Birth of a Clinic: on skullcap, recliner placement, and finding my way around

As our patient base grows and grows, and more and more people are finding their way around the clinic, so am I. I realised this morning that the steady, intense overwhelm of a month ago or so has definitely receded.

This is partially due to skullcap herb. I did some free acupuncture at the (En)Gendering Resistance Conference in Waterloo about a month ago and while I was there I got schooled on some local herbs by an anarcha-herbalist. Big gratitude to her, and to this plant. It is a wonderful ally in times of the body forgetting to switch from sympathetic mode to parasympathetic mode. I’ve been sleeping deeply ever since adding a mug of this bittersweet herb to the bedtime routine. Thank you, EP, and thank you skullcap!

It’s also getting easier because I’m settling in. I think that opening a clinic is kinda like moving into a new home. It is utterly overwhelming and destabilizing, and invariably takes longer than you thought it would to figure out how your body moves in the space. Sometimes it takes a few weeks (or months) to realise obvious things like: “if I moved that table by a few degrees, I wouldn’t have to walk all the way around the room to get to the door”.

This is my official request to any friends/patients/colleagues: if you see me doing something that looks like a lot of extra work for no reason, don't be shy about telling me!

A couple of weeks ago, I belatedly realised that if the northwest corner cluster of chairs are full, and two of them are holding tall people, the tall peoples’ toes almost meet in midair and the third person is blocked in! It all worked out though. Our patients are every bit as generous and easygoing as one expects people to be in a CA setting. (If I could figure out how to insert links, this is the link I'd place cleverly in the preceding sentence: https://www.pocacoop.com/prick-prod-provoke/post/more-about-the-fractal-community-and-digging-deep)

After stewing about it silently for a day, I came up with the (exceptionally obvious) solution of moving one of the recliners to a different angle and…the whole space opened up.

I realise this could easily seem like a fairly minor thing to focus a blog entry upon. But for anyone who has also obsessed about recliner placement and patient comfort and personal ergonomics you’ll appreciate that this was A Big Deal.

A Clinic Milestone, in fact. Because right after that, the online appointment book began filling up at a much faster rate. And yeah that was also because word has been spreading steadily and the online search spiders are landing on our website more and more…but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that once there was literally more room for people here, and it became easier for a punk to move around, we reached some kind of a tipping point.

Shortly after that registered (and after an extremely helpful thread on POCA – I LOVE YOU GUYS – and a great telephone conversation with DC) I decided it’s time to open more shifts at GCA!

Very shortly after POCAfest, Stacey (fresh from her first Dr Tan encounter) will be opening up two new shifts at GCA. As of June 9th, we’ll be open six days a week, and my own acu-napping will begin in earnest. I'll just let you guess at how happy I am about this.

(Much, much more on the adventures of the last few months in my presentation at POCAfest on Friday May 31st. 16 more sleeps!)

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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.

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  1. Moving chairs has been life changing for us! It took me a year of looking at the treatment room to realize that the shoji screens creating privacy along the wall of windows could actually be *picked up* and placed ON the window ledge, thus giving me at least ten square feet more and just enough room to add one more absolutely necessary chair..!!

    Thank you for sharing your process!

  2. super cool. Little things making a big difference!

    I love skullcap, totally bummed that I can’t seem to get it grow in my garden. I found that energetically the body gets used to it, as a tonic. I prefer tulsi & ashwagandha now, and they have been great in the new england garden.

  3. I’ve got a ton of skullcap growing in my garden. I planted it a few years ago and now it’s self-sowing and giving the lemon balm a run for its money. Skullcap helps me change gears; if I’m riding along at 45mph in 3rd gear it can help me either switch to 4th gear or slow down to 35/40mph.

    I’m as excited by skullcap as I am by “wall hugger” recliners. The ones you can put really close to the wall, but that slide out along a track so that they can also fully recline from that position. We have a few of those and sometimes patients move them away from the wall thinking the chair won’t be able to recline from its current position. That’s when I start bumping into the chairs which can be aggravating. Luckily there’s skullcap.

  4. Took me 4 years to realize that I could reverse the orientation of one of our zero gravity chairs so that the head wasn’t directly in front of our air conditioning vent! Congratulations on your growth!