How we became “Punks”

Posted on Oct 25, 2013

If you have read our 5 Things post, you know that we originally believed that community acupuncture was for hippies and communists. You see, throughout acupuncture school, we were taught that the best way, the only way, to run a practice is to spend countless hours with each patient, in a private room, doing boutique style acupuncture. Here, the acupuncturist is not just an acupuncturist, but a nutritional counselor, herablist, homeopath, naturopath, beauty consultant, and often a psychotherapist. The patient is often required to disrobe and is left alone in the room once needles are put in. Generally, the treatments cost between $65 and $125 each. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with this style of acupuncture; it just was not ours.

Almost 4 years ago, we opened Good Medicine Home Acupuncture. We were going to provide acupuncture in the comfort of the patient’s home in Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda- you name it, we would be there. A few months in and business was just okay. We dropped our prices (we started charging $95 for a house call, which is less than some acupuncturists charge for office visits). We became discouraged; our patients were not getting the results we knew acupuncture could produce. We began to resent our profession- to feel emotionally drained, to feel lost and apathetic.

Around the same time the resentment set in, an opportunity arose. We were looking for ways to be more involved in the service aspect of church and since our schedules were pretty flexible, we decided to offer free, group acupuncture to the food pantry our church helped to run. We decided to give two to three hours, twice per month. After the first week, we never stopped being busy. In the 2.5 hours we were there, we would each see between 20 and 30 patients. They would all sit comfortably in the church’s parlor talking, laughing, swapping stories and healing strategies, and just sharing their lives while receiving acupuncture. The real kicker? These patients were getting WAY better results than our house calls. What was even more amazing was that, at the end of an incredibly busy shift (we would literally be dripping sweat), we were not tired, but invigorated; we did not feel emotionally drained, but passionate and as if we had a purpose.

From there, things started moving quickly. We had heard about community acupuncture while in acupuncture school (we had friends who were hippies and communists) and began researching. We read Noodles and looked into the coop. Guess what? While there were definitely some hippies and communists, that is not what made the community acupuncture coop special. They are all phenomenal people with hearts two sizes too big who want everyone they come in contact with to benefit from what acupuncture has to offer.  We barely had to discuss the decision- we KNEW this was what we wanted to do. We made the decision to provide affordable acupuncture to as many people as possible. So, we changed business names, we found office space, we bought recliners, and we opened our doors as Good Medicine Community Acupuncture on March 1, 2012.

Since then, not a day goes by that we are not thankful for that decision. In our first month of community acupuncture practice, we saw more patients than we had seen the entire time we did house calls. Our patients can receive the treatment they need because of our sliding scale. Our patients never have to be alone, to be isolated, during treatment; they can nap in the recliners, chat with those around them or with us, or just be still and enjoy the group healing environment. We wake up every single day excited about going to work. We have awesome patients who inspire us to always make the clinic better.

So here we are now, “punks” (that’s the affectionate term for those who practice community acupuncture). We belong to the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA), a mulit-stakeholder cooperative that allows practitioners and patients to be involved in shaping the future of community acupuncture. We love our jobs, we love our patients, and we love sharing life and acupuncture with our community.  Thank you!

 

By the way, if you aren’t yet one of our awesome patients, you should be. You can even schedule online!

 

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4 Comments

  1. …really enjoyed reading about how you started up GMCA. You have helped so many people and both of you have such a passion for what you do. Hippies or not I am
    grateful I found both of you. Keep up the good work. ROCK on.

    • Thanks Kathie!

  2. It’s always really great to read/hear stories from other acupunks – especially such well-written ones like yours. Keep up the great work. And keep on writing!

    • Thanks, will do!

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