What is Community Acupuncture?
We define Community Acupuncture as the practice of offering acupuncture:
1) in a setting where multiple patients receive treatments at the same time;
2) by financially sustainable and accountable means, whereby community acupuncture clinics depend directly on the support of the people who receive acupuncture in them, rather than on grants, donations, or other funding;
3) within a context of accessibility created by consistent hours, frequent treatments, affordable services, and lowering all the barriers to treatment that we possibly can, for as many people as possible, while continuing to be financially self-sustaining; and
4) with a commitment to social justice in health care.
The words Community Acupuncture when put together, are not just a description of the kind of acupuncture given in a community or group setting, but also describe who is served by the acupuncture: our communities as we define them.
The words community acupuncture are not just describing a one-way relationship of the acupuncturists to their communities, but the relationship of the communities
to the acupuncture, to the clinic, and to the practitioners, and other staff. The words Community Acupuncture when put together represent the connection and the contract between Acupuncture and Communities.
Acupuncture is often defined by the community of acupuncture practitioners as one part of the major practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine. But it is not just those who practice, or are licensed to practice, or educated to
practice acupuncture who get to define what acupuncture is and isn’t. With Community Acupuncture, the definition cannot only come from those delivering care, but those who are served by acupuncture must have also have a role in defining it. To define acupuncture as a technique, or part of
a body of knowledge, leaves out its active role in those who are most affected by it: our patients.
We need our patients and community members. We need them in many ways; without them we would have no practices or clinics at all, no income, no referrals, no supporters, no critics, no dynamic force to propel us
forward as individual clinics, but also as a growing national, and even world movement of affordable healthcare for our communities. The contract between a community acupuncture clinic and the community it serves could
be stated in a few sentences.
The clinics’ part of the contract is:
We will work to serve you, your families, by being here, when you need us, to provide acupuncture to relieve your pain and suffering. The communities’ part of the contract is:
We will come for acupuncture, pay for our treatments, and participate in supporting the clinic in other ways. As in all contracts: both parties give and receive.