Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Help Us Plan POCA Fest 2013 in Rhode Island

Here's most of the staff of PCA at our last meeting. Even though we have his much fun we actually get a lot done.  And, when we get together with people from other clinics for POCA events, the getting-things-done and the fun are only magnified.
In fact, there's a meeting coming up which you should consider attending. It's the meeting of our POCA Northeast Regional node (folks from clinics all over New England).
We'll be getting together at PCA at 4:00 pm on Saturday, January 12 to really get the planning going for POCAFest 2013, which will take place in N. Scituate May 31 through June 2. If you love community acupuncture, affordable healthcare, cooperative action, local business and/or just having fun with a wonderful group of people, come to the meeting and get involved. Feel free to call or email the clinic with questions.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

POCATech Fundraiser. Five Bucks Buys a Brick

We need your help starting a new acupuncture school where working people can afford to go and learn how to be community acupunks in their own communities. Come into the clinic through the 22nd, "buy a brick", and watch the school grow. (We're building a symbolic leggo school at the clinic with initials of those who donate on each brick).

There is a common challenge that POCA clinics like us face as we get bigger and reach more people. A shortage of punks for growing and new clinics exists.  And there is an even bigger shortage of clinics in places where there are none.  Every week we get emails at pocacoop.com requesting clinics in places where there are none for hundreds or even thousands of miles.  The folks requesting these clinics know someone, a family member or friend, who has suggested community acupuncture, but because there are still so many places without clinics, there are still so many people who cannot access affordable acupuncture treatments. This is where POCA Tech comes in…with the help of POCA Coop. 

POCATech will be POCA Coop’s training institute.  We need affordable community acupuncture education as much as we need affordable acupuncture.  Because of the tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of people now connected through our network of clinics, we know that POCA Tech is not just a dream, but something that we can make a reality if we can connect this next great idea with enough people.

We need to fundraise $125,000 to open POCA Tech’s doors.  In just 3 months we’ve raised almost 1/5 of that and we’re hoping that through our clinics we can raise at least another $25,000 by the end of the year… in $5 increments! That’s 5,000 donations of $5.  If just 200 of our 265 clinics, including us, are able to raise 25 $5 donations that would cover this next chunk of funds that we need.

And then let's all of us imagine that a year from now POCA Tech's first class, including, we're hoping, at least a couple Rhode Islanders, will already have started school… and know that you have been a part of making that happen.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the project

1. What is POCA Tech
POCA Tech is a nonprofit educational corporation, 501(c)(3) status pending.
The POCA Technical Institute is the educational arm of the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, a multi-stakeholder cooperative owned by patients, practitioners, clinics, and supporters of community acupuncture. POCA’s goal is to make acupuncture available and accessible to as many people as possible and to support those providing acupuncture to create stable and sustainable businesses and jobs. POCA Tech’s aim is to provide the cooperative with educational programs that back up its mission.
Its first goal is to create entry-level training programs for acupuncturists that are affordable to prospective students of ordinary incomes.
2. Why do we need POCA Tech?
We need POCA Tech for a few reasons:
a. Acupuncture school is crazy over-priced and most graduates leave school with $60-100K in debt. Fifty percent of acupuncture graduates are not practicing acupuncture after five years. Of those that are practicing, over 60% practice part-time. Most acupuncturist struggle to make a living. We need an affordable alternative that will attract a more diverse population of people and allow practitioners to graduate free of a debt burden.
b.POCA Tech will train people to be community acupuncturists. Community acupuncturists need a different skill set than private room acupuncturists, including highly efficient diagnostic and treatment skills, distal treatment techniques and deep commitments to social justice. Community acupuncture clinics need qualified practitioners and are having a hard time filling acupuncturist positions in their clinics.
3. How much will it cost to attend?
We are still in the planning process, but we plan for the cost to be around $5,800 per year for a period of three years. POCA Tech’s total program costs, including biomedical clinical science prerequisites but not including cost of living, should be about $25,000. POCA Tech will not be part of the student loan system.
4. Can’t POCA Tech apply for funds or big grants from somewhere else?
POCA Tech can once we gain our non-profit status. But POCA also recognizes that community involvement and investment is a key to successful community acupuncture clinics and will be a key to making POCA Tech successful. We need our community as much as our community needs us!
5. Where will POCA Tech be located?
POCA Tech will start in Portland, Oregon. The goal is to grow so that we can open more campuses in New England, the Midwest, and the South. POCA Tech will offer a schedule that allows students to work while in school and will not require relocation to the POCA Tech campus area.
6. You know how you said you love our community acupuncture clinic and that we have drastically changed your life for the better?
If you donate to POCA Tech, you will be helping to spread community acupuncture so more people can feel like you do.

Thank you so much.
And, don't forget, we'll be watching the documentary movie "Community Acupuncture: The Calmest Revolution Ever Staged" this Saturday at 2:30 at the clinic.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bittersweet transition. Goodbye to Ana and hello to Melissa

Photo: We're about to experience a transition here at PCA as one skilled and compassionate acupuncturist leaves us and another joins us. We are so grateful to have gotten to work with Ana Calla for the last year and a half. This is her last week with us. I'm sure she'd love to hear your appreciations and farewells. We will post a goodbye message from Ana on our website early next week. Much love to Ana.

As many of you know, one of our practitioners, Ana Calla, worked 
her last day at PCA on Friday. 
The rest of us are so grateful to have 
been able to work with her for the last 
year and a half. Ana held such a warm and focused space for her patients and is a 
wonderful acupuncturist, speaking from experience.

Share appreciations or farewells on our facebook page if you'd like.

Ana says:

To all at PCA,
Working at PCA was a very enriching experience for me. Not only because I met wonderful people, but because it helped me to understand that a positive attitude is contagions and at the end it is all about caring for one another.
Hasta la vista amigos (so long my friends) with this a thought from Lao Tzu.
"If you are depressed,
you are living in the past.
If you are anxious,
you are living in the future.
If you are at peace,
you are living the present."

And, last week, we posted this from our new acupuncturist, Melissa Tiernan.

Hello PCA community!

I'm so honored and thrilled to join the PCA team in serving the people of Rhode Island. Originally from Cranston, I left lil’ Rhody in 1984 to study for a B.A. in English literature and psychology from Middlebury College in Vermont. I headed west to New Mexico where I lived for 22 years having many adventures, most recently having founded and run a successful community acupuncture clinic there. I knew when I found community acupuncture during acupuncture school that I would never practice any other way. I believe that CA offers one of the best, most comprehensive systems for the treatment and prevention of all sorts of conditions and is one of the most fun ways to be of service to my community. 

In my spare time, I love hiking and exploring, discovering great books, food, and music, and being inspired by new ideas and progressive people. I am looking forward to meeting you and also finding out about all your favorite haunts for chowda, grindas and best beaches for body-surfing, which I plan to do every spare minute to make up for 22 years of living in a desert. Can’t wait to see you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A hello from Melissa Tiernan, our new punk starting in December

(We are so excited to have Melissa join us. She's an experienced and compassionate community acupunk, and we just like her a lot.)

Hello PCA community!

I'm so honored and thrilled to join the PCA team in serving the people of Rhode Island. Originally from Cranston, I left lil’ Rhody in 1984 to study for a B.A. in English literature and psychology from Middlebury College in Vermont. I headed west to New Mexico where I lived for 22 years having many adventures, most recently having founded and run a successful community acupuncture clinic there. I knew when I found community acupuncture during acupuncture school that I would never practice any other way. I believe that CA offers one of the best, most comprehensive systems for the treatment and prevention of all sorts of conditions and is one of the most fun ways to be of service to my community. 

In my spare time, I love hiking and exploring, discovering great books, food, and music, and being inspired by new ideas and progressive people. I am looking forward to meeting you and also finding out about all your favorite haunts for chowda, grindas and best beaches for body-surfing, which I plan to do every spare minute to make up for 22 years of living in a desert. Can’t wait to see you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creating a sensible path to Punkdom.

The last two weeks, we've written about the overwhelming demand for community acupuncture here in Rhody, across the U.S. and Canada, and other places in the world. More clinics are needed. More to the point, many more acupuncturist (punks) are needed to provide the treatments that are so in demand. (*By the way, the PCA team will be joined in early December by a fantastic new punk, a Rhode island native who started her own very successful community acupuncture clinic in the southwest. More about Melissa next week!!)

So, here's one very important way we're going to move affordable acupuncture forward, satisfying the demand, and creating more. Together, punks and patients, clinic founders and volunteers, and other interested stakeholders in affordable natural medicine are pioneering an acupuncture school that WON'T put its students in debt for the rest of their lives and WILL prepare them to do community acupuncture, to do simple, effective but affordable treatments that rely more on the needles and the patients' own bodies/minds and less on some ancient secret wisdom or special powers of the punk.

POCATech is the next natural step in the progression of our movement to create a sustainable business model by which people with ordinary incomes can get regular acupuncture, and we acupuncturists can earn a living wage doing the work we love within our own beloved communities.

Community acupuncture, born in its present form in Portland Oregon through the labors of Lisa Rohleder and Skip Van Meter at Working Class Acupuncture, has grow steadily across the country and beyond, and revealed an almost limitless demand for what we're offering. We created The Community Acupuncture Network which 1) freely shared the know-how and support to committed punks who refused to accept acupuncture as a luxury for the most wealthy, 2) spawned over 100 community acupuncture clinics, and 
3) organized those punks, owners, volunteers and patients into a  cooperative called POCA, which stands for The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture.

Through POCA, our thinking has expanded to include patients, acupuncture students, other health care practitioners, clinic employees. Among and across all of these groups, there is unanimous and urgent support for the idea of creating our own school. Many of us started doing community acupuncture so that our own friends and family and neighbors could actually get regular acupuncture, and get the kind of acupuncture that works in their lives. It's partly the same motivation that drives our vision of POCAtech. My 3 year old son, for example, is very interested in what I do, spends time playing "acupuncturist, loves to come in to the clinic and observe what's happening. He recognizes it as loving, friendly, healing. It's certainly conceivable for him to find himself wanting to be a punk. I want that to be a possibility. And, without POCAtech, it's not.

Please ask us questions about POCATech, how we're going to do it, and how our Rhode Island community will be key to the project. And, please be aware that PCA and Rhode Island will host the annual POCA Fest in the spring of 2013. You are warmly invited to spend a Saturday or all weekend with us. This event is about fun and inclusivity of all parts of our community. We'll be talking coops, clowning, storytelling, envisioning dream clinics in dream locations, meeting each other over board games and good food. And, we'll be moving POCATech closer to reality.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Moving Train of Community Acupuncture

“The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings 
should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Howard  Zinn, from  "You Can't Be Neutral On a Moving Train."

As promised last week, we’d like to say a couple things about our overly busy schedule, the opportunities this represents, and the ways our whole community of stakeholders in affordable healthcare can help.

1) We’re really busy. This is a good thing. Lots of people in RI are finding out about community acupuncture thanks to word of mouth from their friends, loved ones, and co-workers. People tell people when something makes them feel better and have better lives. Because coming for acupuncture makes people feel better and because most people are dead serious about healing (and because visits are affordable for most) lots of people are getting frequent and regular treatments because that's how it works. Of course we’re busy.

2) We need to hire one or two punks, acupunks that is. And we need more clinics in Rhode Island. The demand for affordable, reliable, trustworthy, and noninvasive healthcare is, obviously, limitless. Talk about job creation.

3) It’s extremely hard to find licensed punks to hire that want a real job and know how to do what we’re doing. (This is a bizarre reality; but, we CAN change it with your help.) This crazy fact exists because, even though there are plenty of wonderful and caring people from within our local community who would love to become punks and work with us or open their own clinics, they cannot nearly afford the exorbitant cost of acupuncture school. And, even if they were independently wealthy or were willing to just be in deep debt for the remainder of their lives, the training that they’d receive at said schools, cash cows who cater to people who will treat upper middle class and wealthy patients, would not at all prepare them to communicate with, much less do acupuncture with, lots and lots of working people with normal incomes and busy busy lives.

4) Part of the solution is to create a new acupuncture school, one which working people or students from working families can afford, and which prepares its students for a real, full-time job as an acupuncturist. That way, with a steady influx of well trained and caring new punks, community clinics can continue to flourish. And, new ones can be born right in the communities that need them.

Next week, we'll say a little more about how that can happen, and how we're already on our way! About what you can do to help. And about a very exciting year for Providence Community Acupuncture

In the meantime, feel free to read more about the new school we're actually starting with your help.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

!! What do you mean the schedule is full? !!

You may have noticed that our schedule has been super full lately. Sometimes, patients are having to wait a day or two to get the time slot they want. We wanted to apologize for the inconvenience, and to say that the ability for patients to get treatments when they need and are able to do them is one of our most important ongoing goals. If you need a treatment right now, we want you to be able to have one. We’re working on the jam. The schedule should already have more slack in it and will probably have more by Thanksgiving. Thanks for your patience.

But, there’s a few important implications of this development. Some temporarily frustrating implications, but mostly some exciting implications. Some implications which have to do with cooperatives, and YOU! 

Over the next few weeks, stay tuned here and on facebook for a little discussion about hiring community acupuncturists, starting new clinics, revolutionizing acupuncture training, and about a very fun conference/party this coming spring right outside of Providence. At the annual POCAfest, community acupuncture punks, patients and other community members from all over North America will be getting together to make big plans and have big fun right here in Rhode Island.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Celebrate Labor Day with a Free Acupuncture Session

Thank you all for your hard work, for the honey you've
helped make. Now, come on in, relax and enjoy some
along with a free acupuncture treatment.

Labor Day has come to mean the end of summer for many people, but the meaning of this holiday is a celebration of all the hard work we do. What better way to celebrate hard work than receiving a free relaxing acupuncture treatment. On Sunday September 2nd from 10a.m. to 4p.m, Providence Community Acupuncture will provide free treatments for all newcomers and $5 treatments for existing PCA patients. Call 401-272-2288 to save a spot in advance.

PCA has been on a mission to provide the Providence community with access to affordable, quality acupuncture and to create living wage jobs for our workers since 2007.  Over the past 4 years PCA has been doing just that, now serving on average 300 patients weekly. Through the dedication of the staff, volunteers and patients PCA continues to grow and generate awareness on the benefits of acupuncture.

Over the last three decades acupuncture has developed in the U.S. and continues to increase in popularity for the treatment of both acute and chronic conditions. Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most common and dependable medical therapies used in the world; it has been proven to be exceptionally safe, and effective. It is by nature simple effective health care.

Acupuncturists use thin, sterile disposable needles inserted superficially into specific areas of the body in order to help the body's ability to heal. All PCA acupuncturists are experienced acupuncturist, and licensed by the state of Rhode Island.  They are passionate about providing high quality acupuncture for a wide range of conditions at affordable rates.

So instead of saying farewell to summer renew, recharge and relax with PCA. Skip the beach traffic and join Providence Community Acupuncture for a free relaxing acupuncture session.
For more information, click here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fruits of our Labor

Sunday, September the 2nd, we'll be celebrating all the kinds of work we all do in our worlds with a harvest-type party in and outside the clinic. The theme is Fruits of our Labor. If you'd like to help us prepare the spread, or clean up, or have ideas about the party, please email us at providencecommunityacupuncture@gmail.

And, don't forget to become a member of the new, world-wide cooperative dedicated to seeding and nurturing community acupuncture. Sign up for the people's Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) at https://www.pocacoop.com/membership/join-patientcom/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

While Gathering Recliners

A blog post by Manchester Acupuncture Studio's Andrew Wegman about the simple and important connections made while building and running a community acupuncture clinic.
Originally posted on the website of The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture:

There seems to be some real momentum starting to move forward prepping for a secondManchester Acupuncture Studio clinic here in southern, NH.  For my part this weekend, I'd been out picking up recliners from folks selling their unwanteds on Craigslist. And I'm remembering how much I love the recliner gathering part of opening a clinic.
I don't know if it's simply Glorious summertime in New England, but I'm getting to meet folks who are clearly looking for a connection of some sort - a chance to offer a pat on the back, share a story of two, or making an extra effort to see the recliner off safely.  All to a person, simply show genuine interest in the acupuncture clinic the chair will be working at and the marvel that it fit in the back of my wife's Prius.  
It's been a real treat meeting a kind couple with a rust-colored recliner who happened to know of regular estate sales who will normally have recliners for 'next to nuthin'.  She'll be keeping me in the loop for future reference.
I was equally happy to have met the older man with a red Lane recliner, who's son 'didn't want it any more' who's recent attack of Bell's palsy got him a referral to his local Community Acupuncture clinic in Concord, NH. The last chairs of the day were delivered by a generous Dad with a big truck who lived across town from the clinic, who insisted making a trip so I didn't have to make a second one.  For his troubles, he got to see where his chair will seat many happy fannies.
One could make the observation that our clinics are simply spaces for connections to made; person to clinic, person to new friends and staff and fellow clinic-goers and of course, person to themselves.  I'm remembering the process of gathering for the creation of these spaces, is openly representative of the connections to be made, and a lot of damn fun!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

an Acupunkik Oath

Shared by a comrade from Poke Community Acupuncture in Vancouver, B.C.

Because acupuncture does not have to be 
expensive in order to be effective ∂ Because
military budgets balloon while health care is 
cut ∂ Because nothing breaks through the
isolation of pain, illness and depression like 
healing in a room with other humans ∂ Because
our favourite way to spread the word about how 
well acupuncture works is to make it available to
people ∂ Because we are pleased to challenge 
the notion of value being attached to price
∂ Because there aren’t enough spaces where 
strangers switch off cell phones and slumber
side by side ∂ Because for thousands of years 
acupuncture has been practiced in groups ∂
Because returning acupuncture to its roots makes 
us the happiest of humble radicals ∂ Because
the vast majority of us love our work so much we 
couldn’t imagine doing anything else –
We are a part of the community acupuncture movement.

Creative Commons non-commercial share-alike Canada license

Thursday, May 31, 2012

pregnancy and community acupuncture research

Do you love acupuncture and PCA?
Are you currently pregnant or less than one year postpartum?
Has acupuncture changed your life?
Are you interested in the future role of acupuncture in conventional medical care for pregnant women?

Grace Chow, A Brown University Medical student is doing research this summer on pregnancy and Providence Community Acupuncture.  She is seeking PCA patients to share their stories with her.

Interview subjects will be compensated for their time with a $15 gift certificate to Amazon.com.
Participation in the study is voluntary. Refusal to participate will involve no penalty or loss of
benefits to which you are otherwise entitled. You will still receive acupuncture care at Providence
Community Acupuncture. You may discontinue participation at any time without penalty or loss
of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

Please contact Grace for more information at 516-448-9235 or grace_chow@brown.edu.

Teacher Appreciation Summer Special

$10 treatments for teachers from Friday, June 22 through July 4.

If I Could Teach You, Teacher
If I could teach you, teacher,
I'd teach you how much more
you have accomplished
than you think you have.
I'd show you the seeds
you planted years ago
that are now coming into bloom.
I'd reveal to you the young minds
that have expanded under your care,
the hearts that are serving others
because they had you as a role model.
If I could teach you, teacher,
I'd show you the positive effect
you have had on me and my life.
Your homework is
to know your value to the world,
to acknowledge it, to believe it.
Thank you, teacher.
By Joanna Fuchs

Monday, April 23, 2012

Of promos, POCA, and proletariat. TWO-FOR-ONE SPECIAL THIS WEEK!

Tuesday, May 1st, get a free treatment if you sign up to be a member of our new cooperative, POCA, The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture. Takes probably 5 minutes, and all info is at the front desk. Unless you'd like to read more here.

This day happens to be May Day. We're celebrating the end of winter, if a very mild one, at PCA, and the beginning of warmer weather and more fertile and active times. A very important time to get regular acupuncture to help re-awaken the body and to keep things free-flowing.

May Day is International Worker' Day. We helped start the Community Acupuncture movement so that
people with working class jobs and working class incomes, our friends and family that is, could afford quality natural healthcare. We also believe that most illnesses we treat stem from stresses associated with the struggle to balance work and self-care. We want to do all we can to see that self-care wins, In our world, that's revolutionary. So please join us: for a free treatment for yourself or friend, and in making the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture a strong and sustainable advocate for affordable healthcare for all.

And here's a funny and very serious link about work and stress:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Join Our Cooperative !

PCA is part of The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture. And, NOW, YOU CAN BECOME A MEMBER of our cooperative!. The more of you sign up, the stronger we'll be as a clinic and as a now international movement to make acupuncture more affordable and effective. If you're still wondering why you should become a member, our top ten reasons are below. 
In short, you are the reason we exist, and we want to do more for you and give you the opportunity to have more of a say.

1) To keep acupuncture affordable here in Providence.
2) To get connected to a now international movement and join one of the most fun
and hard working bunch of people you'll ever meet.
3) To help us create community acupuncture clinics in parts of the country that desperately need them.
4) So that you can have more of a say in how we do things.
5) To help create more jobs for acupuncturists in Rhode Island and beyond.
6) To get three "First Treatment Free" cards for use at any clinic.
7) To receive a free birthday treatment every year.
8) To participate in occasional fun-having at the clinic.
9) To find volunteer opportunities within our clinic and within the larger organization.
10) To help provide a working model for sustainable, ethical, and affordable healthcare practice.
11) To receive a subscription to our monthly newsletter, Sticking Together.

I know that's actually eleven reasons. And, there's actually lots more. You can find all the info
and sign up at the clinic.

 By becoming a member you're not committing yourself to any extra work or participation, but you are giving us a huge hand in resource and spirit by supporting us in doing what we do.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why get treated with other people?

In "Strength in Numbers", a community acupunk asks the question "why would you want to receive acupuncture alone? This is a small article from the website of Peoples Organization of Community Acupuncture.

And, if you're interested in that kind of thing, here's a decidedly further out article from one of our own that talks about "group qi".