From what I see at the store, in the street, and on the web, a lot of people are starting to get pretty stressed out. I stopped celebrating Christmas years ago, but I see my friends and family and coworkers and acquaintances getting more tense as the holiday approaches, over all kinds of things — family commitments, travel, expensive gift bills, trying to keep the Santa myth alive for your kids, having an existential crisis over Christianity and the conflation of Christ’s theoretical spring birth with the pagan Yule/Saturnalia/Insert-winter-holiday-here to try and get more converts, whatever. I’d like to offer a cheap yet healing suggestion for how to de-stress this holiday season: community acupuncture!
Community acupuncture is practiced in group settings, with patients fully clothed and relaxing in recliners rather than lying on a table. There are a bunch of reasons for why it is done this way that I’ll likely write about at some point, but in the meantime, use google if you are curious. :) Anyway, community acupuncture clinics make this form of healthcare more accessible and affordable to many people, and it’s much less intimidating than a solo session for the uninitiated. I’ve been getting acupuncture for something like 20 years, and though I have loved my solo acupuncturists in the past, I don’t see wanting to go back to that model (for one thing — so expensive!). Community acupuncture clinics that are members of POCA (People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, a co-op that oversees the evolution of the model and sets standards for community acupuncture) generally have a sliding scale for treatments that goes as low as $15, compared to the average $100 per treatment at a solo office. This means you can get more treatment within your budget, and in the case of dealing with injuries or conditions in need of multiple treatments, this is important.
But right now, we’re just talking about de-stressing a little bit. Acupuncture works great for this. “But how can putting needles in your body be relaxing?” you might ask. The needles are really filaments not much thicker than a piece of my hair. In many cases you can’t even feel them go in. When you do, it usually doesn’t hurt. In those cases where it does hurt, it subsides almost immediately as your body responds.
So consider de-stressing with community acupuncture. You can search for a POCA clinic near you. Pro tip: Join POCA before you go to your first appointment. Annual membership is also sliding scale ($25 – $100), and the benefits pay for themselves immediately. As a POCA member, the $15 new patient intake fee that most clinics charge is waived, so you save that immediately. You also get a coupon for a free treatment the week of your birthday, so that pretty much covers the membership paying for itself. You also get 3 coupons for friends/family to get a free visit to a POCA clinic so they can try it out. There’s other co-op type stuff like voting rights and discussion boards, but that’s irrelevant to most people reading this. Financially, if you are going to try it, you might as well just join POCA because it’s a better deal.
I haven’t been to all that many POCA clinics yet, but there are a couple I can recommend first-hand:
- Portland, OR: Working Class Acupuncture (This is where I go, everyone is awesome)
- San Francisco, CA: Circle Community Acupuncture (David is awesome)
- Manchester or Nashua, NH: Manchester Acupuncture Studio (Andy is awesome)
So, try community acupuncture and relax!