I’ve been a fan of community acupuncture for years, and I was beside myself with joy last June when I discovered that my tiny new town has a clinic. Community Acupuncture Ukiah is right downtown on School and Church streets, just a few blocks from my house. There’s an easy online reservation system and walk-ins are welcome. The space itself is as it should be – calming, with comfortable chairs and a few massage tables/beds for those of us who like to lay flat.
Acupuncture is traditionally done in a group setting, with one or two acupuncturists treating several people at once. It’s said that the shared energy improves the efficacy of everyone’s treatment. Of course we westernized it, putting people alone in sterile rooms and charging upwards of $100/hour for a treatment that costs $20-$40 on a sliding scale in a community setting. Once the needles are in all you do is lay there for as long as you like (many people fall asleep, some read, I meditate) so it’s silly for one acupuncturist to dedicate an hour or more to a single patient. I find that the presence of others helps focus my attention on the treatment.
Then there’s Aracely. There are two women who work at Community Acupuncture Ukiah, and while I’m sure Jami is great, I fell in love with Aracely from my first treatment. I went in with severe back pain after a week of intense physical labor. “We could try cupping,” she suggested. I hadn’t ever done or even heard of this treatment, but I was game. So she suction-cupped my entire back and the cramps and knots immediately vanished. Plus, I had awesome bruises:
Since then I’ve gone fairly regularly for acupuncture, though I’ve been absent for a few months – it’s better when you go frequently, and I’ve done it in waves over the years. Today I decided to reintroduce it into my regular schedule and went in with a mean knot in my right shoulder that’s been shooting pain down my arm and back. “Have you tried Gua Sha?” she asked. Nope, but of course I was down!
She put me on a chair so my back was exposed and rubbed the Gua Sha tool in short, downward strokes over both my shoulders and neck. It hurt a little but felt wonderful once she was done. A serious bonus to this treatment (as well as cupping) is that you still get to lay down and have acupuncture done afterward. Once my back was good and rubbed (it looks like I have a gnarly rash, but apparently it goes away much faster than the cupping marks, which took several weeks to totally disappear) I enjoyed a relaxing hour on the table. And now my knots are gone.
If you’ve ever been curious about acupuncture, I encourage you to give Aracely or Jami a try, and if you’re not in Ukiah, odds are there is a community clinic near you.