More evidence — affordable acupuncture matters

I asked a patient if she had anything she wanted to share on the CAN blog — here’s what she wrote.

Fifteen years ago at the age of 52 years,
I was told that my kidney function would not sustain me for another five years.
I had been studying to be a nurse practitioner in Oregon at the time of
this diagnosis. The cause of my renal insufficiency was a drug I was given in my
thirties for depression when my first marriage dissolved and I was raising our
two children alone. The drug was a heavy metal,

For the past fifteen years I have been
doing acupuncture and taking Chinese herbs. I learned all I could about
integrative therapies and became a healing coach

( . Usually the
acupuncture treatments were received monthly until this year when I found Diana
Di Gioia a the Community Acupuncture clinic in West Dennis, MA

I now am able to afford to get acupuncture
weekly and my nephrologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has been impressed
by my ability to keep my kidney function stable. I am still considered at stage
four, one step away from the dreaded “end-stage”. My husband and I have been
worked up for a kidney transplant. He is a preliminary match. At this time we
have been told we do not have to go on the waiting list for a transplant because
I am doing so well.

I am able to continue with my practice and
am writing a book about healing. (  I am
optimistic about getting my book published and living to see my six
grandchildren grow. My life is full and joyful.

Rather than sit in a recliner for dialysis
and take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of my life, I sit in a recliner
weekly and receive acupuncture.

With great gratitude and

Carla Priest R.N.,

Author: Diana

<p> I had just hit 10 years in practice when I stumbled on the Working Class Acupuncture model in 1995, via Lisa and Skip's "Little red book of working class acupuncture". After reading this 3 times in the first two weeks, I was ready to jump, and two months later I was offering Community Acupuncture part time in my <a target="_blank" href="">Cape Cod, Massachusetts clinic</a>. </p> <p> While my boutiqe style practice had always been enough to pay the bills, I was forever needing to recruit new clients, and the ones I had often ignored my recommendations for a treatment plan, mosty due to cost. This made me feel frustrated and not very effective. The opportunity to transform my practice in ways that better support me, my community, and my values has been life changing for me. While it's all still a work in progress, there's no question that this is what I want to be doing, and helping others to do as well. </p>

Related Articles

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. thank you for sharing this, Carla and Diana

    One of my patients has severe idiopathic kidney disease — she was told in 2004 that she would probably be on dialysis in 2 years. She gets treated every week and has credited the acupuncture with being able to stay off dialysis. Her kidney function stayed steady at about 10% for five years. Just recently it has slipped below 8% so she will probably start dialysis soon — but her doctor tells her all the time that she can’t figure out how she could hold out so long, or why she seems to feel so good with such low function. I’ll tell her your story.



    “You know how people always say there’s a reasonable explanation for things like this? Well, there isn’t.” Daniel Pinkwater, The Neddiad

  2. Carla, thank you!

    I have a patient who got renal damage from chemotherapy for breast cancer 7 yrs ago.  She has gotten acu regularly (formerly monthly now every two weeks) for 4 yrs.  She told me her creatinine has gone down 0.1 point per year in the last 4 years and the only thing she is doing differently is the acupuncture.  🙂

     I’m so glad you are doing so well.  As an RN, I know all the misery you are avoiding by avoiding hemodialysis and transplant.