Creating a sensible path to Punkdom.

The last two weeks, we’ve written about the overwhelming demand for community acupuncture here in Rhody, across the U.S. and Canada, and other places in the world. More clinics are needed. More to the point, many more acupuncturist (punks) are needed to provide the treatments that are so in demand. (*By the way, the PCA team will be joined in early December by a fantastic new punk, a Rhode island native who started her own very successful community acupuncture clinic in the southwest. More about Melissa next week!!)

So, here’s one very important way we’re going to move affordable acupuncture forward, satisfying the demand, and creating more. Together, punks and patients, clinic founders and volunteers, and other interested stakeholders in affordable natural medicine are pioneering an acupuncture school that WON’T put its students in debt for the rest of their lives and WILL prepare them to do community acupuncture, to do simple, effective but affordable treatments that rely more on the needles and the patients’ own bodies/minds and less on some ancient secret wisdom or special powers of the punk.

POCATech is the next natural step in the progression of our movement to create a sustainable business model by which people with ordinary incomes can get regular acupuncture, and we acupuncturists can earn a living wage doing the work we love within our own beloved communities.

Community acupuncture, born in its present form in Portland Oregon through the labors of Lisa Rohleder and Skip Van Meter at Working Class Acupuncture, has grow steadily across the country and beyond, and revealed an almost limitless demand for what we’re offering. We created The Community Acupuncture Network which 1) freely shared the know-how and support to committed punks who refused to accept acupuncture as a luxury for the most wealthy, 2) spawned over 100 community acupuncture clinics, and 
3) organized those punks, owners, volunteers and patients into a  cooperative called POCA, which stands for The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture.

Through POCA, our thinking has expanded to include patients, acupuncture students, other health care practitioners, clinic employees. Among and across all of these groups, there is unanimous and urgent support for the idea of creating our own school. Many of us started doing community acupuncture so that our own friends and family and neighbors could actually get regular acupuncture, and get the kind of acupuncture that works in their lives. It’s partly the same motivation that drives our vision of POCAtech. My 3 year old son, for example, is very interested in what I do, spends time playing “acupuncturist, loves to come in to the clinic and observe what’s happening. He recognizes it as loving, friendly, healing. It’s certainly conceivable for him to find himself wanting to be a punk. I want that to be a possibility. And, without POCAtech, it’s not.

Please ask us questions about POCATech, how we’re going to do it, and how our Rhode Island community will be key to the project. And, please be aware that PCA and Rhode Island will host the annual POCA Fest in the spring of 2013. You are warmly invited to spend a Saturday or all weekend with us. This event is about fun and inclusivity of all parts of our community. We’ll be talking coops, clowning, storytelling, envisioning dream clinics in dream locations, meeting each other over board games and good food. And, we’ll be moving POCATech closer to reality.

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