Below is a small introduction to the new coop of which Providence Community Acupuncture is  founding member. Please read if you have not had a chance.
Here are links to a couple other interesting and inspiring pieces on the coop.
Acupuncture Can save the World
Are We There Yet? On the Road from CAN to POCA


Providence Community Acupuncture, to many of us, feels like a one-of-a-kind thing. Well, it is definitely a special place. But its actually part of an international movement of acupuncturists and community acupuncture clinics who are committed to changing the way health care is created and sustained in our world. We’re very excited to introduce you to The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture. POCA is the multi-stakeholder cooperative of which we are a member and which we also helped to create, thanks to you. From the POCA handbook:

The purpose of the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture is to create a stable and
sustainable economic foundation for the delivery of affordable acupuncture, and to establish and maintain structures to that end. POCA is a Cooperative owned by patients, acupuncturists, students, community acupuncture clinics, and their supporters, that organize collective investments of time, energy, participation and money, to further its vision. POCA serves a variety of member interests, including access to affordable, quality acupuncture and the creation of living-wage jobs in the acupuncture profession.

Part of the reason for the coop’s existence is so that clinics and their patients can keep creating this movement together, and so that it grows in ways that real people need. Both Cris and Korben were involved from the beginning with the  Community Acupuncture Network.  As founders of clinics in Providence and Philadelphia that began at the same time as CAN,  they both connected with other acupuncturists and clinics like this one to share information and give and receive support  through the network.

As a professional organization the Community Acupuncture Network has engaged and mobilized acupuncturists to serve the needs of their patients and communities. But it is clear that the success of community acupuncture clinics is directly linked to the support given to them by patients. A multi-stakeholder cooperative (POCA) recognizes the interdependent connections between consumers and
producers and is a way to organize these groups to work together to insure that benefits to both groups remain ongoing. One of the purposes of a multi-stakeholder cooperative for community acupuncture is to provide a vehicle by which patients can invest their time and skills into the movement, in a legal structure that recognizes them as owners of the cooperative….

So, not only do we want you to know about the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, we are inviting you to be an active participant. In the following weeks, we will be letting you know the specific ways you can be involved in POCA, as well as the benefits you’ll receive as  members. Keep in mind that if you’ve been coming to PCA and/or other community acupuncture clinics, then you already are deeply involved; and, you’re the reason this movement exists. But, for those of you who want to participate by, for example, volunteering at the clinic, or voting for decisions which will affect the coop and therefore the clinic, or serving on a project committee, or helping create a newsletter, we’ll be talking soon.

Stay tuned at the clinic and here on our website, (and on our facebook page if that’s your style.), for information about upcoming events related to launching POCA. We plan on hosting a movie night soon at PCA, where we’ll get to screen the new documentary about the community  acupuncture movement, talk about POCA, and meet folks involved with the clinic.
For more information about POCA, check out the POCA Handbook.

Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Here’s an article by community acupuncturist, Alex Rossan, formerly of Grassroots Acupuncture Project in Santa Cruz, Ca. about the uses of acupuncture during pregnancy.

Are you pregnant?
As you may or may not know, acupuncture can be a super effective treatment for many of the “aches and pains” associated with pregnancy, as well as very safely and successfully treat other pregnancy related conditions that pop up as your body plays host to the growing baby inside and experiences profound changes. Sometimes these physical and emotional changes are uncomfortable, and the tools that used to be in your toolbox of self-care (certain types of exercise, over the counter medicines, and even some prescription drugs) are now unavailable as options. This is where acupuncture and even carefully prescribed herbs can help women to experience a joyful and pleasant pregnancy. Chinese Medicine can serve as a viable, safe, and effective pre-natal healthcare adjunct to the care you are already receiving from your OB or Midwife.
So, there is the frequently asked question of “when do I come in and for what?” Here is a brief laundry list of all the things acupuncture can help pregnant women with: Nausea and vomiting, heartburn, constipation (or other digestive complaints) varicose veins, edema, urinary tract infections, musculoskeletal issues (sciatica, carpal tunnel), fatigue, anemia, insomnia, anxiety, depression, sinusitis, colds and flu, pregnancy induced hypertension, and breech presentation.
Some of these, depending of course on the severity of the symptom, can be easily remedied by acupuncture and sometimes herbal medicine. In case of pregnancy induced hypertension and breech presentation, acupuncture is most effective when treatment is started shortly after the diagnosis has been made. For example, breech babies are usually diagnosed between weeks 32 and 34, and are more likely to turn before week 34. In cases of pregnancy induced hypertension, acupuncture can be most successful when treatment is started early – the optimal time to treat is when blood pressure reading begins to be of concern.
Acupuncture can also be used as a routine pre-birth treatment starting at week 37 or 38. Chinese medicine historically holds that the time before a woman is to give birth is an optimal time to balance her hormones and strengthen her organ systems. Studies have shown that specific pre-birth treatments can actually increase the likelihood of a delivering by the due date, shorten time spent in labor, ensure a smoother labor (less stop and go) and reduce medical interventions such as epidurals and caesareans. The points chosen will actually help the cervix soften and dilate, ready the uterus for the labor, and relax and soften surrounding ligaments in the pelvis. Even if a woman does go past her due date, these pre-birth treatments will make her respond more readily to induction – either through acupuncture or medicine.
What about acupuncture for labor inductions? There are several medical reasons why labor needs to be induced, including post-term babies, premature membrane rupturing, and babies getting too large in the case of diabetic mothers. Acupuncture for labor induction can be very effective, and treatments are recommended daily to maintain momentum. During the treatment, many women report contractions and increased movement of their baby. How many treatments you will need is dependent on how quickly you respond to treatment, but usually a labor will commence after 1 to 3 treatments.

All in all, working with an acupuncturist along side your midwife or OB can ensure a healthier and smoother pregnancy.