I Tried It! Community Acupuncture

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Acupuncture needles are the width of two human hairs.

Acupuncture needles are the width of two human hairs.

Acupuncture has been gaining popularity in the Western world for many years. The World Health Organization has even acknowledged that it is beneficial for certain health issues. While some insurance companies still don’t provide coverage for the treatment, there are other options sprouting up all over the country that help provide the service for a reduced rate. One of those services is Community Acupuncture, where the sessions are given to multiple people in the same room. Since everyone is essentially sharing the cost, instead of paying $100 per session, clients typically pay between $20-30. 

Even though I was nervous about it, and skeptical it would even help me, I gave community acupuncture a try and found it to be the calmest and most relaxing 45 minutes of my life. After the treatment, I also felt like I was completely chill and nothing could bother me for the rest of the afternoon. 

I booked my session on a day when I was feeling extra tense and full of anxiety. As I walked into the room, where 6-8 other people were in various stages of receiving treatment, I still felt nervous. Relaxing into a comfortable recliner, I took off my shoes, socks and jacket, as requested. I was also instructed to roll up my pants to knee level and roll up my sleeves or remove my jacket so my mid-arm (think elbow area) would be exposed. Stretching back on the recliner and placing a yoga eye pillow over my face, I tried to calm down for a moment before removing the pillow and watching the acupuncturist place needles in another client across the room. Since I didn’t really know what to expect, I was curious to see what would happen to me in a few short minutes.

An example of a Community Acupuncture room in Florida. (Photo via)

An example of a Community Acupuncture room in Florida. (Photo via)

Finally, the acupuncturist made her way to my recliner and told me a few ways to get more comfortable in the seat. Then she looked at my intake paperwork and asked me a few simple questions. On the paperwork, I was asked to list three health ailments I was currently dealing with and seeking treatment for. 

The acupuncturist then told me to put the eye pillow back on and said she would start putting the needles in. Starting on my left leg, she inserted the needles and it was relatively painless, except for on one spot right below my knee cap. That needle seemed to sting for about five seconds after it was inserted and I later found out that the spot Zusanli (also known as Stomach-36 or “Leg Three Miles”) corresponds to my stomach, which had been experiencing a lot of difficulties, including acid reflux. 

Oddly enough too, I only felt the needles go in my left side of the body, and I didn’t feel a thing on the right. Possibly that showed another energetic imbalance and made me glad I went in for a session to get my energy flowing properly again.

Acupuncture can be used to treat a myriad of issues.

Acupuncture can be used to treat a myriad of issues.

After all of the needles were in (including ones at the top of my head and in my ears – I didn’t feel them at all!), the acupuncturist told me to relax and feel free to fall asleep and she would wake me up in 45 minutes. No worrying about watching the clock or anything else – I was in relax mode. With my vision blocked by the pillow, I felt a little nervous and sensory deprived, but the room was warm and soft music played in the background. 

I thought about general life stuff for a few minutes and then started doing some deep breathing to get my monkey mind to calm down. Time absolutely flew by and before I knew it, a whisper in my ear woke me up and the needles were removed, without pain or problems.

Then the acupuncturist told me to stand up slowly and not move quickly, as some people feel lightheaded after their first session. Acupuncture helps to maintain equilibrium in the body and the needles help regulate the flow of the body’s energy, and sometimes the energy shift can cause lightheadedness or a floating sensation.

After my session, I was quick to book a second appointment. The end result felt like a massage and a yoga session, without even moving from a chair, and I'm hooked. Community Acupuncture will continue to be part of my healthy lifestyle routine. 

This is the story of how a small group of loud-mouthed, over-educated, under-employed activists and a massive group of ordinary people with average incomes revolutionized healthcare systems by using large empty rooms, old recliner chairs, and two-cent needles.