One of my favorite things to think about when I observe the OAP treatment room filled with resting, healing people, is that there are places all over North America (and beyond) where this exact same phenomenon is happening. Rooms of people who are going through all sorts of life and health challenges, quietly repairing in their safe, shared community spaces.
This is happening because of our co-op, the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA). The people that first brought you OAP, Whitney and Roselle, were inspired to create what was, in early 2008, a non-traditional approach to acupuncture in the U.S. Pricey, private room treatments were the norm. In 2008, just a handful of community clinics like ours existed, and they were all spawned from the innovative model at Working Class Acupuncture in Portland, OR. Fast forward several years: in 2013, OAP gave nearly 20,000 acupuncture treatments to folks from all around the East Bay. The POCA annual survey showed that around 190 POCA clinics combined gave over 910,000 treatments in 2013.
Wow. Now can you picture all those rooms filled with people like you, day after day?
Each time you book an appointment and show up for community acupuncture, you are participating in something bigger than you, something revolutionary! Each appointment helps to grow our grassroots movement, and further stabilizes the presence of community acupuncture in the world as “the calmest revolution ever staged.”
I believe in access to care for folks of ordinary income. I believe that affordable healthcare options offer hope to individuals and families, and promote peace in local communities. I believe acupuncturists should have a way to live out their values of social justice while earning a living wage. I like knowing that my POCA membership dues help finance and launch sustainable POCA clinics, so that more rooms like ours can start humming away in previously underserved communities. I’m not exaggerating when I say that giving acupuncture to many folks during a shift at OAP nourishes and feeds me and my sense of purpose just as much as the treatments help you. It’s an honor for us here at OAP to get to do this every day with you, our patients.
POCA has given me so much support, love, and inspiration over the years, and I’m happy to give back.
I volunteer for POCA as a Clinic Success mentor for new clinic owners, and I’m a member of the Finance Circle, which oversees the microloan program. I’d encourage you, if you are not yet a POCA Patient/Community member, to consider joining me in the ranks of those who are helping to grow our health care movement. Memberships start at $25/year, with great annual benefits!