Friday, July 10, 2009

Community Acupuncture Discussion

Blogger extraordinaire, brownfemipower (bfp), is hosting a read-along/discussion of the book, Acupuncture is Like Noodles, over at the Detroit Community Acupuncture website

So far she's posted an introduction, a Part I and Part II.

The discussion is open to all, and we're particularly encouraging other patients, other healthcare providers, community organizers, small "social business" owners, and other folks who are involved in social justice projects, etc., to contribute their observations, questions, critique, etc. Of course CA punks and other acupuncturists are encouraged to join in! I think bfp will be doing most of the moderating, and DCA Nora will jump in for questions and clarification.

Come on over!

(Oh, and if you don't have the book yet, ask for it at Circle Community Acupuncture, or order it online from WCA.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What's new?

New Art...
Our Wednesday evening front-desk volunteer, Adriana Atema, has kindly hung some of her artwork in the clinic. Next time you come in, make sure to check out her beautiful paintings.  

For a view of more of her artwork, go to her website

Massage on Sundays...
Kristen Florey is now available for Community Massage on Sundays, as well as Wednesdays.  
Book appointments online or call the clinic (415-864.1070)

New Chairs...
We recently purchased two new (to us) lazy-boy recliners. It has been our experience that most people prefer to sit in the lazy-boys instead of the zero-gravity recliners during their treatments. If you do like the zero-gravity chairs -- don’t worry we still have those available.

Thank you,
David, Jenn, Melissa

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Do you know someone that has been curious about acupuncture? In need of a treatment and needs a little push to get to Circle Community Acupuncture? Throughout the month of June, after each acupuncture treatment you will receive a Friend Card. The cards are good for one free treatment for first time patients at Circle CA.

We have come to think of our patients as our friends. Every time you come in we are genuinely happy to see you. Help us extend that feeling to your friends by inviting them to join us. If you enjoy your experiences at Circle CA, go ahead and share them by passing on a Friend Card.  

Cards are good for one new-patient treatment and will be honored until July 31st. Friends with cards can make appointments to come in the same time you do, or at anytime convenient for their schedule. 

We look forward to meeting your friends.

(please excuse the picture for this entry, I couldn't help my self)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Have you ever wanted to know more about acupuncture? Wondered what Community Acupuncture is? Would you like to know how acupuncture is like a bowl of noodles?

We are now selling the new book, "Acupuncture is Like Noodles", written by Lisa Rohleder, the founder of Working Class Acupuncture.

This book covers the above topics and more. It is written for patients, students, and acupuncturists. It addresses acupuncture and health care through the lens of class-politics, and includes a detailed view of how to run a Community Acupuncture clinic.

If you would like to purchase a copy, we are selling it at the clinic -- sliding scale (of course) $15 to $25.

Call or come by to pick up your copy!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day!!!

I’ve been lucky enough to have my mom in town for the last three weeks. This is her first visit since the clinic opened. I was really excited for her to see the space and to meet Jenn and David. From the beginning, she and my dad have been nothing but supportive when it came to the clinic. I was pretty sure she would love what she helped me create with Jenn and David.
I brought her to Circle on her second day in town. Right away she liked the look and feel of the clinic. She seemed really comfortable when I gave her a treatment that day too.
This past Friday, on my day off together, we booked appointments with Jenn and David. We were both in need of some acupuncture. I’m always telling people that I really like the fact that at Circle, family and friends can come and receive acupuncture together. Its great catching two patients who know each other making faces at each other across the room. I thought my mom and I would joke a little too but in fact, we settled into our chairs quickly and once our needles were in, we both passed out and took naps side by side.
I’ve had a lot of fun with my mom this visit. We’ve packed quite a bit into these last few weeks--seeing old friends, having her meet new ones and showing off a city that I love. But I think my most memorable times from this visit of hers will be showing her the clinic for the first time and sharing some quiet time with her getting some acupuncture. Now, if only I could get my Pops on an airplane...


Friday, May 1, 2009

Circle CA and "swine flu"

Recently there has been growing media attention and concern around the possibility of a H1N1 (“swine flu”) pandemic. We would like to address how this might affect you as a patient at Circle Community Acupuncture.

At Circle CA, we have always had a policy of treating anyone with common cold / flu symptoms, and following basic procedures to reduce the risk to others in the clinic (changing sheets, washing hands and using sanitizers, cleaning with antiseptic wipes.) We will continue to take the same precautions, and offer treatments to those who need them with one basic modification. If you are a patient with a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, AND have a severe cough that is hard to control, we will ask you to post-pone coming into Circle CA until these symptoms start to show some improvement. If your symptoms become severe, please consult with an M.D. When you come in for a treatment, if you continue to have an uncontrollable expressive cough, we might ask you to wear a surgical mask out of consideration for others in the room.

We would like to ask everyone to avoid reacting with panic to the recent news coverage of the spread of H1N1 flu. At the time of writing this, only 14 cases have been confirmed in the entire State of California resulting in zero deaths. In the United States people who have contracted H1N1 have had mild symptoms with very few hospitalizations. 

The following is from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (

How to Protect Yourself
First and most important: wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethyl alcohol.

There is currently no need to avoid general public gatherings, public transit or school, or for healthy persons to wear masks.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Droplets from a cough or sneeze move up to 6 feet through the air. Some viruses can live up to 24 hours or longer on surfaces such as counters, tables, and door handles. Frequent hand washing will help kill swine flu virus.

If You are Sick or Think You May Have Swine Flu
In the USA swine flu cases have had mild disease, very similar to regular seasonal flu. 

 People who are mildly sick should stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and treat their symptoms with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). People with mild disease do not need to see the doctor or get swine flu testing. See our Flu Home Care Guide [English] [Spanish] for more information. 

If you have difficulty breathing, dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea, a fever that remains >101 after taking acetaminophen, or are severely ill, you should seek medical care. Please call the doctor's office before going there, so that they can make arrangements for your arrival.

As a courtesy to others, if you are sick you should wash your hands frequently and consider wearing a surgical mask to help avoid spreading your flu viruses to other people.

Lastly, we at Circle CA would recommend one last bit of advice for protecting yourself… keep informed! Below are some helpful links for information:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Here is a quick FAQ-video made by our friend Nora at Detroit Community Acupuncture.  It is cute, bizarre, and purely for laughs.  Feel free to share it with your friends.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vote for Circle CA!!!

Circle CA has been nominated as one of the best places for acupuncture in the City. Please cast your vote for us. Doing so sends the message that not only is acupuncture a great and affective means of healthcare, but that it can and shoud be affordable!

Here is the link.

Thank you very much,
David, Jen, and Melissa

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Cleaning Party!

Spring Time is here! On April 4th, from 3PM to 6PM, we will have our first annual Spring Cleaning at Circle CA. We are asking you to give us a hand with the clean-up. In exchange for your help, we will provide snacks and a gift-certificate worth one free acupuncture treatment -- save it for yourself or give it to a friend.

If you would like to help us out for an hour or so, give us a call and let us know if you plan to attend. Just bring yourself and clothes that you don't mind getting a little dirty.

for contact info:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How often should I come for Acupuncture?

At Circle CA, we want you to experience maximum relief from your health complaints in the shortest amount of time possible. Often times, you will notice improvement in your condition after just the first or second visit; however, it is common for this to only be a temporary improvement. For acupuncture to have a lasting affect, it is best to receive it frequently and often enough for a cumulative improvement in your health.  

When you come in for your first treatment, your acupuncturist will speak to you about a treatment plan that is best for you. Below are some basic guidelines that apply to most conditions.

If your problem is new, for example back strain from recent overexertion, then you will experience the best benefit from multiple visits in a short period of time. You should receive two or three treatments in a week for a period of one or two weeks. By this time, your problem should be much better, and you and your practitioner can determine if further treatments are necessary.

If you have a long-term problem that you are addressing, then it is usually best to start with a round of treatments close together for a period of time and then slowly increase the amount of time between treatments. This is especially true if you are experiencing a recent flare-up of a chronic problem. For example, let’s say you are coming in for insomnia that you’ve experienced for many months or years, and that it has been very bad for one month. In this case it is best to come in two or three times a week until you notice a noticeable change in the insomnia – usually for two weeks or a month. Once the condition has started to improve to the point that you have better sleep most nights of the week, then the amount of time between treatments can be stretched to once a week. After that occasional maintenance visits should be enough to prevent further problems.

If you are seeking relief from uncontrollable events, such as job related stress or the common cold, then it is best to think of acupuncture as a tool to help you get through those periods. While acupuncture cannot change the fact that your job causes you stress, or that you sat next to someone with the flu on the bus, it can help alleviate the affects of these external pressures. During those times, come in once or twice a week, or as often as you need to alleviate the symptoms.

If you are relatively healthy, and would like to include acupuncture as a part of a preventative regimen, then feel free to come in once a week or every other week. If you listen to your body and pay attention to your emotional state, you will have a good understanding of when it is time to come in.

Please keep in mind that the above guidelines are only suggestions. If your schedule can only accommodate one visit per week, acupuncture can still be of benefit to you. Less frequent acupuncture is better than no acupuncture. If you are coming less often than the suggested guidelines, you will still receive benefits; however it may take longer before the results “stick” and you experience lasting benefit. If you are unable to come as frequently as suggested, please let your practitioner know, so that you may discuss a realistic timeline for treatment and assessing progress.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Triple Base Gallery "Open for the Making" night

On Saturday, February 7th, we hosted the Triple Base Gallery "Open for the Making" Residence for Creativity. The residency members arrived at the gallery, and we had an open discussion about Community Acupuncture and the history of acupuncture in the Bay Area. The participants were very excited by the story of Miriam Lee and her pioneering efforts.

After the talk, all of the participants received a treatment of Miriam Lee's 10 magic points. This allowed them to experience the group healing of Community Acupuncture, and to have a shared experience of receiving the same protocol collectively.

New Additions to Circle CA

Has anyone noticed the new additions to the clinic?

For starters, we hung a bulletin board in the bathroom. David, Jenn and I knew we needed a place to post information about the clinic but we also wanted to provide our patients a place to announce events they may be associated with or services they provide (such as counseling). So please feel free to grab a thumbtack from the board and put up that flyer telling about your band’s upcoming show, your friend’s art opening, or your business card.

Also, last weekend we acquired another recliner widening our circle a bit more. Try it out if its free the next time you’re getting a treatment. We think you’ll like it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Miriam Lee!

“To practice acupuncture, you must be certain of your intention, your purpose in doing so. It can be done for fame or wealth, to cure or to kill. If the intention is wrong, if you are concentrating on earning money, treating fewer patients and charging higher fees, doing little for much profit, you may get some results from your treatments or you may not….

… But, if you intend to cure, you use all your might to treat patients. You study, you concentrate, you learn all you can. Then when you are with your patients, the best of your knowledge and technique comes to you.”

                       --Miriam Lee, Insights of a Senior Acupuncturist

Who is Miriam Lee, and what does she mean to us at Circle Community Acupuncture? She stands in my mind as one of the true role models for acupuncturists. Born in China, she worked as a nurse and a midwife and later learned acupuncture. She moved to Singapore and later to the San Francisco, Bay Area.  

When she arrived in California, it was illegal to practice acupuncture, so she took a job on an assembly line. However, she found it impossible to not offer her skills, and was soon seeing patients clandestinely. Over time, her reputation grew, and her clientele out grew her ability to practice at home. One anecdote she tells is of the steps to her back porch collapsing due to the number of people waiting to receive a treatment from her. Eventually, she found a sympathetic M.D. who allowed her to work out of his office during the off hours.

In 1974 Miriam Lee was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. Her patient’s filled the courthouse at her hearing, and demanded to have the right to receive acupuncture. Many of them had found relief from long-standing chronic complaints, and were angered that this was being taken away from them. Miriam Lee had offered them compassion and health, and now they came to her defense. Thanks to this public outcry, acupuncture was declared an “experimental procedure” and Miriam Lee was granted the right to see patients at SFU. In 1976, acupuncture was legalized in California.

I have never had the opportunity to meet Ms. Lee. When I talk to people who had the chance to work in her clinic, they say it was a multiple-bed space with patients being treated in the same room. At her busiest, she was treating 10 patients an hour, and up to 80 patients a day.

It is clear to me that Miriam Lee is someone who saw the power of acupuncture and was compelled to offer it to as many people as possible. She could have set up shop in a small office and treated one or two people per hour, and charged quite a lot of money for her treatments. Instead, she worked from the heart, and worked in a manner that allowed her to help as many people as she could. At Circle CA, we hold Miriam Lee’s example close to our hearts. I hope  when I am her age and retired, that I can say, I helped as many people as I could, so please spread the word.  If you have experienced benefit from acupuncture at Circle CA, let people know that acupuncture can help, and that it can be affordable.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It begins with Acupuncture...

[Originally posted here...]

There were two catalysts that led to my realization that I wanted to do a CA clinic.  The first was reading The Remedy (get it and read it if you haven't.)  The second was discovering Tan's Balance Method and Tung style acupuncture.

Reading  The Remedy was great -- it opened my eyes to the possibility of running a successful clinic without selling my soul.  I saw that this was the way I wanted to run a clinic -- a lot of patients at an affordable rate.  It made sense and it felt comfortable.  Right away, as a third year student, I started formulating plans on how to run a clinic.  But, in my head I kept straying from the model created by Working Class Acupuncture.  What if we use tables instead of chairs?  How about hospital curtains for privacy?  Should we include more time and privacy for intakes?  I loved the idea of CA, but I couldn't make it jive with what I was learning in school.  Then I discovered Tan.

I'd heard of Balance Method before, but didn't really pay attention -- Tan's website looked too cheesy and not "professional" enough, so I immediately dismissed it as not "real TCM."  Luckily two classmates were experimenting with BM in the student clinic and bragging about their results.  I gave it a second look, and bought his first book (12 and 12.)  I till remember the first time I put in Ling Ku and Da Bai in a patient, asked her to wiggle her aching back.  She looked confused for a few seconds and then got a big smile on her face.  It was gone.  I almost bust out laughing and couldn't keep the goofy grin off my face, I think I was even more thrilled than my patient.

That first experience changed me.  I became a Tan-a-maniac and spent all of my time studying everything I could get my hands on -- his books, every inch of his forum, notes from friends that attended his seminars -- I soaked it in.  After being burned out by three years of school, I was suddenly in love with acupuncture again.  All of the beauty and power that had originally drawn me to the medicine was finally in front of me.

More importantly, CA finally made sense to me.  Now I understood how you could treat back pain in a recliner, and why I didn't need a 30 minute intake that bordered on becoming a psychotherapy session to formulate a treatment plan for a patient experiencing depression.  Here was a method that was simple and worked.

Learning Tan and Tung also allowed me to look more critically at the education I received.  Much of what I learned was not necessary for running a CA.  Much of my time in school, I had a strong feeling that something wasn't right.  I knew the education was inflated and that the school was mostly a money factory for a few lucky administrators, but I didn't know what was missing.  It took the beautiful simplicity of Tan's style to realize that much of my education was window dressing to rake in students, and to "legitimize" the profession in the eyes of people who didn't giving a rat's ass about our profession.

If you are looking at this website for information on how to start a CA, then my advice is make sure you know a good meridian-based approach to acupuncture. It doesn't have to be Tan or Tung, but it does need to be something that allows you to work quickly and confidently. Combine this with The Remedy and the information in the CAN forum, and you will have a recipe for successfully treating and helping a lot of people.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Commnity Tui Na with David Lesseps

Starting February 2nd, Circle Community Acupuncture will offer community tui na every Monday.

Tui Na is the therapeutic massage of Chinese medicine. It uses pressure, rolling, stretching, pinching, shaking, kneading, joint mobilization, and traction to soothe the body of aches and to vitalize one's energy. It can also incorporate glass fire cupping and gua sha (scraping) for specific complaints.

Tui Na sessions can range from just a few minutes of attention on one problem area, to over an hour of full body massage. Techniques are administered with the patient lying on a table or sitting on a stool and usually remaining fully clothed.

David Lesseps is one of the owners of Circle CA and as well as being a licensed acupuncturist he is also a certified massage therapist specializing in Tui Na. On Monday evenings he will be available for tui na appointments or drop-in sessions.

Rates: $1/minute. Available in 15 minute increments all the way up to 90 minutes.

For more information, contact the clinic

New Hours!

In February, Circle Community Acupuncture will have new hours of operation.

Starting February 1st, our hours will be:

3PM to 8PM Monday -- Thursday
11AM to 5PM Friday
Closed Saturday
11AM to 4PM Sunday

Please let us know if you have any questions