As some Laurel patients know, I’m the acu- punk who wears funny tee shirts. Whether it’s the stick figure stuck with needles, the needle whispering dragon or the punk with a mohawk of needles, I like reminding myself not to take myself too seriously. I don’t think acupuncture has to be esoteric, highly intellectual or scary to approach; it can be down to earth and laid back, maybe even fun. Better yet – low cost, available to many and high quality, like the good humored tee shirt. Last week, I strolled around Oakland wearing one of my POCA tees, the one with a bunch of recliners surrounding a campfire, the word ‘cooperate’ on the back. That day alone, I met 2 Grand patients, 1 woman who goes to a community acupuncture clinic in Boston, a guy who swears he experienced “that needling in a recliner stuff” in the Southwest (or was it up North?) and someone else who actually asked me how to join POCA. Wow, I thought, this POCA stuff sure gets around!
The coolest thing about POCA (The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture) is the next to last word in its title – community. POCA now has 2,066 members total, 1,389 of them patients, comprising one heck of a co-op that’s doing amazing work. Together we’ve created our own school, POCAtech, that’s dedicated to training folks who care about people receiving high quality, low cost acupuncture. POCAtech is creating more acu-punks just like me and the rest of us here at OAP to work in community acupuncture clinics, present and future, all across the country. POCA also provides enormous amounts of support, guidance, love, laughter and camaraderie to not only people who own and work at community acupuncture clinics, but also to all those people who care about and contribute to the success and growth of community acupuncture. In addition, POCA hosts 2 POCAfests a year, gatherings where we learn how to run more successful clinics, provide better service to our patients and how to support one another and our families. And then there’s my personal favorite, how POCA provides low interest loans to dedicated acupuncturists who are committed to the community acupuncture model, to help them open their own clinics. They even provide awesome mentoring, the goal of which is to build the best community acupuncture clinic possible. This is especially vital to places where there isn’t any community acupuncture, like Alaska, or say vast stretches in the Midwest. There’s no reason why people in pain or people who can’t sleep or people who have any number of conditions we see every day at OAP have to drive miles and miles to get affordable acupuncture. POCA’s here to change that and we are too. Last year, POCA certified clinics provided well over 1 million acupuncture treatments. That’s 1 MILLION acupuncture treatments!
So this June we at OAP welcome returning patients who are POCA members to enjoy $10 treatments all month. If you’re not a POCA member and want to become one, go for it, then enjoy $10 treatments all month and a few other POCA benefits you’ll receive for joining. Thank you so much for supporting and believing in not only us here at OAP, but in POCA and our clinics all across the US. Thanks for making us the most active, organized and kick ass acupuncture organization in the country. We couldn’t and can’t do any of this without you!