Tuesday, December 2, 2014

FREE Acupuncture for POCA members on New Year's Day!


We would like to start 2015 by offering a gift to our fellow POCA members: free acupuncture treatments!
If you are a POCA co-op member, you can come in on 1/1/15 between 12 and 3 pm for free acupuncture!
Appointments highly recommended.

Non-POCA members are most welcome to come in and join the fun, but regular sliding scale fees will apply.

Want to get the free treatment? Join our co-op!
POCA patient / community membership offers many benefits and allows you to actively support the community acupuncture revolution.

Here is what you do:


  1. Join POCA at home before you come to the clinic. (We will have support for joining POCA at the clinic on New Year's Day of you have difficulty with filling out internet forms, you will need a credit / debit card)
  2. Forward to us your "welcome to POCA"/proof of membership email or bring in the print out of the email. 
  3. Schedule an acupuncture appointment on 1/1/15 and come in for FREE.
  4. Feel proud to support the community acupuncture movement!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Invisible Receptionist - How Does It Work?

Sometimes instead of having a live receptionist on duty, we use a self-check-in system we fondly refer to as our "Invisible Receptionist".

We'd like to explain how it's set up and help you use it with ease and clarity. 

Here is what the Invisible Receptionist set up looks like when you walk into Sarana waiting area from the street:

Sign with simple instructions: please read them carefully, they will help.

Signing-in: lately we are using a sign-in sheet to help us keep track of arrival times and walk-ins - please sign in when you arrive.

Payment envelopes: write your name on the envelope (preferably in pencil), place your payment inside and do not seal it - that way we can reuse the envelope.

Paying by credit card? Need a receipt? Use these handy credit card authorization and receipt forms:

Where does the payment envelope go? Walk through the swinging door into the treatment space and look to your left - drop your payment into the wood payment box attached the side of the wooden shelf:

Still have questions? Ask your practitioner!
Hope this helps and enjoy your acu-nap.... zzzzz

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Gift Certificate Sale!

Initial Acupuncture Visit Gift Certificates are only $15 each between 11/24/14 and 12/31/14 (no additional paperwork fee required)!

Acu-naps make great gifts!
Help your loved ones relax and de-stress during this holiday season -- introduce them to the benefits of community acupuncture.

Other gift certificates are also available (follow up visits, acu-packages, massage) at our regular low fees. Purchase in person at the clinic or over the phone.

Friday, September 26, 2014

POCA Membership Drive Special: $10 acupuncture treatments for all POCA members during October 2014!


Our clinic is a proud member of POCA co-op (People's Organization of Community Acupuncture).
You can join POCA as a patient / community member for as little as $25 per year. To encourage you to join during the Fall membership drive, we are offering unlimited $10 acupuncture treatments to any POCA member in October (additional $10 paperwork fee for new clients on 1st visit only).
We will also waive the $10 paperwork fee for any new client a POCA member brings in as a guest in October (your guest does not have to join POCA but they are of course most welcome to!).
The co-op membership offers many benefits and allows you to actively support the community acupuncture revolution: for every 300 patient memberships at $25, POCA can offer a $7500 micro-loan to start a community acupuncture clinic in an underserved area. Three clinics have already been started in this way by POCA members!
Here is what you do:
1. Join POCA at home before you come to the clinic.
2. Forward to us your "welcome to POCA" / proof of membership email or bring in the print out of that email anytime in October and receive acupuncture for just $10!
3. Come in as often as you like during the month of October, and pay only $10 per treatment as a POCA member.
4. Invite your friends to come in for acupuncture with you in October and they will save $10 off the initial visit fee.

5. Feel proud to support the community acupuncture movement!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Albany Local Week Is Here: 3 for $40 Acupuncture Special!

Available Saturday 9/20 - Friday 9/26

Support local economy -- shop, eat and play within Albany's square mile. Local businesses are offering Albany Local Week Specials and there are a number of local events taking place during the week.

Our Albany Local Week Special: 3 acupuncture treatments for $40!

  • valid for either initial or follow-up visits, no additional paperwork fee
  • one 3-treatment package per person, not transferable
  • no expiration date once purchased
  • available to buy as gifts for others, gift certificates available
  • no other discounts / specials apply
  • you can buy one in person or by credit card over the phone during our business hours.
  • you do not need to be an Albany resident

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Harvest Time: Chinese Medicine Tips for a Healthy Fall


It sure feels like autumn: The air smells crisper, days are getting shorter, local gardens are starting to churn prepare for winter crops, kids are back in school.
Fall season is all about consolidating our energy and getting ready for winter. In Chinese medicine this time of the year is associated with the element/energy of Metal and the organ systems of Lung and Large Intestine. Fall is a good time to strengthen our respiratory and digestive systems and to boost our immune system in preparation for the cold and flu season.
In Chinese medicine the Lung system governs respiration and elimination. It is responsible for the receiving energy in the form of the breath and acting as the first line of defense against external pathogens.  A weak Lung system can make us more susceptible to colds, allergies, asthma. The Large Intestine is considered to be a pair organ to Lungs in Chinese medicine, and its job is to help us absorb nutrients and eliminate unwanted waste.  On the emotional level Lungs and Large Intestine are helpful regulators of what we take in and let go of in our daily lives.
Here are a few tips to help you balance your body as we enter the Fall season:
1.  Support the Lung System in warding off pathogens by drinking plenty of fluids, doing the sinus rinse daily and wearing scarf. In acupuncture theory, the back of our neck is a particularly vulnerable place where cold and wind can invade easily.
2. Warm up your diet: Help your body adjust to the cooler weather by cooking your food slightly longer that in the summer and replace the raw salad with cooked veggies or a warming soup. Pay attention to the produce that is prominent at the farmer’s market and incorporate those foods into your diet. Enjoy Fall’s bounty of root vegetables and beautiful winter squashes! Try these recipes from Gastronicity blog. For more details on seasonal eating and great recipes, we recommend the wonderful book Real Food All Year by Nishanga Bliss (available for sale at Sarana)
3. Think pungent: Pungent flavor is associated with Lung system in Chinese medicine. Pungent and slightly spicy foods traditionally help stimulate the lungs, break up excess mucus and improve the function of respiratory system. Think of onions, garlic, leeks, radishes and turnips. Add some fresh ginger to your soup!
4. Ferment some change: fermented foods help our gut function better, aiding healthy digestion and elimination, so keep up with probiotic food consumption such as yogurt, miso and sauerkraut.
5. Get Regular Acupuncture: consistent acupuncture treatments can help you transition through the change of seasons in good health. Acupuncture can assist in relieving stress, help you get sounder sleep and re-balance your energy. It can help boost your immune function and settle the mind, helping you let go and focus your attention more within as we get ready for the winter season. Make an appointment today!
Have a very healthy Fall!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Schedule Changes and Substitutions

Please revisit this post for updates on schedule changes / substitutions.

Spring winds of change.... We will be saying farewell to Jason and Vignesh in March.
All of us at Sarana are truly grateful to both of them for their hard work, and we wish them all the best.

We are adding two wonderful new acupuncturists to our team – Lumiel Kim-Hammerich, L.Ac., and Jen Cowing L.Ac. Click on the links to meet them!


March 2016 Schedule Changes:

  • Monday 3/14, 9:30 am - 10:30 am - Vig working (his last day), 10:30 am - 2 pm Lynn Bertzyk working, the rest of the day regular schedule
  • Sunday 3/20, 10 am – 2 pm: Lynn Bertzyk works
  • Monday 3/21: Lumiel begins working 9:30 am - 2 pm shift regularly
  • Friday 3/25 to Sunday 3/27, Easter Weekend: REGULAR HOURS
  • Sunday 3/27: Jen starts working 10 am – 2 pm shift regularly
  • Monday 3/28: Tatyana start working 9:30 am – 2 pm shift regularly instead of Wednesdays
  • Tuesday 3/29: Sean begins working 2 - 6:30 pm shift regularly instead of Mondays
  • Wednesday 3/30: Jen starts working 2 - 6:30 pm regularly

Our NEW schedule after  3/27/16 will be: 



        Monday, June 30, 2014

        July 2014 Schedule Changes


        • We are OPEN reduced hours on Independence Day, Friday 7/4, 11 am - 3 pm with Tatyana (no massage on this day)
        • Rona is out on Tuesday 7/15 (overlap shift cancelled)
        • Sean works for Tatyana on Friday 7/18, 3-7 pm
        • Massage substitutes: Sally works for Meave on Thursday 7/17and Sarah works for Meave on Thursday 7/24

        Monday, May 5, 2014

        Meet our NEW acupuncturist Rona Luo


        Meet our wonderful new acupuncturist, , LAc - she will be starting to work this month, subbing for a couple of Pam's shifts and then working regularly Tuesdays 1 - 4 pm and Fridays 11 am - 3 pm.  Rona has been volunteering at the front desk for a few months - now we are excited to have her transition to working in the treatment room! Please come in soon and welcome Rona to the Sarana community!

        More about Rona in her own words: 


        I was born in Guangzhou, China and grew up in New York City, where my mother ran a home acupuncture practice. Because she was always working, I was basically raised by her community of loving patients. I worked as a labor organizer in New York Chinatown, learning from garment, nail salon, restaurant and construction workers, and saw our collective need for affordable holistic healthcare.

        Before starting acupuncture school, I learned about the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) model of creating access to acupuncture, and instantly knew these were spaces my community and I would feel comfortable in. I began volunteering at Sarana and loved seeing the care individual patients, families and friends treated each other with.

        I enjoy teaching bilingual yoga and meditation classes in Oakland Chinatown, and also provide acupuncture at the Alameda County Needle Exchange. I am a fan of storytelling, hot springs, and poetry. I am fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese.

        Tuesday, April 29, 2014

        MAY 2014 Newsletter


        Our May 2014 Newsletter if full of exciting news and specials - check in out here.

        Saturday, April 26, 2014

        May 2014 Schedule Changes and Substitutions

        This is our list of schedule changes for May 2014, please check back with this post for any further adjustments and updates:
        • Friday 5/9: **last time Lynn working 11 am - 3 pm shift
        • Tuesday 5/13, 2 - 6:30 pm: Lynn works for Pam
        • Wednesday 5/14: **last time Lynn working 9:30 am-2 pm shift
        • Thursday 5/15, 2 - 6:30 pm: Lynn works for Pam
        • Friday 5/16, 3 - 6 pm: Sarah Lovett returns to do massage, 11 am-3 pm: Rona* takes over working this shift
        • Saturday 5/17, 10 am - 2 pm: Lynn works for Sean (special hours)
        • Monday 5/19, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm: Tatyana works for Pam
        • Tuesday 5/20, 2-6:30 pm: Rona* works for Pam
        • Wednesday 5/21 9:30 am - 2 pm: Sean takes over working this shift
        • Thursday 5/22, 2 - 6:30 pm: Rona* works for Pam
        • Saturday 5/24 - NEW Saturday hours begin: Sean 9:30 am - 2 pm
        • Monday 5/26, (Memorial Day): REDUCED HOURS - Tatyana works 12 - 4 pm
        • Tuesday 5/27, 2-6:30 pm: Lynn works for Pam, *Rona begins working 1-4 pm from now on
        • Thursday 5/29, 3 - 6pm - massage sub - Sarah works for Meave
        • Friday 5/30, 3 - 7 pm: Pam works for Tatyana
        **Lynn will not be working on Wednesdays and Fridays after 5/14 /14 but will continue to work Sundays and sub for other practitioners.

        *Rona Luo is our wonderful new practitioner - please read more about her here - come in and welcome her to Sarana!

        Monday, April 14, 2014

        Contest Announcement! Help us Build a Community Acupuncture School!


        POCA Tech Fundraising Contest

        POCA co-op is working on opening an affordable school to train community acupuncturists - POCA Technical Institute or POCA Tech. The school has already been licensed in Oregon, and plans to start classes in the Fall of this year.
        To help raise funds for POCA Tech's accreditation we are running a contest.
        Here is what you do to participate:
        1. Donate a minimum of $10 to POCA Tech through their Razoo Crowd-funding site by 6/14/14. (Follow the above link for a detailed explanation about POCA Tech and a short video made by its prospective students.)
        2. Bring in or email us (attn: Tatyana) your receipt / proof of donation along with your contact information, and we will enter your name into a drawing to win a pack of five acupuncture treatments at Sarana.
        3. That's all! On 6/15/14 we will randomly draw the name of the winner!
        Many thanks for your support and spreading the word about community acupuncture!

        Thursday, March 13, 2014

        Schedule Changes for late March / April 2014

        • Thursday 3/20 9:30 am - 2 pm: Lynn works for Sean
        • Friday 4/4, 3-7 pm: Pam works for Tatyana
        • Tuesday 4/8, 9:30 am – 2 pm:  Sean works for Tatyana
        • Wednesday 4/9, 2 – 6:30 pm: Pam works for Tatyana
        • Friday 4/11, 3-7 pm: Sean works for Tatyana
        • Friday 4/18: 11 am - 4:30 pm - Lynn works beginning of shift for Tatyana, Tatyana works 4:30 - 7 pm

        Monday, February 24, 2014

        March 2014 Schedule Changes


        • Mon 3/3,  9:30 am - 2 pm - Tatyana works for Pam
        • Tues 3/4, 2 - 6:30 pm - Lynn works for Pam
        • Wed 3/5,  9:30 am - 2 pm - Sean works for Lynn
        • Thur - 3/6, 3 - 6 pm - First day of massage with Meave O'Connor, Pam is out, Sean and Lynn regular hours


        Saturday, February 22, 2014

        NEW! Massage on Thursdays with Meave O'Connor

        We are excited to announce that Meave O'Connor, a wonderful, nurturing bodyworker and a long-time Sarana client and supporter will be joining our practitioner team!

        Meave will be offering acupressure massage on Thursdays 3 - 6 pm starting on 3/6/14. Please call us (510-526-5056) to schedule your appointment or book online anytime.

        More about Meave and her work:

        I come to Asian bodywork from a lifelong interest in complementary medicine and healing practices. I started my acupressure bodywork practice after a career as a public school teacher where I worked with children who had learning disabilities.

        I have received most of my training at the Berkeley Acupressure Institute and continue to study privately with some of the faculty members there. In my practice at Sarana I will be using the active bodywork styles of acupressure, including tui na, shiatsu and some reflexology.

        Tui na (Chinese massage) stimulates the acupressure points using a combination of hand motions and massage techniques to increase the flow of blood and energy in the body. Shiatsu uses pressure placed strategically along the meridians (energetic pathways) to release blockages and to stimulate the flow of chi (essential life force). Reflexology uses massage and pressure point techniques on the feet and hands to favorably influence the body, mind and spirit.

        As an activist who helps to protect and restore the environment, I have come to understand that our bodies are much like the natural world and oftentimes reflections of it. Working with the energy meridians to enable the body's wisdom to balance the whole person is the practice I love.

        I enjoy dancing, music, film and theater as well as hiking and swimming. Being a vagabond at heart I have traveled far and wide. I've been practicing yoga daily for 30 years and have recently started to study Qigong with Master Mingtong Gu.

        I volunteer at the Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Clinic in Oakland where there is a strong community healing atmosphere, similar to Sarana, which vibrates with love and connection. I strongly support the community acupuncture model and am a longtime Sarana client. I look forward to being part of Sarana's community of caring and knowledgeable practitioners.

        Sunday, February 9, 2014

        Lunar New Year of the Yang Wood Horse


        January 31, 2014 marks the beginning of the Year of the Yang Wood Horse. The Chinese horoscope is based on a cycle of 12 animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) and 5 elements, (wood, fire, earth, metal and water). Thus, a particular animal-element combination recurs only once every 60 years. During the last (yin) Wood Horse year (1954), Joseph McCarthy's 'red scare' anti-communist witch-hunts dominated but were later condemned by the US Senate, the Viet Cong were created, the first shopping mall opened in the US, the first color television was manufactured, and Rock N Roll began. Famous Wood Horses include: Ang Lee, Jackie Chan, Muhammed Ali, Jimi Hendrix, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Justice Sonia Sotomajor, Condoleezza Rice, Denzel Washington

        The horse in Chinese astrology is a cavalry horse, identified with the nobility and having qualities of vigor, attentiveness, and soldier-like discipline. While 2013, the year of the water snake, was a year for mysticism and non-action, horse energy is plain, direct, and obvious. Wood energy, associated with spring and renewal  feeds fire, the native element of the horse, so makes this a particularly vigorous year. Following are prognostications offered by Daoist scholar Liu Ming.

        • General Recommendations: While the results of last year's snake energy mysticism, introspection, and transformation may continue to percolate over the next 4-5 years, the wood horse energy is more like a “re-set” opportunity with images of childlike innocence or a sharp blow to the head while meditating. It is a year to refresh oneself.  Through the spring, energy is enthusiastic but unthinking, hence has the potential for stupidity and danger. In the first 3 months of the year, lay low and don't overreact to uncertainty. The horse, however, is very trainable and hard-working, so starting educational projects in the spring, especially gradual non-oppressive training programs, may enable the nobility and maturity of the horse to predominate by the fall. With good mentoring, friendship, warmth, and reciprocity, the wood horse year can be very flexible. This is a good year for straight-from-the-heart action.
        • Politically, not much will happen. This year is not about power but more about distractedness. Youth will be less depressed and less likely to be recruited as terrorists. The emergence of new ideas is probable. New non-national leaders may emerge. India and China will increasingly shape the world's future.
        • In business and finance, new is good, but teamwork will be needed to make new ideas work. Expect growth in young technologies: Internet and popular funding. Expect a narrower focus – local vs. universal where the village emerges as the primary social sphere.
        • In health, injuries will be more common than illness and incomplete healing of injuries is likely this year when horse-energy impels us to want to get back to work. On the other hand, this year's “upward and outward” energy can help expel deeply embedded chronic injuries. Try to be thorough and conscientious even though impulses will take you elsewhere. Choose doctors with experience and integrity.
        • In the Inner Realm, in horse years, the spiritual path is found embedded in work, ordinary routines, and the Zen of ordinary life. 'Beginner's mind' will be good this year and education will be key to changing the dangerous, compulsive character of the year to wisdom. Romantically, friendship will be more important this year than family – value old and new friends for sympathy and empathy rather than rely on partners. Remember that horse energy favors action not words.


        The wood horse year ends and the wood goat year begins on February 19, 2015. Next year's orderly goat energy will be an antidote to this year's impulsive wildness.

        ~ image and text by Pamela Chang

        Saturday, February 1, 2014

        February 2014 Newsletter

        Valentine's Day 5 for $65 Special!
        Available Sunday 2/9 through Friday 2/14 only

        The popular 5 for $65 acupuncture package will be available for a very limited time this month. Introduce your sweetheart to community acupuncture with 5 for $65 gift certificate. Feel free to treat yourself as well while you are at it, then come in and relax together! The gift certificates come with colorful envelopes.
        (One per person, no initial paperwork fee required for new clients, no other discounts apply.)
        We also have (non-discounted) gift certificates for single fist or follow-up visits or just an amount of money towards any services (including massage).
        Please stop by to purchase -- or call us if you prefer to order over the phone.

        Bring a Newbie and Get a Freebie!
        Wednesdays in February

        Share health and help your loved ones discover the nourishing benefits of consistent acupuncture.
        Bring a NEW client with you to Sarana on any Wednesday in February and receive a free return visit for yourself on the same day. Please make separate appointments for both you and your friend - online or by phone.

        Happy Lunar New Year!
        The Year of Yang Wood Horse arrived on January 31st.This new year promises high energy, decisive action and unexpected adventures. Look for a notice about a more in-depth blog post describing what the Horse Year will hold in store in a couple of weeks.


        New Sarana Photos
        Last month Sarana had a professional photo shoot. It was part of Women's Initiative for Self-Employmentproject profiling Tatyana as one of their graduates. Check out the photo album here or on Facebook page. We are really grateful to April Wise for amazing photography and to all our lovely photo model volunteers!

        Volunteers Needed
        We are still looking for a few front desk volunteers.
        Some basic computer skills and ability to multitask while remaining friendly and calm are very helpful. Training is provided. All our volunteers are members of the POCA co-op and regular clients of Sarana.
        Your rewards for your volunteer time include: free acupuncture; the opportunity to learn new skills while supporting Sarana's welcoming, nurturing atmosphere; and enormous gratitude from the rest of the staff and clients.
        To learn more and to apply, please email us info@saranacommunityacupuncture.com, attn: Donna, call the clinic; or just stop by.

        Practitioner Searching For Housing
        Our new acupunk Sean is looking for affordable / shared housing in the East Bay, preferably in the North Berkeley / Albany area. If you have any leads, please send us an email to
        info@saranacommunityacupuncture.com, attn: Sean.

        Help Us Grow!
        We really appreciate you spreading the word about Sarana within your circles. Our rates are affordable because we treat a high volume of clients, and as folks feel better and move on... we need new folks to take care of!

        Things you can do to help:
        • Ask for "friend cards" at the front desk and give them to your family, friends or or co-workers you believe would enjoy and benefit from coming to Sarana
        • Grab some postcards and post them at your local cafe, gym, library branch, health food store, church etc.
        • Tell your chiropractor, massage therapist. yoga teacher, psychotherapist etc. about our clinic and offer them some of our business cards for referrals
        • Like us on Facebook and share our page with your Facebook freinds
        • Leave us feedback on Yelp


        Thank you for your support!