POCA is Closed

“POCA is closed.”

There was a momentary silence after James Lorr aka “Jimmy Jabs” spoke those three words during a Zoom meet-up on Monday, March 16.  Justine Meyers organized the on-line hangout.  Many of us gathered together to check in, to share information and to be together. At the point when we had finished listing all the clinics that had temporarily closed, Jimmy Jabs added the punctuating statement.

POCA is closed.

POCA’s mission is about creating access to community acupuncture.  We want to be able to refer patients to affordable clinics when they travel or relocate.  We want our families and friends to have access to affordable acupuncture, too.  We want community minded acupuncturists to join our clinics so we can expand our hours.

So what do we do when we cannot practice acupuncture?

It’s hard to stop doing something that our identities are so wrapped up in.  In China’s Wuhan Province, doctors in hazmat suits are providing acupuncture to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and their families. If we had access to hazmat suits, we’d still be working and treating our patients.  Or we would be figuring out how and where to best offer our acupuncture skills during this time of crisis. 

POCA was created so that acupuncture can be accessible to the very people who are on the front lines of this epidemic: retail workers, delivery drivers, food service workers, construction, and medical professionals.  It’s hard to binge watch Netflix, knowing that others are risking their lives so that we can still grocery shop for essentials and non-essentials, like frozen tater tots.  Yes, last week I bought frozen tater tots just so I could cook them in my waffle iron. What else am I going to do? It’s not like I can put on a hazmat suit and go to work.

So, what do we do?  A lot.  And nothing.  Both are okay.  Some of us are resting. Some of us are restless.  And some of us are back and forth.

Many of us are making acupressure videos to share with each other and our patients. Zelda Edmunds is uploading our videos and organizing the POCA DIY Acupressure Series.  If you haven’t seen it, please check it out.  This project is the kind of amazing thing that POCA members do: cooperatively make something completely creative out of nothing…. and then share it. 

We are asking questions that no one can answer.  How long will this go on for?  Will our clinics survive this? What will we have to do differently when we go back to work? We won’t know until we get there.

The Spanish Flu pandemic affected the entire world and lasted from January 1918 until December of 1920.  A quarter of the world’s population was affected.  It was the deadliest pandemic since the Black Plague.  I didn’t know about the Spanish Flu until recent weeks. If it’s any consolation, I do know that it ended. This will end, too. 

Thanks to Jade Fang, Zoom hangouts are happening a few times a week.  People are sharing info and support on the process of applying for SBA loans.  We are baking, sitting through webinars, raising children, reading, learning other languages, worrying, making art, calling our families, figuring out how to live without toilet paper, sleeping, gardening, blogging.  We are tackling the projects around the house that we’ve been meaning to get to for a long time.  We are doing things that we never had time for.  We are creating the raw materials for future continuing education classes, including how to restart your clinic after a pandemic.

POCA clinics are closed. POCA is still going.  We are working in a myriad of ways. We are catching up on deeply needed rest. We are gathering new skills. We are cleaning our basements.  We are reorganizing our lives. 

This too shall pass. When it does, we will emerge recharged and ready to pick up our needles and go back to our jobs.

Author: Roppy

MAS super-punk since 2010

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  1. I am 60 and often look forward to retiring. I never thought I would miss my little community acupuncture practice the way I am. So, yes, I rest and clean and organize bits of my life that have been pushed aside. I like puttering about the house and yard, calling old friends, cooking, making music and walking walking walking.

    Telemedicine is not my thing. I don’t have a high demand for herbs, don’t teach tai qi, and my patients are generally not too interested in some acupressure videos. I also have an old computer that makes this sort of thing difficult. No smart phone either. Wise turtle Acupuncture is pretty old school. Maybe I need to increase my nimbleness in this way whenever I have some $$ to upgrade techno stuff, although it is so not my interest. I’d rather create a new shift at the Trauma Healing Project.

    I don’t know what will happen, how long it will take before I can work again, or in what way. Somedays I wonder if I will end up working at a grocery store. I hope not. I know this too shall pass, but what next? How long until patients aren’t scared to come back? How long can I hang on to an empty office with rent due every month and owners not willing to waive? There are a million questions in my mind as I wait for unemployment to someday come my way.

    So I wait. I look forward to learning from POCA as to how to restart after a pandemic. Thank you for working on that.

  2. Hi Sissy, I am not sure if this information is useful to you but I am going to share it hoping that it is useful to somebody who reads this. Hopefully, you and others will do the same. That is how POCA members can best help each other right now. Now is a good time to support local newspapers. I subscribe to my local paper. That is how I found out that city leaders in Manchester NH approved $1 million dollars in special funds to be available in loans for small businesses. There is a potential for bigger corporate partners to get involved to increase the amount of funds available. No mayor in American wants their town or city to become a ghost town. ever. A Manchester City Alderman said as much. When I moved here 10 years ago to work at MAS, Manchester was a ghost town. It’s changed a lot and a lot of progress is at stake right now.

    I don’t know if the executive director and board of directors of the non-profit clinic that I work for want to take out a loan. Let’s face it, grants and donations are the most ideal. But I am following up on this to find out where and when the applications are available so the option is on the table. You might want to check with your city counsel person, mayor’s office to find out if that sort of thing is happening where you are. Or, see if it’s mentioned in your local paper.

    I can also share information that I have acquired in recent weeks, specifically involving pancakes. Yeast risen pancakes make the best pancakes. My favorite so far is from Martha Stewart’s website:

    This buckwheat yeast risen pancake recipe is also very good. We made it this morning after I let the batter sit on the counter overnight.

    Next week, I plan to try this semolina yeast risen pancake recipe:

  3. In addition to all of the excellent options Elizabeth mentions above, forum conversations, weekly hangouts via zoom, and a growing collection of DIY/DIY acupressure videos, POCA/live is something that presents an opportunity to have and listen to discussions relating to COVID-19 and the world of community acupuncture.

    The first one happens next week on Tuesday 4/21 at Noon Eastern. Registration is required but attendance is free. We’re using a ticketing platform as a way of “passing the hat” so to speak but we really just want provide a resource another way for people to come together.

    We’re encouraging clinics to share info about POCA/live and to share the links to the registration/ticketing page as well: https://pocalive.ticketleap.com/ca-in-the-timeof-covid-19/details

    All are welcome- patient/community members, non-members, punks, staff, your dog, all are welcome to attend.

  4. And semolina pancakes sound fabulous- now I know what to do with that bag of semolina that’s been in my freezer for a year.

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  5. Hey friends—

    The April 21st event is telling me it’s Sold Out. Is this right? Is there a limit on how many people can participate?

    Thanks—stay safe.

  6. Hi Donna-
    We have sold out for this event, this is true. However since it’s possible that ticket holders may not come can you, and anyone else reading this who was not able to get a ticket please email Volunteer@pocacoop.com

    There’s a chance we can get some of the wait-list folks in if not everyone who has a ticket shows up.

  7. We will post the recorded event on POCA TV most likely by the end of the day tomorrow.

    We’re sorry folks who went to sign up late yesterday/today were not able to get a ticket. Our current zoom plan limits # if attendees to 100 and 9 of those are the panelists and production team. We are considering paying the additional money for the next level of plan for the other upcoming POCA/live events.

    All events are open to anyone who registers and are free. However we are “passing the hat” which means when you register you can drop a few bucks in the hat if you can and that money helps fund things like this live series.

    Since with all the clinics closed we can’t do a membership drive, we’re also going to put in a plug for memberships.
    We’re asking everyone to help get the word out about POCA/live via their clinic website/newsletter/social media
    If people want to spread this link around we’ll be emailing this list first with announcements and the opening of future event registrations.


    We’ll probably give this email list a half a day lead time on announcing on social

    POCA/live! #2 will be in 2 weeks-Tuesday 5/5 also at 9am P/Noon Eastern.
    The exact dates for #3 and #4 are TBD but will happen the weeks of 5/18-5/22 and 6/22-6/26.

    Subjects for the next 3 POCA/live events are:
    #2- How people do what they do together- i.e. Governance.
    Sociocracy: the Governance of POCA This live chat will be a presentation of what sociocracy is (including explanation of consent vs consensus, circles, and double-linking), its history, and how POCA uses it as a governance. Presenters are Cate Maxon and Rachel Lutz, with special guest Laura Berglund who will talk about the structure of circle meetings, and as an alumni of POCA Tech, will answer questions about how policies are created and established in a sociocratic school. We plan for a Q+A time at the end (40-45 minutes).
    Note that all three presenters are recent POCA Tech grads and have extensive experience using sociocratic governance throughout their programs. Rachel and Cate are also currently serving on POCA’s BOD.

    #3-Is shaping up with some practical- how to’s. Carrie Sawtell from Many Rivers in CT and Shelby Smith working on presenting some DIY care for the lungs and immunity.

    #4 TBA- by folks from Movement Building Circle.