Goodwill Drive Post #3: True Beauty

A week or so ago, WCA superpunk Michelle C. shared this blog post with one of her patients. Here is that person's response to the question, what is the meaningfulness of affordable acupuncture?

“”First of all, God's blessings on the person who is not himself, or someone they love, in continued financial hardship.  As a person on permanent social security disability, I find that the biggest impact of having low funds is that in every direction, it limits your options.  Community Acupuncture is a treasure.  It is a mighty weapon in my quest to maintain (and now IMPROVE) my health, independence, and ability to care for myself.  Community Acupuncture will also PREVENT many future health complications.

In the past, without affordable acupuncture, intervention and care of my symptoms has cost the government many thousands of dollars with each episode.  My cognition and motor skills were often severely impaired.  Now, with Community Acupuncture, I am instead well enough to give some aid to my neighbors and friends.  Community Acupuncture sends me clear messages that I am valuable just because I am a person, that I am not trash to be discarded, and that someone cares that I am in pain.  People truly wish me well.

Life is often difficult.  Sometimes bad things happen and your resources are limited.  Community Acupuncture means that there is still hope, that life can improve, that one's days can at the least be more bearable.

My version of the WCA mottos is that “affordable acupuncture can heal the world.”  Freedom from pain and increased abilities allow me to be a better steward of my resources and to make a more positive impact on my world.  I know that my home and neighborhood have more peace and love because my pain has decreased.  Affordable acupuncture does not enable me, it empowers me.  By gifting me with better health I can then go out and do my part to fix the ills around me.  The outward ripples of healing from Community Acupuncture are exponential.  How can this be a bad thing?

Another wonderful component of this business model is that I can offer similar relief and healing to my family, friends, and neighbors,  My mother, who lives on the other side of the country, has found relief with Community Acupuncture.  Due to budget constraints, years earlier she had to give up the acupuncture treatments she was finding helpful.  Now relief is again within her reach.

Quite a few of my friends use Community Acupuncture.  With their treatments, my friends are better caregivers, employees, and parents.  Think about it:  many of your service providers cannot afford traditional Western acupuncture.  Do you really want to depend on, say a taxi driver, who is in pain and cannot afford relief and better functioning?

Somewhere there is the idea that people with limited funds have used bad judgement to get to such a position.  This is only sometimes so.  Regardless, this viewpoint overlooks the reality that situations and people can be redeemed and change.  Life itself is valuable and should be cherished.  The world would be very miserable indeed if there were no second chances.  Every time I visit my Community Acupuncture clinic, I see and hear the punks being heroes to people in need.  In my opinion this is true beauty.”

–A WCA Patient

WCA is going to be spending the month of July collecting more answers like this one. Because our patients knock our socks off with their wisdom, their generosity, and their clarity. If you work in a POCA clinic and you'd like to join us, check out this thread in the forums.

Author: lisafer

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.


  1. From WCA’s inbox. Subject: I love community acupuncture

    “I live on the north shore of Boston and have been a fan of the community acupuncture
    at Coastal Acupuncture for a year and a half. I have had a lot of neck, shoulder
    pain and stiffness, headaches, and sinus pain, especially since menopause. I used
    too travel to New Hampshire to see a chiropractor with limited results. When I
    started with acupuncture I was a bit skeptical, but my daughter, who is an emergency
    physician recommended I try it. Needless to say, the results have been great. My
    neck and shoulders are much better, and headaches and sinus greatly relieved.
    Allergens have been at record high levels in New England this spring, but with
    several treatments, my allergies are under control and breathing is easy. I love
    that community acupuncture is affordable and can be easily reimbursed by my flex
    medical spending plan. I’m so glad I found acupuncture!”

  2. Subject: affordable acupuncture

    Hi. I’d like to share with you what having access to
    affordable acupuncture has done for me. At age 60 and unemployed for four years, I
    found myself living a very small financial existence, unable to afford healthcare,
    but in need of services. From November of 2013 until May of 2014 I suffered a
    progressively worsening back condition. In fact, the only pain relief I could get
    was to lay flat on my back on the floor, which is where I spent most of my days and
    nights. Having qualified for the Oregon Health Plan , I sought my doctor for a
    diagnosis. Degenerative disc disorder. It was recommended I seek physical therapy
    and acupuncture, which sounded good to me except, of course, OHP would not cover the
    cost of either treatment, and $75.00 per session was way beyond my resources.

    Then I heard about Working Class Acupuncture. I could get a treatment for $15.00,
    which I did twice a week. By my 7th acupuncture session I began noticing
    improvements. I was able to make the trip from Troutdale to the Lents Clinic and
    home without the need to pull off the road, roll out of the car and lay prone on the
    sidewalk. I was able to stand and walk for longer periods of time. The Sciatic pain
    had lessened considerably, allowing me to perform some normal tasks. For the first
    time in over half a year I actually had hope of regaining normalcy. I now feel less
    depressed, more productive and so grateful to have a life again off the floor,
    thanks to the affordability of community acupuncture. I just love these guys.

  3. A letter to WCA:

    I was getting acupuncture regularly at Working Class Acupuncture for my painful arthritic knees and other chronic problems. Before I had acupuncture treatments I couldn’t stand or walk for even a few steps without having severe pain. Because I was feeling better I stopped having treatments for several weeks. The result was that my pain returned and made it very difficult for me to walk very far at all. The other health problems became worse also. When I resumed acupuncture treatment everything improved again. The difference in how I felt was amazing. Because my treatments had gradually improved my health I wasn’t aware of just how much of a difference there really was.

    I now get regular treatments at least once a week in order to maintain the improvements. While acupuncture can’t cure everything, regular consistent treatments have definitely improved my quality of life.