello POCA family, I found community acupuncture in the early days of Working Class Acupuncture. I was lucky enough to be the first trial employee at WCA in 2005 after Lisa and Skip survived a string of uncomfortable independent contractor acupuncturists. I remember showing up during a clinic expansion painting moment and grabbing a brush. I was feeling grateful to be working with folks that were so obviously helping people of all kinds afford pokes. That was a very attractive bottom line at the time, and still is! I consider my family roots working poor where I come from, so I was both familiar with and willing to 'walk through the fire' to figure out how to punk. I was a well-meaning, yet slow and mentally mired punk in the early days. I made all the communication mistakes you can make as a newbie poker... It took all of my energy to develop a punk mindset and clinic awareness. I often felt like I was on trial both from my employers and my patients as I figured out the basics of being a real punk. Having solid boundaries instead of being over-comforting; connecting with subtle body language as much as...

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  1. CA culture

    has become one of the subtle rewards that I appreciate about my job as a
    community acupunk. I am an introvert by nature and only reach out to people around
    me as I feel grounded in my ability to share something of value with those
    people. Value for value I guess. Now that I am very clear about what I have to
    offer those around me, namely access to affordable stress and pain management
    through acupuncture, I share more easily with the community around me.


    Raised in a
    rural area, where I knew all of my close neighbors darn well and many of my not
    so close neighbors fairly well, I experienced much of my life from a ‘country
    mouse’ perspective. Going from a culture of rural living to a culture of city
    living (acu school in the city) was a jarring shift in the comfort I felt in
    socializing in general. This experience led me to contract inward and act more
    carefully in my relationships with people around me, more than I ever had done
    in my life. It felt like an internal safety switch was turned on to for
    protection, to keep my outer world manageable.


    The basic feeling
    I noticed while growing up around people that I knew fairly well, whether we
    got along well or not, was something like an invisible safety net. People
    around me were always willing to help if need be, even if that help only meant
    allowing me to walk on their property to take a short cut home or to a friend’s


    I forgot
    how much I missed that feeling of support, that invisible safety, until
    sometime in the past year or so as organic connections with patients outside of
    the clinic became more common.


    connections I am making with my community of patients in acupuncture practice remind
    me of the sense of belonging to a larger community that I experienced growing
    up in rural Canada.
    There is a feeling I get as I share regular life experiences with patients here
    and there of mutual respect and mutual trust. That feeling of trust takes time
    to develop, and is only there because we participate in each other’s lives on a
    regular basis. Consistent actions speak very loudly and reveal whether we feel
    ok trusting someone or not.


    As Larry
    commented above, this community acupuncture movement has the potential to
    become a genuine community of mutual support between practitioners and
    patients. We CANers are discussing/ sharing an opportunity to participate in a
    community based business culture. This is a culture where the recognition of
    what our patient’s value helps us structure our businesses to meet those needs
    for mutual benefit. Not a quick fix, but given time, and genuine intentions, it
    seems to work pretty well. A little bit like rural communities that take care
    of their own. We are changing the game and I think for the better!

  2. thanks Moses–

    –I really relate to a lot of what you say here – not the “country mouse” stuff so much as how this style of practice is transforming my usual introverted, passive, indirect way of dealing with people and life; it has really helped me grow up in a lot of ways (still quite a ways to go).  Lovely stuff as always.

  3. Thanks again Moses for the

    Thanks again Moses for the thoughtful post. I was very encouraged by all of the healthy real-lationships I saw sparkle this week when TCA peeps shared and expressed their delight/wonder/happiness with LG as he was able to show and share his joy of being a new Dad with everyone, instead of it being a “big secret sterile us vs. them you can’t know anything about me” situation,  it just felt really good to see these moments shared between humans who care for one another in community.  Not awkward, not inappropriate, not unusual.  Refreshing change from the fears instilled in school about keeping all personal life details shrouded in mystery.

  4. Congrats on the new little

    Congrats on the new little one Larry! Glad to read that you folks are open to participating in your community of patients

    Funny how sharing information with the patients around us naturally, in everyday situations, can be thought of as normal sharing or as “unprofessional” depending on the point of view of the observer. I find that the more I stay open to sharing with my community of patients in everyday situations, the more I enjoy my acupuncture practice.