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Did you know that community acupuncture is happening all around Portland? You may have heard someone mention a “community” or “group” acupuncture clinic they’d been to, but wondered what exactly they were talking about.

Community acupuncture is a mission! Its aim is to make acupuncture accessible to a broader economic spectrum than only those who have health insurance, or can afford private treatment rates. It’s low cost, low frills, effective acupuncture, facilitated in group settings by licensed acupuncturists. The community acupuncture movement is alive around the country and it has a huge presence here in Portland!

At a community acupuncture clinic, there may be from four to a dozen reclining chairs and massage tables arranged for maximum comfort in an aesthetic, if sometimes Spartan environment. There is usually a waiting and/or payment area. You may hear soft music wafting through the room, the lighting is peaceful, people speak in a slight hush. When you enter, there may be a few folks who’ve already been given a treatment by the acupuncturist on staff and are resting with the needles. There is a lulling, nurturing sense brought about by all who are present, who’ve taken an hour out of the rush of the city day, to rebalance the health and flow of their bodies via the gentle persuasion of acupuncture treatment.

What ailments can acupuncture help? There are many! Acupuncture is best known for its effectiveness in relieving body pain due to injury or aging, arthritis, headaches, menstrual, digestive, just about any sort of pain in the body may respond well to acupuncture. Other conditions include women’s health, sleep issues, health maintenance from pregnancy to labor, childhood, adolescence to seniors, immune support, including treatment of wintertime colds and flus, as well as seasonal allergies and asthma, skin problems, mental and emotional rebalancing, adjunct support for cancer patients, the list goes on. Nowadays, people are learning to turn to modalities like acupuncture to assist in handling day to day life stress, which we know can be disruptive to our health and well being.

Prices for treatments at community clinics will vary, some operate on a sliding scale basis, others offer a flat fee. The usual range for an acupuncture treatment at a community clinic is $15 to $35. Some clinics will have a nominal extra fee at the first visit for an initial patient intake. There are several community clinics in each quadrant of the city, where group treatments are either an option to private treatments, or where community style treatments are the sole mission of the clinic. Several of the clinics participate in the Community Acupuncture Network, www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org, others may be located by googling “community acupuncture Portland OR”. Still more clinics may have flyers posted on neighborhood bulletin boards.

So now, when a friend tells you they had a great experience at group acupuncture or when you see a “Community Acupuncture” flyer posted at the corner coffee hub, you’ll know the drill!

Quitting tobacco is HAARD!! They put tobacco next to heroine for being tough to kick, and staying clean till you’re really over it can be some hurdles too. In this intensive program you do your work to release your tobacco habit with the intentional solidarity of peers. Everybody grinds out the workday knowing they are not alone in their commitment to abstain. Then comes evening and we gather, and you are transported to the peaceful inner oasis and stillness of acu-land, where all is right with your life and everything is possible!!

We meet the Sunday nite before the program starts, a get acquainted session, no needles. We talk about habits and their place in our lives, there is support to share, but it’s fine also to be silent and witness. We are doing this together to create safety and nurturance, that we may invoke a potent collective objective- to become liberated from a habit which holds less fulfillment than it once gave, or poses us a critical health challenge, or some of both, and from which we are ready to become free.

I’ll go over diet ideas that I recommend everyone follow and explain why they are good ideas, suggest some priorities, so you can at least work towards if not strictly follow the ideal food plan (it’s hard enuf to give up cigarettes right?!) Then everyone gets herbs, one formula to help stay grounded and calm, the other for the phlegm crud which starts to move after a week or so of not smoking. Next we make the schedule for everyone’s treatments, and adjourn for the nite.

Treatments start the next evening and are every evening, Monday to Friday for two weeks. People come in at intervals throughout the sessions and have their treatment time, and all rest together in the space (see “Community Acupuncture is Everywhere” in Articles if you haven’t heard about it). There is care available over the weekend between for whoever wants more support, otherwise the weekend can be a break from treatments, but not from kicking the habit! The classic protocol is given to everyone every nite- an auricular treatment (ear needles), adding in whatever body points each individual needs to support them in their abstinence or reduce other obstacles or issues that may arise over the weeks.

Insurance is billed for anyone with acupuncture coverage, reducing the out of pocket cost to very little. OHP and a number of private insurance plans are accepted, please ask. To pay out of pocket the Intensive costs the same as Community Clinic, $30 per treatment, so $300 for ten weekdays. The two herb formulas are $30 each. Saturday and Sunday optional treatments are the Community rate, $30.

Studies say there is little difference in effectiveness between methods, programs, patches and medications that are popular to overcome tobacco addiction. What is noted for a bigger difference and for absolute best outcomes is the availability of continued ongoing support and treatment in whatever method is followed. In response to that and going forward, “Community” or group clinic is always offered twice or three times weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays in the late day and some Saturday mornings. Participants who have acupuncture insured can make appointments as needed after the Intensive has ended.

For my two cents, having been a receiver since about 1982, acupuncture invites a deep and abiding journey into our own unique and true potential, and is a viable, spiritual and beautiful way to make a cause for personal transformation in life.

What happens at a Kraut Workshop?

We all meet at my house, in my kitchen. There are four students, you’ll work in pairs. Every student gets a crock filled with equipment. Each work station has utensils and a food processor and fresh organic produce to make one crock of kraut. It’s a hands on workshop, we do it together. You go home with a batch plus your equipment and the know how to do it again.

A well gut has an optimal balance of microflora to aid digestion and fight pathogens, however many people don’t have healthy proportions of gut organisms. Instead many of us have a higher quotient of unfriendly parasites and bacteria taking up residence where friendly microorganisms should be prevalent instead. This imbalance develops over years, owing to wrong foods, (often generating leaky gut syndrome), overuse of antibiotics, xenobiotics as well as myriad environmental assaults. Emotions and stress will play a significant role as well in perpetuating an intractable cycle of diminished resistance of the gut to parasitic invaders.

One means of reestablishing healthy gut flora is to ingest more of the desirable critters. Certainly we must pay close attention to removing the causes of digestive dysfunction and do healing work to correct any chronic imbalance while simultaneously with supplying friendly bugs. There are various ways to supplement pre- and probiotics (friendly flora) for the digestive system, from encapsulated mixtures of microorganisms to kefir, kombucha, fermented vegees as well as other fermented food products. Only kraut or fermented vegees is pure live vegetarian whole food, there is almost no potential food intolerance, as might derive from kefir made of dairy or coconut milk, no excess sugar or alcohol, as from kombucha, and compared to encapsulated probiotics kraut is a whole foods source of friendly flora which the body can assimilate easily.

Beyond all that, it’s fun to make kraut and yummy as a snack all on its own or as a side dish to meat or other vegees. Make your own medicine, take charge of your health!

Cost: $65, includes workshop plus all equipment and organic produce.

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