Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gift Certificates available at Circle CA

Do you have someone in your life who loves acupuncture?
Know somebody who would benefit from acupuncture but has never tried it?

Well, we have the perfect holiday gift idea for you. Circle Community Acupuncture is now offering gift certificates.

At affordable sliding scale rates -- of course!

Contact us for purchasing.
(415) 864-1070

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Party with Chatty Kathy at Circle CA!

Recently a new friend called me talkative and for a moment I was a little worried that hanging out with me made her think to herself, “Cut the cord, chatty Kathy!” It’s true though. I do love to talk. Perhaps it was my upbringing--my parents are both avid conversationalists. My father seems unaware of the fact that once you get him going, he can talk just as much my mother. He’s always joked, “Ask your mother what time it is and she’ll tell you how a watch is made.”

When it comes to the clinic, my urge to talk doesn’t cease. Fortunately, this is helpful because when I see my patients, I need to know how they felt after there last treatment, how are their symptoms and have there been any noticeable changes in their health. Along with the patient’s tongue and pulse, this information helps guide that day’s treatment.

Oftentimes, during the course of a patient talking about their physical and mental well being, they may also mention in passing other things about themselves, such as their parents coming for a visit, an upcoming poetry workshop they’ll be conducting or their recent return to school. These topics interest me too but because of the need to preserve quiet in the clinic and in the interest of time (we want patients to have enough time relaxing quietly with needles in) I often don’t get to hear enough about these aspects of the patients’ life. This was one of the main reasons that Jenn, David and I recently decided to throw a holiday party at the clinic. We wanted a chance to share the space in a different way and to learn more about our patients. So please join us on Saturday, December 13th from 3 to 6. Come enjoy good food, drink and of course…conversation!


Monday, December 1, 2008

New article about Circle CA

This month's issue of 944 Magazine has an article about Circle CA. To see a preview of the article, click the image below, and then select the San Francisco edition. It will give you a page by page slide show of the entire magazine. We are on p.37.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wanted: More chairs!

We are in the market for more recliners for the clinic. As the clinic becomes busier, there is a need for more chairs to seat patients. If you have a lead on a nice used recliner looking for a home, send us a message.

"La-Z-Boy" style recliners in used but good condition. Color and material is not important because they end up being covered with sheets.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One month!

This Friday was our one month anniversary. Wow. I'm still reeling at the idea we are open, and so much has happened in the past four weeks that it feels like a year has been compressed into one short month.

Here is the quick breakdown:
Sept 17th, opening day: free acupuncture -- 21 treatments in 4 hours.
Sept 21-26, Week 1: 37 treatments
Sept28 - Oct3, Week 2: 27 treatments
Oct5 - 10, Week 3: 38 treatments
Oct 12-17, Week 4: 47 treatments
Total number of acupuncture treatments in one month = 170!

What this means:
Most of those treatments are returning patients, many of whom came more than once a week. These are people who are coming in getting acupuncture often, and as a result they are feeling better, and seeing improvements in their health. Best of all, they can afford it.

Some patient experiences I had in this time:

The first is a young woman who has been experiencing migraines for more than a decade. Pain, is only part of her migraine experience; she also experiences shaking limbs, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. She told me that she had to "migraine-proof" her apartment to prevent her from hurting herself if she passes out during an attack. I've been seeing her two or three times a week since we opened. A week and a half ago she told me that this was the first time she has been symptom-free in months.

The next three all occurred this week. Each was suffering from severe back pain. A sign-maker, a grocer, and a dance choreographer. The sign-maker called early in the week and came in that day. She has bulging discs at L4-L5/S1, and rated her pain at a 7 out of 10. She left without any pain, and minimal pressure. On her second visit, she left without any complaints, and is coming back for follow-ups until her vacation at the end of the month. The grocer came in the next night, and was unable to bend over or stand up with out strong pain in his right lumbar region. On his way out he demonstrated his ability to touch his toes without pain. He's coming in for a follow-up later in the week. The dance-choreographer was a drop-in visit. He was in so much pain that he was doubled over, and unable to straighten out. He left with 50% improvement, and is returning for follow-ups this week until he is 100%. Each of them left with a smile.

I'm not relaying these experiences to brag about how great an acupuncturist I am. I'm not. I'm still pretty fresh out of school, and leaning from more experienced acupuncturists. The reason these people feel better is because they are able to come in often enough, and frequently enough to get better.

In one short month, I've personally experienced the beauty of the Community Acupuncture model. I first learned about it almost two years ago when I read some articles written by Lisa Rohleder at Working Class Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon. From that time on, I knew that I would open a Community Acupuncture clinic. What I didn't know was how exciting and enriching it would be once it was open. After one month, I'm looking forward to many more years.

Monday, October 6, 2008

September 17, 2008: A Birthday Bash to Remember

September 17 was a big day for us here at Circle Community Acupuncture. Not only was it our Grand Opening, it was also resident acupuncturists David and Jennifer's 38th birthday -- born a mere 20 minutes apart, David in Austin, Texas, and Jennifer in Torrance, California. Who would have known these 2 Virgos would end up opening an acupuncture clinic together, along with their wonderful and witty Libran classmate, Melissa Craven.

The day started out with a bang! Between 12pm and 4pm, all 7 of our recliners were full with happy folks taking us up on our free four hours of celebratory acupuncture. The resounding theme of the day was people telling us what "great energy" our clinic has. For me at least, there could be no greater compliment (other than "you've cured me of all my ills!"). I have to agree with them -- We do have a very special spot here in the SOMA neighborhood, calm, serene, light, and spacious, with palpable good healing energy.

Then from 5-8pm we invited all of our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors for some tea, champagne, and wonderful healthy snacks catered by David's lovely wife Meghan (with adorable son Austin in tow). Thank you for all the beautiful plants everybody! They're exactly what we needed. Here are some pictures from that day. I hope you enjoy them. A joyous day indeed.

Happy Autumn,


Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'm smiling

This week, I had an experience that drove home to me the reason I love doing Community Acupuncture. I had a patient come in early in the week who complained of being absolutely exhausted and dizzy after getting over an intestinal flu. I treated him and explained that he would receive the most benefit if he could come in for several treatments during the week. I saw him three times in five days, and after the last treatment, he emailed me to let me know he felt better than he had in weeks.

Why is this special to Community Acupuncture?
If I ran a normal private practice, and told him he needed to come in three times in one week, at $50 to $100 per visit (these are the average rates in our fair City -- many practitioners charge even more!), he probably would have been unable to do so due to the financial burden. With our sliding scale, he was able to come in as much as needed, and ended up feeling much better in a very short amount of time -- at a total cost less than a single private treatment!

This is what community acupuncture is about. Providing a realistic opportunity to receive proper health care.
My job makes me smile.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome Letter

Welcome to Our Community!

Please take a minute to read this introduction to our clinic and to our community. We are delighted that you are interested in joining us!

What is different about Circle Community Acupuncture?

We treat in a community setting -
Most US acupuncturists treat patients on tables in individual cubicles. This is not traditional in Asia, where acupuncture usually occurs in a community setting. In our clinic we primarily use recliners, clustered in groups in a large, quiet, soothing space. Treating patients in a community setting has many benefits: it’s easy for friends and family members to come in for treatment together; many patients find it comforting; and a collective energetic field becomes established which actually makes individual treatments more powerful. Many people fall asleep, and wake feeling refreshed.

We have a sliding scale
Most US acupuncturists also see only one patient per hour and charge $65 to $175 per treatment. They tend to spend a long time talking with each patient, going over medical records, asking many questions. We don’t. The only way that we at Circle Community Acupuncture can make acupuncture affordable and still make a living ourselves is to streamline our treatments and see multiple patients in an hour, so we have returned to the traditional approach; instead of asking you lots of questions, we rely on pulse diagnosis to decide how to treat you. This is exactly how acupuncture is practiced traditionally in Asia -- many patients per hour and very little talking.

Our sliding scale is from $15 to $35 per session.
You decide how much you can afford! At Circle Community Acupuncture, we understand that financial circumstances can change, so if you want to pay $25 one week, and $15 the next, that is fine.

Because we have a sliding scale, we cannot do insurance billing (that’s the insurance companies’ rule). If you have insurance that covers acupuncture, we’ll be happy to give you a payment receipt, and you can submit it; that’s OK with the insurance companies.

Our Commitment to You

We want to make it possible for you to receive acupuncture regularly enough and long enough to get better and stay better. We want our community to be welcoming to all different kinds of people. We want to give you the tools to take care of your own health so that you will not need to rely on corporations like Big Insurance or Big Pharmaceuticals for costly, high-tech interventions. We will provide a safe environment with skilled practitioners.

What We Need From You

Circle Community Acupuncture does not receive grants, state or federal money, or insurance reimbursement. We exist because patients pay for their treatments – it a sustainable community business model.

The community setting requires some flexibility from you. For instance, many patients have a favorite recliner. When we are busy, someone may be sitting in yours. Similarly, a few patients may snore. Other patients who dislike snoring should bring earplugs to their treatments. We are grateful for this! Some of our patients might even bring favorite pillows or blankets from home with them, because they prefer theirs to ours. That’s fine with us. Basically, we need you to participate in making yourself comfortable in the community room before we arrive to treat you.

In terms of how long you want to stay -- tell the receptionist, when you check in, if you need to be somewhere at a certain time! If you want to be leave at a specific time, let the acupuncturist know at the beginning of your session. We’ll make sure you’re out on time. In general, if you feel done, open your eyes and give us a meaningful look -- if your eyes are closed, we think you’re asleep and we won’t wake you up.

The soothing atmosphere in our clinic exists because all of our patients create it by relaxing together. We appreciate everyone’s presence! This kind of collective stillness is a rare and precious thing in our rushed and busy society. Maintaining this reservoir of calm requires that no one talk very much in the clinic space. If you would like to speak to a practitioner one-on-one at any length, please let us know. If you want to have a substantial conversation, we will probably need to schedule that separately and might need to do it by phone.

Please take all personal belongings, (bags, shoes, etc.) with you back into the treatment room. And of course, please turn off your cell phone.

Acupuncture is a PROCESS. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to resolve a problem with one treatment. In China, a typical treatment protocol for a chronic condition could be acupuncture every other day for three months! Most of our patients don’t need that much acupuncture, but virtually every patient requires a course of treatment, rather than a single treatment, in order to get what they want from acupuncture.

On your first visit, your acupuncturist will suggest a course of treatment, which can be anything from “we’d like to see you once a week for six weeks” to “we’d really like to see you every day for the next four days”. This suggestion is based on our experience with treating different kinds of conditions. If you don’t come in often enough or long enough, acupuncture probably won’t work for you. The purpose of our sliding scale is to help you make that commitment. If you have questions about how long it will take to see results, please ask us, or if you think you need to adjust your treatment plan, please let us know. We need you to commit to the process of treatment in order to get good results.

And, last, but not least….enjoy the space. We do, and hope that Circle Community Acupuncture can be an important part of your community.

Thank you,
Circle Community Acupuncture Staff

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More Community Acupuncture on Public Radio

Andy Wegman of Manchester Acupuncture Studio, in Manchester, NH interviewed about Community Acupuncture by New Hampshire Public Radio.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Photos of the (almost ready) clinic!

Here is a sneak preview of what the clinic looks like. It's almost ready, except for some last minute details, and some much needed artwork for the walls.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Community Acupuncture on Market Place

On Tuesday, September 2nd, the American Public Media produced radio show Marketplace aired a segment on Philadelphia Community Acupuncture. Take a few minutes and listen.

Listen here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We have a space!

We found a space for the clinic. More details in a few days...