Those who live together, heal together

By heartandhands.acu

I still remember my first experience sitting in a group room watching
individuals in recovery having tiny acupuncture needles gently placed in
their ears. After, they spent 45 minutes quietly and peacefully seated with
their fellow peers. I recall how beautiful and profound this was, for just
this moment, these individuals were free of pain. It was almost palpable in
the room, the soothing hum of people together, collectively healing. This
was my experience at Vancouver Daytox in 2006.

Later that summer I was inspired to create a small, drop-in community clinic
at Fernwood Community Centre. From the summer of 2006 to the summer of 2008,
I ran a small community drop-in service offering ear acupuncture upon
donation. I took this opportunity to educate the public about the benefits
of acupuncture and for students like myself to build relationships in the
community. I felt empowered and amazed to have created the same calming and
peaceful setting that I enjoyed so much during my practicum at Daytox. Since
then, I have recreated this phenomenon countless times in numerous places in
the community serving anyone from newcomers and immigrants to marginalized,
HIV-positive drug users. It then occurred to me how powerful acupuncture was
when shared in a group setting with others. I was witnessing how, when the
service becomes more accessible, it can help people from all walks of life.

What’s more, there is something rarefied and precious about that momentary
stillness and rest that so many of us lack in our daily lives. And to share
that universal pause with a group of strangers is uniquely safe, welcoming
and lovely. This isn’t a privilege or a luxury, this is a necessity that
needs to take a greater priority in our society, that there is more to life
than busy-ness and we could be experiencing life differently if we took more
time to pause.

It is these experiences that paved the way to becoming a Community
Acupuncturist, in which I am part of a growing network of practitioners
committed to serving our communities by providing high quality treatments in
a group setting at sliding scale rates. More people can afford to come. This
makes it possible to get better and stay better. This allows acupuncture to
do what it was meant to do, help people. As a holistic practitioner, I am
able to make a sustainable living serving the community that builds and
supports me. It’s a beautiful thing to share your energy in a collective
healing space with others. And since October 2010, I do this every week at
my space, Heart & Hands Health Collective, in the heart of downtown
Victoria.

Heart & Hands is a community-based, shared space for the practice of
holistic therapies. Small in stature, but big in heart, it was created out
of the need to serve members of the community that mattered most to us. As
well, through the realization that operating a clinic did not need to be an
isolated act, our clinic is also consists collective of like-minded
practitioners. Our sense of togetherness extends from one modality to
another, as we acknowledge that people need more than a single medium for
health and wellness.

Quoting Larry Gatti, L.Ac. and acupuncturist at Tucson Community
Acupuncture:

“So, with a partner I opened Tucson Community Acupuncture. I have decided
my own hours and helped decide my wage. I never have anyone checking my
work, looking over my shoulder or telling me what to do. The work is stable
and sustainable. I have no boss. The clinic and the community are my boss
and I serve them. But they give out what I put in: love.”

So in honour of both my Victoria community, I simply do what I do, offer
high-quality treatments at affordable rates. I truly believe that in order
to create a healthy community, you need to start with its people. For those
who live together, I’d also love to see them heal together too.

This story was posted on January 4 2012 by Karen Grosskreutz.

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