by Gord Grant PhD, RAc
Community acupuncture has been practiced intermittently in Edmonton over the last 10 or so years. As a free inner city clinic at Boyle McCauley Health Centre, the Grant MacEwan Acupuncture Program was involved here to administer the “NADA” ear acupuncture protocol to people addicted to drugs as they try to come off their addiction. Five years ago, I offered several community clinics at a church space in Edmonton before I moved into my current space at The Acupuncture Turning Point on Whyte. These were not treatment clinics per se, but rather a short lecture with Q & A, and then people could receive a few needles to see what it was like. My motivation for these clinics was to reach out to curious individuals who had not yet experienced it, and to give them an opportunity to know more before committing to a full treatment. Other acupuncturists have offered community clinics like this which haven’t continued past a few months either. Perhaps, like myself in the beginning at the church, these clinics were not a sustainable core part of their business.
Community – The Acupuncture Turning Point way: We are the first acupuncture clinic in Edmonton to offer regular community (group) acupuncture clinics. We serve men and women (and children) from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Community acupuncture represents to us one of our core pillars — healthcare accessibility. We offer a transparent choice. On one hand, you can receive extra practitioner time in a private and dedicated treatment, or on the other, you can try a less costly alternative in a group setting. We have chosen not to renew our POCA membership (see my blog about POCA), since adhering to their rules of only offering only community acupuncture alone, in our opinion, does not serve the best interests of our clients. In fact, our POCA experience has made us realize the need for a Canadian equivalent that may more closely serve the needs of Canadians, to be more inclusive and supportive of hybrid clinics like ourselves. We want to facilitate, not limit, open and transparent discussions regarding people’s treatment options. Without any stigma, we offer community acupuncture next to the option for more thorough assessments and extra time with a practitioner. Community clinics are offered now a few times a week at our clinic, and they occur at the same time our private rooms are used for dedicated one-on-one treatments — all through the same waiting area. We find some people begin treatments at ATP with community and may try out a private session if they need specific neck or back work. Others start with private sessions and then shift to community treatments when the protocols and progress are established without the need for major reassessments or adjustments. Others just start with one or the other and are satisfied with the results and stay with it either way! From a business perspective, we designed it to work out fairly for both client and practitioner alike, where the price structure for either private room treatments or community clinics can coexist as viable and sustainable services.
Regardless, what is most important to us is a client-centred healthcare approach, where we support informed choices and the opportunity to explore what works best for each person.