by Gord Grant PhD, RAc
The idea of community acupuncture has really grown in the United States over the last decade. I think this is because, unlike Canadians, American’s have less access to affordable primary care. Community acupuncture seems to have filled a specific need in the US where people can look after their ailments more affordably and proactively. More and more are routinely using acupuncture for prevention and relaxation instead of curing symptoms. In the US, community acupuncture is now represented largely by an organization called POCA, for People’s Organization for Community Acupuncture. When I opened our community clinic, I became a member of POCA so I could get on the map in their network of community acupuncture clinics in North America. Their symbol until just recently, was a prominent clenched raised fist. Having understood their cause a little more, I believe that besides being a symbol of support and solidarity, it also represented the classic symbol of resistance. The symbol has changed now, but their focus and political bias has not. POCA is proposing an strong alternative not only to the western medical system, but also to any other healthcare idea, including within the acupuncture realm, that is not as affordable as they feel it should be. Recently though, they have officially excluded any clinic being part of their organization fully who does not practice solely community acupuncture.
The way we offer services at The Acupuncture Turning Point excluded us from being fully part of POCA from the beginning. Regardless, our being part of POCA initially was a critical learning experience for us to become very clear about our priorities and how we serve our clients.