Written by: Carrie Sawtell
When I was first dreaming of opening a community acupuncture clinic, I was living in China. Even though I was overseas, POCA (the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture) gave me all of the tools I needed: a complete clinic start-up guide, a business plan, financial spreadsheets, and an online forum on which to ask questions from other community acupuncturists. When I moved back to the States, I took POCA’s weekend course focused on how to open and run a community acupuncture clinic called “Community Acupuncture 101.”
I met Heather Finn online through the POCA website while I was still in China, and we met in person as soon as I moved to Connecticut. Within a year she had joined the Many Rivers’ team. Mary Cole and I met soon afterwards at a POCA seminar. At that time, she was working with one of my POCA mentors, Andy Wegman, at his Manchester, NH, community acupuncture clinic. Little did I know that Mary would also be joining us at Many Rivers!
POCA continues to support our clinic every day. We attend POCA seminars with classes that help us market the clinic effectively, work cooperatively with each other and with our patients, and enhance our acupuncture skills. When we have questions, we have a whole network of other community acupuncturists who gladly answer our questions and offer advice.
Right now, we are looking for another acupuncturist to join our team, so that we can bring back Saturday hours (and possibly expand our hours even more). Finding a good community acupuncturist is like finding a needle in a haystack. The type of acupuncture we practice (Balance Method Acupuncture) is not taught during the 4-year Master’s degree in most Chinese Medical schools. So we have to find someone who not only has undergone the additional training necessary to practice this style of acupuncture, but also is committed to the cause of providing affordable and accessible acupuncture to as many people as possible.
The good news is that POCA has started its own community acupuncture school, POCA Tech. In a few years, we will have graduates ready and able to work in community acupuncture clinics across the country.
The annual dues paid by POCA members directly support all of POCA’s amazing programs: the POCA Tech school, the POCA continuing education seminars for community acupuncturists, the POCA online forums and wikis, and the micro-loan program that assists new clinics who are just starting out but need the funds to get their clinics open.
Our dream is for a community acupuncture clinic in every town, big and small. So that anyone who is in pain, or depressed, or just needs a quiet hour surrounded by caring people, can have a clinic near them.
POCA can help make that dream a reality. Click here to become a member today!