Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Living and dying and community acupuncture

My oldest brother, William, passed away on December 5th. I shut the clinic down down for a couple of days to be with my family and bury my brother. Just incredibly sad. One of my first thoughts was that I really couldn't afford to close again ( I had just been closed for five or six days straight for Thanksgiving ) - a sad testament to the world we live in. Of course I did close. I was, however, grateful to have work to return to, to occupy myself with.

William taught me art, my first love. As he was being lowered in the ground I noticed a 'T' had been left off his last name on the vault the casket was placed in. He would have appreciated this attention to detail, and the application of the letter with silver spray paint. A fitting final moment.

I have thought about community acupuncture as a great leveler before, but this thought seemed particularly poignant upon my return - my senses heightened by raw grief. In one chair is a patient who ultimately will die from the cancer they are fighting, in the next someone with a broken heart. One is just stressed, another has a headache. All receiving acupuncture together. All human. All suffering, each in their own way.

In the community acupuncture setting all these beings converge, each ones story unknown to the other - participants all in the large group nap that happens in the treatment room at South Austin Community Acupuncture. It is a profoundly dignified thing, in it's own perfectly messy way.

So community acupuncture brings us together. We hardly even have to talk about it. We are all human.
We all know what that is.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 25th - Nov. 30th, and re-open Tuesday Dec. 1.
Our first break of the year!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanks Mary!

Mary Lowry, patron and friend of the clinic posted this on her Dog Canyon blog recently... South Austin Community Acupuncture: the Other Healthcare Revolution

Sunday, November 15, 2009

SACA turns 3

Nearly  9000 acupuncture treatments later, South Austin Community Acupuncture turns 3 years old today!
November 15th, 2006 we opened our doors for business. What a long, strange trip it's been...

Thank you to our friends and patrons.
It is with your support that we are able to keep this beautiful dream alive.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Speaking of acudetox, The Great American Smokeout is Nov. 19th

Ready to stop smoking? Join us Nov 19th for The Great American Smokeout. We'll be offering FREE acudetox treatments all day on a walk in basis for those who are giving up their smokes.

Acudetox at South Austin Community Acupuncture

South Austin Community Acupuncture is a sliding scale acupuncture clinic where treatments happen in a group setting. We are now now making acudetox treatments available for a flat $10 per session.

Acudetox treatment utilizes the National Association of Detoxification Acupuncture (or NADA) protocol developed by Dr. Michael Smith at the Lincoln Recovery Center in the Bronx. It is an extremely simple and effective treatment consisting of the insertion of five small acupuncture needles into points in each ear. It is used widely all over the world for all kinds of addictions, habituated behaviors, stress, and trauma.

One of the more salient features of the treatment is that it is a non-verbal therapy. You don’t have to talk about where you’ve been or what you are going through. Rather, you essentially do nothing. Hence the name: NADA (Spanish for nothing). In essence what happens in the treatment is you get to experience a few moments of inner peace. For most in recovery, this is a new experience – or at least one that has long since been obscured or forgotten. So the NADA treatment affords a glimpse of something we all possess innately inside ourselves.

We are separating the NADA treatments from our usual $15-$40 sliding scale acupuncture, and making them $10 because we want to make the process of getting acudetox treatments more straightforward, and because we want people to be able to get frequent treatments – which can be especially important early in the process of recovery.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blawg, Blawg, Blawg, Blawg, Blawg

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, so the saying goes. And so, a month has just about lapsed since my last post. Well, a lot has happened in that time to take me away from cyber reality. We got new shirts. We got new bumper stickers. We had our grand opening party, which was nuts -  45 free treatments were given. Los Pinkys played. Strange and interesting people came and went. We lived to tell the tale.
More to come...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let them go out of business

The insurance lobby dislikes a "public option" for fear it would drive them out of business. Folks, we have a morally reprehensible health care system in this country: one in which middlemen profit hugely on the suffering and disease of others. Insurance companies are responsible to their shareholders, and they are in the business of making money - not delivering healthcare. Period.

I had a patient tell me today he spent $9000 on insurance premiums last year for his family. Without even using his insurance, he spent an additional $9000 out of pocket . This is because he has a high deductable policy so he can afford to have insurance. This is insane.

I say let them go out of business.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Daring to Cross the Great Ben White Divide

We relocated to the Ben White access road - on the South side - as of July, 2009. This was a bold move, no doubt. We did this because our lease was up, and our landlord on South Lamar proved to be an absolute nightmare (and still is some three months after leaving). We decided the price of being in a increasingly "hip" part of town simply wasn't worth it. Besides, 99% of our customers drove their cars to get to us anyway.

We never wanted to land in a commercial strip center. But after three years of dealing with one ridiculous situation after another on South Lamar, we were willing to explore the possibilities.

What we found is: a space that is significantly larger for less money; a totally likable landlord that treats us like human beings; a lease that is joyfully straightforward; and a management company that was willing to do all of the make ready to our space to our liking. The space is quieter, and we have a great view of the sky and the green edge of South Austin out our front windows. We have found beauty in the unlikeliest of places.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grand Opening Party/AAOM Day October 24th

Join us Saturday, October 24th, 2009 as we celebrate Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day and the Grand Opening of our new location. We'll have an open house and be giving FREE treatments from 10am - 4pm. Party to follow with music by Conjunto Los Pinkys. More details to follow...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

$15-$40 sliding scale is back

When we started South Austin Community Acupuncture in 2006 our sliding scale was $15-$40. Somewhere along the way we bumped the low end up to $20. We had our reasons at the time... Recently, we've been re-examining this. More and more unemployed people are showing up at the clinic. People are coming every few weeks instead of weekly. People are finding it challenging to pay for acupuncture and get herbs. Many Austin acupuncturists are reporting overall patient volume is down... These are challenging times economically - even here in Austin. We've also been re-examining the whole notion of entrepreneurship as a social endeavor and what that is all about. And what that is all about is, in addition to being in business with the intention of turning a profit, the social entrepreneur seeks to provide a solution to a social problem. What is the problem as we see it? The problem as we see it is that acupuncture can be - to some degree or another - beneficial in treating just about anything, even if it does not provide a cure. And yet, the vast majority of the population know nothing about it or haven't tried it. The other part of the problem is that acupuncture is priced such that most people can't afford to use it even if they wanted to. As community acupuncturists, we have very deliberately adopted a very localized and socially oriented business model - one which affords us a modest income doing very satisfying work, and one which makes acupuncture affordable and accessible to many more people. It is in that spirit that we are moving the low end of our sliding scale back down to $15. The bottom line is we are doing this because we want you to be able to get acupuncture as often or for as long as needed to get better and stay better.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why I am opposed to chiropractors doing acupuncture

Just click on this link here. Need I say more?