What is Community Acupuncture, why do we do it this way, and how can we afford to do it?


     Boise Acupuncture Co-op is a community acupuncture clinic. That means our treatment room is one large room with several fully dressed people receiving acupuncture at the same time. Patients are seen every 10-20 minutes and rest with the needles in as long as they are comfortable. By doing it this way, clinics are able to offer acupuncture sessions on a sliding scale payment fee of $15-40; no income verification needed. Being a community acupuncture clinic is more than just an arrangement of recliner chairs. It’s a healing space for anyone who needs relief from whatever ails them. It’s a healing space for those who need connection with others, and to know they aren’t alone. It’s a healing space for those who can’t afford the going rate of acupuncture in the $65-$120 range. It’s a healing space for patients who’ve been turned away when their doctor or practitioner told them they can’t help them. It’s a healing space for those who are at the end of their rope. Do you see the theme? It’s a healing space; a physical place that helps people allow themselves emotionally and physically to heal.

In Community Acupuncture, we have figured out what it takes to provide a healing space, and we make it as comfortable as possible for our patients as they travel down their healing pathways. The typical comforts include dim lighting, a variety of cushy recliner chairs, fuzzy blankets, calm music, and pleasant people. While in China we witnessed few or none of these comforts when people received their daily healing acupuncture, and it worked! Acupuncture is practiced in a community setting all over the world, and actually started as a poor man’s/woman’s medicine. Think barefoot, grassroots, farmer medicine. Over the years it was hyped up and the rates for Acupuncture skyrocketed. As many things in recent years have gone back to those barefoot, grassroots days, so has acupuncture. By simplifying acupuncture and bringing it back to what it takes to heal, we are able to offer this medicine to those who might not have access to it otherwise.

Acupuncture theory talks about energy (Qi) pathways (Meridians) that run throughout the entire body. Along these pathways there are points that can be accessed by massage or by needling. Each point correlates to a specific organ system, and has been assigned a job. Some of them have multiple jobs, and bigger responsibilities. Therefore, more can be done with these points. Those points tend to be on the extremities, hands, feet, and head. The body is covered in an acupuncture mapping system, with the “Meridians” serving as roadways. Acupuncturists are able to treat the entire body by just using the points on the extremities. The same way a pile up on the freeway causes traffic delays all over the map.

We cover our costs in an accommodating sliding scale rate. Our space is simplistic, comfortable and healing. And we utilize the help of our community by including willing participants as helpers in running the business. They gain a connection to a healing community, and we gain new members and supportive helpers. We keep the business running at a low cost. Community acupuncture strives to lower the barriers to treatment, by offering flexible hours and affordable fee’s. If we see that a patient needs a massage, or another therapy, we refer them to another member of our community. We all come together to build this community space, this healing space.
For more information about Community Acupuncture check out the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture.