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!


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