Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Sarana 2009 Monthly visit chart - click on the picture to see it bigger.

We wish you a happy and healthy 2010!

1. Thanks for a great year!
Our community keeps growing. In 2009, our first full calendar year of business, we gave 4,452 acupuncture treatments and 230 massage sessions. See the picture above for a monthly visit chart. We are deeply grateful for all your support. Because of your referrals, we will be able to continue adding practitioners and expanding our business hours in 2010 -- Stay tuned for new schedules this spring.

2. January "Two for One" Acupuncture Special!
Acupuncture works best if it is received regularly and frequently. To encourage everyone to get more acupuncture, for the month of January 2010, every new acupuncture client will receive a free second acupuncture session to be used within two weeks of the first one. Invite your friends and family to come in and try it! Appointments can be scheduled online or by calling the clinic.

3. We need your help!
Action alert: the national regulatory agencies of the acupuncture world are trying to make becoming an acupuncturist more expensive and more difficult. They have proposed changing the educational requirement for licensure from a master's level to a doctorate degree. This would mean that fewer people could afford either to become acupuncturists or to open affordable, sliding scale, community clinics -- which is the opposite of what we want!

We are asking you to visit and sign our petitions that say "NO" to more expensive and longer acupuncture education. Look for the petition in Sarana's reception area or ask the receptionist when you come in.

If you cannot come by in person, please consider sending an email letter of opposition to the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine: (Please include as a CC or BCC recipient if you do this.) A sample letter to copy is here.
The deadline for comments is on 1/15/10, so please do not delay!

4. Reception volunteers still needed

Have you ever thought of volunteering at our front desk? Our reception volunteers receive free acupuncture in exchange for their work.
We are currently looking for reception help for full or half shifts on:
Tuesdays 9:15 am - 1:15 pm
Thursdays 2:45 - 5 pm
Fridays 3:45 - 8 pm.
If you are interested in joining our crew, let us know!

Warmly and gratefully,

the folks at Sarana Community Acupuncture

Monday, December 28, 2009

Action Alert - Help us defeat the plan for First Professional Doctorate for Acupuncturists!

At Sarana Community Acupuncture we take your access to quality acupuncture care very seriously. In fact, everything we do here is designed to make acupuncture as accessible as possible so that you can get the care that you need. We consider creating access to care a mission of social justice and we are entirely committed to partnering with you to create a positive impact in our community. And now we need your help in a big way.

Part of this commitment to social justice demands that we take an active part in ensuring that members of our communities also have equal access to acupuncture education. There is currently an effort by certain individuals in national acupuncture regulatory agencies as well as some influential acupuncture colleges to increase both the cost and length of education in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM), programs that we believe already produce safe and effective practitioners. This is being done by raising the degree status for AOM from its current masters-level, to an entry-level first professional doctorate. The first step in that direction is attempting to develop standards for and pilot these programs at schools around the country. And that is what we are taking a stand against with you today.

Our position is that a first professional doctorate in AOM will have the effect of making access to acupuncture study and practice more exclusionary, thereby limiting the potential of acupuncture to integrate itself into more diverse communities. Increased costs for tuition will be passed onto the public through increased rates, further limiting access to care. There already exists an optional doctorate level program of study in AOM. Changing the entry-level is simply unnecessary.

We consider all of you that sit in our recliners the most important stakeholder in this conversation of a first professional doctorate. While we are happy when we can tell you that there is someone doing community acupuncture where your friends and family live, 90% of the time there is no one practicing acupuncture there the way that you experience it here. This is just plain wrong. This trend can only reverse if we all stand up and say “NO!” to the first professional doctorate in AOM together.

You all are our greatest resources, and we are asking you today to email your letter of opposition to (and a copy to in the name of access to care, access to education, equal rights and social justice in our communities. The deadline for comments is January 15th 2010. A sample letter is below.

Thank you for your continued partnership in true social change.

-The staff at Sarana Community Acupuncture

Maryland Trade Center #3
7501 Greenway Center Drive, Suite 760
Greenbelt, MD 20770

RE: Patients of OM OPPOSED to a First-Professional Doctorate

January XX, 2010

To the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine,

As a patient of Oriental medicine, I consider myself to be a key stakeholder in the successful practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in this country. I am strongly opposed to the development of standards for and subsequent piloting of a first professional doctorate in acupuncture and in Oriental medicine. As this will likely lead to a change in entry level education for the profession, I believe this would reduce the number of new practitioners entering the profession, thus limiting access to this medicine. Additional financial responsibilities incurred by students, if a doctorate became a requirement for practice, would very likely have the effect of increasing the cost to the consumer. I believe that the current level of education required that my practitioner received was adequate for me to safely receive the benefits of Oriental medicine.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Schedule and Updates

  • Ever thought of volunteering at our front desk? Our reception volunteers receive FREE acupuncture in exchange for their work. We are currently looking for reception help on Tuesdays 9:15 am - 1:15 pm and Fridays 3:45 - 8 pm. If you are interested in joining our crew, let us know!

Our holiday schedule:

We will be CLOSED for Winter Holidays on:

Thursday 12/24 and Friday 12/25
Thursday 12/31 and Friday 1/1/10

There will be NO massage on Mondays 12/28 and 1/4

Tatyana will substitute for Pam on:
Tuesday 12/29, 3:30 -6:30 pm
Saturday 1/2/10, 11 am - 2 pm

Have a joyous and healthy holiday season, see you soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Noodle fun!

On Wednesday 11/11, about a dozen of Sarana clients, staff and volunteers gathered to eat some yummy noodles (and things that go well with noodles:) and to discuss the book Acupuncture is like Noodles. After a brief introduction and a short report from the latest Board meeting of Community Acupuncture Network, we ate and talked and ate some more. It was a wonderful evening, full of nourishing food and stimulating conversation. Among the foods we sampled: Mexican spaghetti, Vietnamese noodle soup, kugel with fresh apples, mac'n'cheese, noodly-looking green beans with pesto sauce, and a surprise pumpkin pie that had no noodles in it at all, but was welcomed with open mouths nevertheless.

We passed around a clipboard and collected written comments on the book. We would like to share a few quotes with you.:

"... I enjoy the writing style that anticipates a reader's potential questions and concerns and lets them know that they will be answered and addressed in a humorous way."
- Carol S., client

"Thanks you for so clearly and definitely asserting that the ability to be helpful implies a moral obligation to do so, for a medical practitioner"
- P.M.

"My favorite bit of Noodles is about social businesses - businesses whose primary purpose is social benefit rather than profit. "
- Pam C., practitioner

"There is a strength and beauty in the access / freedom from so many restrictions that are standard to health care, which you address so nicely in Noodles. A point I really appreciated was your description of how what's important to a person, everyday values, can be and should be transferred into a sustainable business (i.e. the woman preparing for a party analogy)".
- Anna, volunteer

"I love how this book debunks the oh so popular conception that acupuncture is only for few people as in 'boutique' health care. Noodles are for all kinds of people all over the world, and so is acupuncture." - Pam F., volunteer

Did you know that Noodles is being sold at the famous Powell's Books in Portland, OR? If you have digested your Noodles and would like to leave a comment about the book on Powell's website, follow this link, sign up for an account and comment away!

If you still haven't read the book, you can get one at Sarana or from Working Class Acupuncture. It makes a lovely holiday gift :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Miriam Lee Tribute Day - FREE acupuncture on December 9, 2009

Bay Area Community Acupuncture Clinics Honor Pioneer Miriam Lee
With A Day of Free Acupuncture

Seven Community Acupuncture clinics in the greater San Francisco Bay area will offer free acupuncture on December 9, 2009 to honor Miriam Lee, the woman who set off the movement to legalize acupuncture in the US. An eight clinic in San Rafael will offer the free treatments on December 8.

Born on December 9, 1926 in China, Lee immigrated to the United States in 1969 and settled in Palo Alto, California. Because it was illegal to practice acupuncture, she took a job on an assembly line. However, Lee found it impossible to not offer her skills and was soon seeing patients clandestinely. Over time, her reputation grew, until her practice became too large for her home. One anecdote related in her book, Insights of a Senior Acupuncturist, mentions the collapse of the steps to her back porch due to the number of people waiting to see her. Eventually, she found a sympathetic M.D. who allowed her to work out of his office during off-hours.

In 1974 Lee was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. Her patients filled the courthouse at her hearing, demanding the right to receive acupuncture. Miriam Lee had offered them compassion and health, and now they came to her defense. Thanks to this public outcry, acupuncture was declared an “experimental procedure” and Lee was granted the right to see patients at San Francisco University. In 1976, acupuncture was legalized in California. Lee retired in 1997 and died at age 82 on June 24th of this year.

Miriam Lee felt compelled to offer the healing power of acupuncture to as many people as possible. She treated a variety of illnesses for two decades in Palo Alto, starting her day early and treating as many as 10 patients per hour using tables and chairs in several rooms. In order to work quickly and effectively, Lee developed a simple 5-point, 10-needle protocol which proved helpful for the majority of common health complaints.

Community acupuncturists draw inspiration from Miriam Lee and share her desire to provide acupuncture to as many people as possible. Following the example of Working Class Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon, Community Acupuncture clinics in the Bay Area offer affordable, sliding-scale acupuncture in quiet group spaces. Their mission is to increase access to regular and frequent acupuncture treatment for people with ordinary incomes and to build a sense of community among those receiving and providing care.

In Lee’s memory, several Community Acupuncture clinics in the Bay Area will provide her treatment protocol (known as the "Miriam Lee tune up") free to clients on December 9, 2009. Participating clinics are listed below. Contact them directly for business hours and other details.

Sarana Community Acupuncture
968 San Pablo Ave., Albany, CA 94706
(510) 526-5056
Free “Miriam Lee tune-up” treatments by appointment from 10am-4pm.
100 % of optional donations will go to the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic, which offers free alternative medicine care to low-income women with cancer. Book appointments here.


Berkeley Community Acupuncture
2880 Sacramento St., Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 704-0593

Davis Community Acupuncture Clinic
Itay Neta, LAc
817 4th St., Davis, CA 95616
(530) 219-0761

Oasis Community Acupuncture
36614 Newark Blvd., Newark, CA 94560
(510) 552-2208

Oakland Acupuncture Project
576 Laurel Ave., Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 326-3710

Body in Balance Community Acupuncture Center
4133 Mohr Ave., Ste E, Pleasanton, CA 94566
(925) 417-8800

San Francisco:
Community Acupuncture Works
2889 24th St #A, San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 861.0104

San Rafael:
Community Acupuncture of San Rafael
2130 Fourth St., Suite C, San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 302-8507
Free “Miriam Lee double” treatments by appointment from 11:30am to 3:30pm on December 8th (not 9th). 100 % of optional donations will go to the Marin Abused Women's Services.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Schedule Changes and Updates

Thursday Massage suspended
Mari is done with acupuncture school and is getting busy studying for the state licensing exam!
Starting in November, massage will take place on Mondays only (3:30 – 6:30 pm)

Ellie will substitute for Tatyana on:
Mondays 11/23 and 11/30, 3:30 - 6:30 pm
Wednesday 12/2, 10 am – 1 pm

Ellie will substitute for Pam on:
Saturday 11/28, 11 am -2 pm

Pam will substitute for Tatyana on:

Wednesday 11/24, 10 am – 1pm

We will be CLOSED for Thanksgiving Holiday on:
Thursday 11/26 and Friday 11/27

Friday, October 9, 2009

"NOODLES" potluck and discussion 11/11/09

Have you read Acupuncture is Like Noodles yet?

If you have, you are invited to a NOODLES potluck and discussion on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009, starting at 6pm at Sarana Community Acupuncture.

Please bring a noodle dish (or something that goes well with noodles) to share and your "NOODLES" thoughts. Sarana will supply silverware and compostable plates and cups (but if you prefer, you can bring your own non-disposable dishes). If you need directions to Sarana, please visit this link.

Please e-mail to let us know if you are coming (regrets are unnecessary).

Looking forward to a lively discussion and yummy noodles!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall News

Fall greetings!

We hope you are enjoying the change of seasons and staying healthy. If you feel your body is struggling with the arrival of colder weather, maybe it's time for an acupuncture "tune up"!

1. Expanded hours on Tuesdays!

Our new acupuncturist, Ellie Schafer, L.Ac, will offer acupuncture treatments on
Tuesday mornings from 10 am to 1 pm, starting October 13th.
You can schedule your appointments online through this link. Ellie will continue to work on Fridays from 1-4pm. For more about Ellie, see our webpage.

2. Save the date: Wednesday Dec. 9th - Miriam Lee Tribute Day and a Winter Holiday Gathering

Dr. Miriam Lee, was one of the pioneering acupuncturists in the United States and was responsible for the legalization of acupuncture in California. She popularized a simple 5-point protocol which she showed to be helpful for the majority of common health complaints. In the acupuncture community this treatment has become known as the "Miriam Lee tune up". To learn more about this revolutionary acupuncturist, check out this blog post by Circle Community acupuncture in San Francisco.
Dr. Lee passed away this year, and on her birthday, in tribute to her life's work, we will offer free acupuncture using her tune up treatment.
In the evening we will gather to share some holiday cheer - stay tuned for details!

We look forward to seeing you soon!
-the folks at Sarana Community Acupuncture

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Upcoming practitioner schedule changes at Sarana

Pam substituting for Tatyana:

Friday 10/23

Ellie substituting for Tatyana:

Wednesday 10/07

Thursday 10/08

Ellie substituting for Pam:

Monday 11/02

Tatyana substituting for Pam:

Saturday 10/31

Friday, August 28, 2009

Help us be chosen Woman-Owned Business of the Year!

Sarana Community Acupuncture has been nominated for Woman-Owned Business of the Year award from Women's Initiative for Self-Employment - a non-profit that trains low-income women to be small business owners and achieve economic independence. (Tatyana went through their training several years ago.)

This is a local (Bay Area) organization looking at local businesses, so we think we do have a pretty good chance of being selected. The winner gets a fair amount of press exposure (more in the local business-oriented media), which would be great for Sarana and the Community Acupuncture movement.

The number of nominations we get counts as as part of their selection process. You can nominate us here:

Selection is next month, so please do it NOW!

Thanks a lot for your support!

- the folks at Sarana Community Acupuncture

Saturday, August 8, 2009

End of Summer acupuncture special and other updates

Summer greetings,

1. End of Summer Acupuncture special: TWO for ONE acupuncture!

When: Between Monday August 17th and Saturday August 22nd, 2009

Bring a friend with you and one of you will receive a FREE acupuncture treatment!
At least one of you must be a NEW client.
How: Make an appointment online or over the phone: 510.526.5056.
Book soon for the most availability!

2. Schedule changes
  • Pam will be substituting for Tatyana on Friday 8/28
  • There will be NO massage on: Monday 8/17 and Thursday 8/20
  • We will be CLOSED: Monday 9/7 for Labor Day.
3. Volunteers needed - Help us transform health care in our community!

Our wonderful front desk crew is growing, but we are still looking for volunteers to help with reception for late afternoon / evening shifts on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Fridays. If you are interested, please let us know!
All volunteers receive free acupuncture in exchange for their service.

With gratitude for all of your support,
the folks at Sarana Community Acupuncture

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer News and Updates

Our new acupuncturist, Ellie Schafer

We hope that you are enjoying summer's warmth!

We're growing and adding new shifts and new people!

Ellie Schafer, L.Ac, will offer acupuncture treatments on Fridays from 1-4pm starting on July 17th. You might recognize Ellie from the reception desk where she's been helping us on Thursdays. For more about Ellie, see this page.

Monday Massage is back! In addition to Thursday afternoons, you can now schedule a massage on Mondays between 3:30 and 6:30 pm starting July 13th.

Volunteers: We currently have 5 reception volunteers, 1 housekeeper, and a flyer-distributor. We are extremely grateful to our volunteers – They welcome us all, hold the healing space together, and keep everything running smoothly. They make it possible for our community to grow so that we can continue to offer affordable acupuncture. So please thank them. And if you want to become a volunteer, please let us know.

Important On-line booking changes:

Starting in July, you will no longer need to choose a specific acupuncturist when you are booking an on-line appointment. Just choose what type of appointment (acupuncture first visit, acupuncture return visit, herbal/nutrition/self-care consultation, or massage / acupressure) and what day/time you want.

If you do want an appointment with a specific person, please refer to our practitioner schedule here before booking your appointment or call the clinic for more information.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

About Pam's Breakfast Grains

Ever wonder what those little bags of grains and seeds are in our clinic waiting area?

People say that a cancer diagnosis is an invitation to change your life. Certainly, in terms of modifying my diet and exercise habits, cancer has been a huge motivator for me. Shortly after my surgery, a friend brought me a batch of her multi-grain breakfast cereal. I liked the nutty taste and texture of the whole grains. I started experimenting with cooking whole grains and eventually settled on this recipe.

I've been eating my breakfast grains most days for the past 4 years. Along with other lifestyle changes I've made, the grains have helped me remain cancer-free. The whole grains provide lots of fiber. They are 5-10% protein and the rest mostly carbohydrates but because they are unrefined, the carbohydrates are slow-release. This breakfast (plus a teaspoon of omega-3 - rich fish or flax oil) gives me enough energy to keep going for 5-6 hours. Because of its high fiber content, it has also helped cleanse my intestines and keep my cholesterol level very low.

If you buy bulk grains and mix them yourself, they cost about 50 cents per serving – something that met the budget and appetite of my starving-student nephew during his first year in foggy, wet Arcata.

-Pam Chang

Single sample batches of pre-mixed breakfast grains including the dried fruit condiments and a printed copy of the the recipe are available at Sarana Community Acupuncture for $5 each.

The mix recipe:
Each batch of breakfast grains contains:
1/4 cup each of any of the following grains: wheat berries, rye berries, oat groats, millet, quinoa, barley, coix seeds(=yi yi ren)*
1/8 cup brown rice
1/8 cup amaranth
1 Tablespoon of red (aduki) beans
1 Tablespoon of green (mung) beans
1/4 cup almonds or hazelnuts

Preparation method:

• Soak the grains (not the condiments) overnight (6-12 hours) in a medium size saucepan
• Rinse and drain 2-3 times
• Add water to cover 1/2" above the top of the grains. (like boiling rice, but because you've soaked the grains, you don't need to add as much water).
• Turn to high heat, boil, then turn down and simmer for 20-30 minutes (or cook in a rice cooker)
• Turn the heat of when most of the water has been absorbed but before the grains have started sticking to the bottom of the pot
• Stir in condiments or other dried berries (we use gou qi zi*), chopped dried fruit, toasted walnuts, cinnamon, sesame seeds or whatever you like to give the grains a nice flavor
• Let everything sit for 5 minutes to steam the dried fruit


• add maple syrup or brown sugar if you like, but the raisins may provide enough sweetening
• add flax oil, cod liver oil, and flax meal to increase the omega-3 content
• for softer grains, soak for up to 24 hrs and add a little extra water when preparing to boil, let boil for an extra 10-15 minutes

* you can look for yi yi ren and gou qi zi in the bulk section of a health food store, an Asian market or a Chinese herb shop or ask the clinic to order some for you in bulk.

This recipe makes enough for 5-8 servings
Refrigerate the leftovers and re-heat enough for breakfast each day
Chew carefully, as there may be occasional grain hulls present

Monday, June 15, 2009

Schedule Changes

substituting for Tatyana on:
Friday 6/26 - Pam
Monday 7/20 - Ellie Schafer (our new practitioner!)

We will be CLOSED:
Saturday 7/4 for Independence Day Holiday

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New ! Great Book about Community Acupuncture

Want to know more about the Community Acupuncture Movement?
Do you want affordable acupuncture to be available to more people?

This book explains not only how acupuncture works, but how community acupuncture clinics work. Acupuncture Is Like Noodles is written for patients, acupuncture students, prospective acupuncture students, licensed acupuncturists, other medical providers, and anyone else who is curious about the “calmest Revolution ever staged.” Your purchase of this book supports Sarana Community Acupuncture, the Community Acupuncture Network, and the emergence of affordable acupuncture clinics into communities throughout the world.

Please enjoy this delicious excerpt from Noodles

Just as nobody knows where acupuncture originated, nobody really knows why it works.

There are many theories about acupuncture. The ancient Chinese, while they may not have invented acupuncture, developed an elaborate theoretical foundation for it. More recently, Western medical research has suggested biomedical mechanisms for acupuncture. None of these theories, no matter how interesting they are, actually explain why inserting tiny needles under the skin stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself. None of the theories explain how they can all contradict each other, and yet all of them still work. Acupuncture is not like any other form of “alternative medicine”. It is unique. It is nothing like chiropractic treatment, or massage therapy, or naturopathic medicine. It is not like Western medical interventions such as surgery or physical therapy. It should not be compared or confused with any of these things.

Acupuncture is somewhat like prayer, in that sometimes you get a lotmore than you asked for, in ways that you never expected, through the action of forces that you can’t see. Acupuncture is also somewhat like food. Providing acupuncture is like cooking and receiving acupuncture is like eating. The ingredients are all contained within the body itself; the acupuncture treatment is a way of arranging them so that the body can use them better. Once the acupuncturist arranges the needles in the right combinations, the patient’s job is to sit quietly long enough to “digest” the treatment.

Acupuncture nourishes the body by helping it to relax.

Besides being like food in general, acupuncture is a lot like noodles, in particular. The oldest written accounts of noodles come from ancient China, but the Chinese did not necessarily invent noodles. Noodles are made from many different ingredients, all over the world, and prepared in widely different ways. Noodles and acupuncture are both flexible, nourishing, and potentially very, very inexpensive.

About Acupuncture in

Acupuncture probably first came to
America with Chinese immigrant laborers. Acupuncture began to “become mainstream”, which really means “become interesting to white people” after Nixon’s trip to China. In the 1980s it began to be possible to go to school and get a degree to become an acupuncturist, instead of becoming an acupuncturist by
apprenticing in a clinic. This is not unlike going to chef school to get a degree in culinary arts, versus learning to make noodles by helping your grandmother in the kitchen. Soon after this, it became possible to take out student loans to go to acupuncture school, and after that, the price of acupuncture education went through the roof. Many students now graduate from acupuncture school with $100,000 or more in debt. This is not unlike culinary students, who graduate from chef school burdened with huge student loans, when all they really wanted
to do was to learn how to cook. Unlike chefs, there are virtually no jobs for acupuncturists. This is partly a result of most Americans, including acupuncturists and acupuncture
schools, not understanding how acupuncture is like noodles. Like noodles,
acupuncture is most useful in the plural, not the singular. Although we do not know why acupuncture works, we do know a few things about how it works best. Acupuncture usually requires a series of treatments to work. For acute problems, such as a sprained ankle, it’s a
short series of treatments; for chronic problems, such as migraine headaches, it’s a long series, possibly requiring months of treatments. For severe, chronic problems such as autoimmune diseases, acupuncture is effective but might require regular, ongoing treatment for years or decades.

If acupuncture is like food, then a problem is like hunger, the body needing something. If it is a small, recent hunger such as a sprained ankle, a small amount of food will do the trick. If it is a deep, old, long-standing hunger, then the problem demands regular doses of nourishment as often as possible. A big reason that there are almost no jobs for acupuncturists is that, once acupuncture became interesting to white people, it began to be priced in a very unfortunate way. Although acupuncture requires frequent, regular repetition to be effective, most acupuncture treatments cost $65 to $150. Since a single treatment costs this much, a series of ten treatments costs $650 to $1500. Since almost no one can afford this, almost no one in
America gets acupuncture. This is like almost no one getting fed, when almost everyone is hungry. Almost everyone suffers from stress in some way, and almost everyone could be
helped by acupuncture. Some patients who try acupuncture stop after one or two treatments
because they can’t afford to continue and they aren’t getting good results. This is like eating only a single noodle for lunch when what you need is a bowl of spaghetti, or like taking only two pills out of a prescribed ten-day series of antibiotics. Of course there won’t be any good results.

What good to anyone is a single, overpriced noodle?

Since acupuncturists know how to give people something that they need, we believe that this means they have an obligation to do so. The knowledge of how to do acupuncture cannot be separated from a responsibility to use it unselfishly.

The great 6th century Chinese acupuncturist Sun Simiao, who was
known as “the King of Medicine”, wrote:
Whenever a great physician treats diseases, he has to be mentally calm and his disposition firm. He should not give way to wishes and desires, but has to develop first a marked attitude of compassion. He should commit himself firmly to the willingness to take the effort to save every living creature. If someone seeks help because of illness, or on the ground of another difficulty, a great physician should not pay attention to status, wealth, or age; neither should he question whether the particular person is attractive or unattractive, whether he is an enemy or a friend, whether he is Chinese or a foreigner, or finally, whether he is uneducated or educated. He should meet everyone on equal ground; he should always act as if he were thinking of himself. He should not desire anything and should ignore all consequences; he is not to ponder over his own fortune or misfortune and thus preserve life and have compassion for it. He should look upon those who have come to grief as if he himself had been struck, and he should sympathize with them deep in his heart.

Acupuncture cannot be understood correctly apart from the moral and social responsibilities that accompany it, but in
America, these moral and social responsibilities are widely ignored. It’s time to ask: what would Sun Simiao do?

Acupuncture is Like Noodles: the Little Red (Cook) Book of Working Class Acupuncture

by Lisa Rohleder, et al.


Printed on recycled paper, 100% post-consumer content, Ancient Forest Friendly and FSC certified.

Available at Sarana Community Acupuncture or here:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Schedule Changes for April and May

Tatyana will substitute for Pam on:
  • Tues 4/14
  • Wed 4/15
Pam will substitute for Tatyana on:
  • Thurs 4/16
  • Fri 4/17
Pam will substitute for Tatyana on Monday 5/11
Tatyana will substitute for Pam on
  • Sat 5/23
  • Mon 5/25
  • Wed 5/27
  • Sat 5/30
  • Mon 6/1
We will be closed:
Saturday 5/2 to participate in the UC village Health and Wellness Fair (see announcement below) - DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS, THIS FAIR WAS RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY JUNE 6TH - WE WILL BE CLOSED THAT DAY INSTEAD.
Tuesday 5/26 (due to travel)

We will be OPEN Monday 5/25 - Memorial Day

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sea-Change in the Acupuncture World

a map of Community Acupuncture clinics in North America

When I finished my acupuncture clinical internship in 2007, the only way I learned to practice involved “10-Question” intakes, one patient per treatment room, and about an hour per patient. We heard stories of famous practitioners with lots of assistants treating ten people per hour, but all the practicing acupuncturists I knew scheduled 1-2, maybe 3 clients per hour in 1-3 treatment rooms. In the year since I’ve become a community acupuncturist, the acupuncture world has changed radically. My guess is that in another 5 or so years, community acupuncture will be as common as private-room treatments and Americans will consider acupuncture as ordinary as, say, physical therapy or flu shots. Granted, living in the over-enlightened San Francisco Bay Area, I may just be out of touch with reality, nevertheless, here’s why I think Community Acupuncture (CA) is about to go mainstream.

In late 2006, when my business partner, Tatyana Ryevzina, started her CA practice one afternoon per week, most of her clients were used to private-room treatments and had never heard of community-style acupuncture. Nevertheless, few had difficulty transitioning to lower-cost treatments in a group setting. Within months, her community-treatment appointment slots were fully booked. Within a year, she had added a second half-day shift for community-style appointments and she was earning more from community treatments than from private-room treatments. In March 2008, when Tatyana and I opened Sarana Community Acupuncture, we treated about 25 clients weekly while open for 4 shifts (13 hours) per week. A year later, in a recession economy, we are treating about 70 clients/week while open 6 shifts (19.5 hours). This month, we’ve just added 2 more shifts (for a total of 26 open hours per week). I don’t know how our growth rate compares to conventional private-room acupuncture clinic start-ups or even to other CA clinics, but I see the success of our clinic and the emergence of over 80 Community Acupuncture Network (CAN) clinics in the past 3 years as proof that the CA model is viable and replicable.

Beyond viability, what persuades me that CA is here to stay are our clients. Our first clients were mostly people from Tatyana’s prior practice, personal friends, or people who had seen our posted advertisements. Now most of our clients have been recommended to come to us by other clients. Some of the new clients have heard of us from 2-3 different sources, possibly including on-line rating services such as or one of the local Parents’ Network Groups. Many of our clients are fiercely loyal. They actively recruit their friends and family members, classmates from exercise class, or fellow support-group members to become our clients. And they loudly defend us against skeptics who suggest that we are less effective than private-room clinics or that CA is merely a passing fad.

We also have more and more clients who find us because they are specifically looking for either CA clinics or inexpensive acupuncture. One young woman booked an appointment because, although she’d never had acupuncture, she’d read The Remedy and thought she wanted to be a community acupuncturist. Others have been to CAN-affiliated clinics elsewhere and want to continue their CA-style treatments. This type of feedback, along with the weekly outpourings of gratitude for $15-40 sliding-scale acupuncture treatments, shows me that lots of people want CA clinics to survive, grow, and be an ordinary part of their lives.

But, have our supporters reached sufficient critical-mass to shift CA from an emerging trend to a cultural norm? Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point says that after about 5% of a population adopts a new idea, that idea becomes mainstream. The idea of CA may not have reached 5% of the general population or even 5% of the acupuncturist population, but in at least one of the 4 San Francisco Bay Area Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) colleges, it is reaching 100% of the most recent graduating classes. Since Fall 2008, AIMC in Berkeley has offered a community acupuncture seminar and a CA clinical internship. ACTCM in San Francisco invited local CA clinics to participate in a TCM health fair this past winter, and ACCHS in Oakland will include a guest lecture on CA in their spring 2009 Practice Management class. In Northern California, I am one of 8 CA practitioners I know who received their licenses within the past 2 years. While the majority of acupuncturists may remain oblivious to CA, our success is surely being monitored by our former classmates.

And our progress is being monitored by more than our classmates. Every month, it seems, we get inquiries from acupuncturists or TCM students who want to know how a CA clinic is run. Some come for a tour or a treatment. Others become volunteers. Currently at Sarana CA, we have 3 TCM students and 3 acupuncturists who help us with reception in exchange for learning the nuts and bolts of CA. More established CA clinics, Working Class Acupuncture in Portland, OR, for example, can hire acupuncturists and support staff, giving them the opportunity to work alongside more experienced practitioners without first having to buy into a practice. What this shows me is that CA clinics are likely to become a significant post-graduate training venue for acupuncturists who don’t feel ready to open their own practices. And because CA is a comparatively low-risk, low start-up cost business – unlike cruise ships, spas, HMOs, subsidized nonprofits, or even many conventional private-room acupuncture clinics where new graduates might find work – more and more new acupuncturists will be inspired to work in or open more and more new CA clinics.

So this is how the acupuncture world has changed. When I started TCM school, for-profit community acupuncture barely existed in the US. When I graduated, it offered hope as a way for me to practice acupuncture at a price my friends could afford. Now CA has proven itself to be viable, replicable, desirable, and inspiring – an idea whose time has come. It’s an idea that is spreading from Portland, OR to Manchester, NH, Minneapolis, MN to Austin, TX; into the halls of TCM schools and into the minds of new TCM graduates. I think that CA is on a roll now, a roll that will continue until the CA market is saturated, when CA clinics are as common as dentist offices –and a whole lot cheaper! And for all this, I want to express thanks – to my mentors and their lineages, to CA compatriots, to Sarana Community Acupuncture clients and colleagues – it’s a wonderful life, living the change I want to create.

Pamela O. Chang

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sarana Community Acupuncture’s 1st Anniversary

On Wednesday, March 18th was one year since we opened our clinic. We celebrated by giving free acupuncture treatments all morning and hosting a small social gathering in the evening. We treated 22 people and had a wonderful time celebrating with a lively group of clients, friends and supporters attending the party and contributing their festive spirit.

During the party, we taped a sheet of paper on the wall, put out art supplies and collage materials, and asked the folks attending to create a collective birthday card for the clinic. (see photo) Pam baked a delicious poppy seed cake and one of our clients brought his guitar and played beautifully. A huge bouquet of flowers was sent by a fellow acupuncturist. The whole day felt like a holiday.

On the same day Pam and I got interviewed for the newsletter of

Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment – a local non-profit that does business trainings for low-income women and helps them start small businesses. I had gone through their course a few years ago, before I ever heard of community acupuncture. Their volunteer, a young woman who had recently moved from San Diego, was excited when I offered her a free treatment. She took a long blissful acu-nap in a recliner, and when she woke up, we did the interview.

It was meaningful to sit and talk to someone about our journey with the clinic in a formal manner on this day. I think I was able to articulate the big vision of community acupuncture as a tool for transforming health care and people’s lives. I realized that I am deeply grateful for my teachers and founders of the Community Acupuncture movement and Community Acupuncture Network. I also feel profound appreciation for the harmonious partnership that Pam and I have created and the vision we are manifesting.

Our clinic is currently seeing about 70+ patients per week and we are increasing our hours next month. We just added a new recliner to the treatment space, giving us a total of 9 treatment spots. We have a great crew of 8 volunteers whose duties include front desk help, housekeeping and flyering, and whose help we value tremendously. We are often getting new clients who have been referred to us by multiple people in the community (who do not necessarily know each other). We are booked to offer free acupuncture at two local health fairs in our neighborhood in the next couple of months. Most importantly, I love what I do for a living and can’t stop telling everyone about it, and it never feels like I am selling something.

During the party, one of my long-time acupuncture clients asked me – are you happy with your first year? Do you have any regrets? All I could say was: We are very happy, we are doing exactly what we want to do and we are on track with our vision. Onward!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Sarana Community Acupuncture News

1. Sarana is ONE year old - come celebrate with us!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009


  • 10 am to 1 pm: FREE acupuncture! We will accept appointments as usual, but also will accommodate as many drop-in clients as we can on a first-come, first-served basis. The last acupuncture session will begin at 1 pm.
  • 6:30 - 8:30 pm - Sarana's 1st Birthday Community Celebration - join us for refreshments and good company. Please look for and reply to our "E-vite".

2. NEW expanded business hours!
We are growing and adding new acupuncture hours starting in April:
  • Wed 1 - 4 pm with Pam
  • Thurs 3:30 - 6:30 pm with Tatyana
The new hours are available for booking NOW! Please use our online appointment calendar or give us a call.

3. Senior Resource Fair
Sarana Community Acupuncture will be participating in the Senior Resource Fair at the Albany Senior Center on Thursday 3/26/09 from 10 am to 1 pm.

During this event, representatives from different organizations that provide assistance to seniors and caregivers will be on hand to share resources and materials on housing, healthcare, transportation and much more. Free health checks will also be available.

We will be distributing information about our clinic and offering free sample acupuncture treatments to the Resource Fair attendees.

Feel free to stop by our booth and say hello - the address is 846 Masonic Avenue (just north of Solano Ave) in Albany.

Thanks for supporting your community acupuncture clinic!

Pam and Tatyana

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February Schedule Changes

Tatyana will be substituting for Pam on Monday 2/9


Pam will be substituting for Tatyana on:

Monday, 2/16

Wednesday, 2/18

Friday, 2/20

Monday 2/23

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sarana News update

We wish you a Happy Lunar New Year of the Earth Ox!

NEW YEAR massage and acupuncture special!

To celebrate the new year and help everyone get to know our new acupressure therapist, Mari Kubota:
For the month of February 2009:
receive any length acupressure session with Mari (on Mondays 3:30 - 6:30 pm), and get acupuncture on the same day for only $10!

Massages are $1 per minute with a $15 minute minimum. You can book your massage appointments through our website or by calling the clinic. It is best to have your massage before the acupuncture, so you can relax as long as you want with the needles. Here is more information about Mari:

THANKS to our amazing volunteers!

You may have met some of our wonderful front desk helpers. They work as volunteers in order to make everyone's' experience at Sarana smoother and more relaxing. We are very grateful for their help!

We are also currently looking for more front desk volunteers to join our community. If you are interested and available to volunteer email, call us or stop by to get the details. Volunteers earn credit good towards acupuncture treatments.

FREE community class taught by Tatyana - CANCELED

Introduction to Chinese Herbology & Herbal Pharmacy Tour
Herbal medicine has been tested and proven effective by thousands of years of practice. The class will start with an introduction to the history and main principles of Chinese herbology and will conclude with a brief tour of the herbal pharmacy and explanation of various preparation methods.

When: Friday February 6, 12 - 1 pm, no pre-registartion required, just show up.
Where: Elephant Pharm, 1607 Shattuck Ave (at Cedar), in North Berkeley


Wishing you a joyous and healthy year!

In community,

Tatyana Ryevzina and Pam Chang

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just starting...

Presenting Sarana Community Acupuncture's new blog! We are starting the new year with a much welcomed growth spurt - lots of new people are discovering our sanctuary of peace and relaxation. We also have a new service: acupressure massage with Mari Kubota on Mondays form 3:30 to 6:30 pm. Mari is one of our front desk volunteers and a wonderful bodyworker.

Happy MLK day!