Medicine for the people

This is in response to the letter by Ariel Harris of Candler [Letters, July 1].

Thank you for your letter stating the fact that so many people living in the U.S. do not have access to affordable complementary health care. And thank you for pointing out that the current health-care system has a long way to go in incorporating complementary health care. Like so many traditional healers in Asheville, I agree with you wholeheartedly. We would all like to see our patients and communities thrive without relying on corporations like big insurance or big pharmaceutical companies for costly, high-tech interventions.

In 2004, Lisa Rohleder inadvertently kicked off the community acupuncture movement in Portland, Ore., when she opened her clinic, now operating today as Working Class Acupuncture. She has insightfully pointed out that acupuncture developed in Asia as a "peasant medicine," a medicine for the people to access for a multitude of ailments. Since then, practitioners around the country have been establishing sustainable, affordable community acupuncture clinics. We see this a logical part of healing a broken health-care system.

Community acupuncture clinics offer treatments in group settings and charge an affordable sliding scale, usually $15-$40, or an affordable flat rate per treatment. This setting encourages families and friends to come in and get treatments together. Lower prices allow for more frequent visits, thereby achieving better results from the treatments. The accessibility to affordable care allows patients to have acupuncture to maintain health, as opposed to when symptoms can no longer be ignored.

Currently, there are community acupuncture clinics in north and West Asheville, Black Mountain and, soon, south Asheville. To find a clinic visit www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org and click on “Locate a Clinic.”

— Elizabeth "Aruna," Sam and Aimee, the People's Acupuncture of Asheville

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