by Kirby LindsayMarit Hanson, an Eastern Asian Medicine Practitioner who holds a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, would like to see acupuncture available to everyone, regardless of income level. She has chosen to follow a community-based, sustainable model at Grassroots Community Acupuncture, the studio she launched in December 2009 right here in Fremont.
“I don’t want people deciding between groceries or doing activities that they like, and acupuncture,” Hanson explained. She has practiced at the Tummy Temple and on a cruise ship, and in private practice – and found herself drawn instead to the community acupuncture model, providing clients with acupuncture the way it is more commonly offered in China. She took training in this growing approach through the Portland-based Working Class Acupuncture.
How Does It Work?
Hanson believes in the healing properties of acupuncture. “There is no great Western scientific, all-encompassing explanation for why it works,” she admitted, “for why the needles do what they do, and why they do what they do so quickly sometimes.”
She described acupuncture as an energetic; a method to stimulate the body’s natural responses towards healing. A healthy body strives for healing - consider how the skin, when cut, will instantly start to scab. Acupuncture balances out imbalances, and facilitates a natural ability to heal. “When you look at Chinese medicine,” at its teachings and practices, acupuncture “makes perfect sense,” Hanson explained.
In community acupuncture, patients receive treatments in a room with other patients, which increases the energy, Hanson explained. The collective energy, of a group gathered together in a relaxing, healing setting, “is more effective,” she stated. Patients do not chat or gossip together, rather, they engage in what Hanson, and her clients, have called, ‘adult nap time.’
Who Can It Help?
In private practice, Hanson could only treat one person each hour. This approach limited the number of appointments available, and increased the cost – between $65 – 130 per visit, depending on the style of acupuncture. “Community acupuncture is built around the idea of making acupuncture both more accessible and affordable to a broader population,” she explained, as she now charges sliding scale fees from $15 – 35.
Those who want to try acupuncture, perhaps in addition to other, mainstream treatments for complex illnesses, can now afford to see if it can help. Those with acute symptoms – severe pain, anxiety, fatigue, digestive disorders, etc. – can access more treatments, more often. Finally, with lowered costs, and an increased availability of appointments, acupuncture can be more readily accessed as a preventative tool.
At Grassroots, Hanson has two small living room spaces – each contains four recliners, rather than the massage beds more common in traditional treatment rooms. Patients recline with pant legs and sleeves rolled up. “I wasn’t sure I was going to like it,” Hanson admitted about her first community acupuncture treatment, but “the recliner is more comfortable than the massage table, and I like having an acupuncturist that will be in sooner.”
New clients, Hanson has noticed, often find a community setting less intimidating – as they can gaze around during a treatment to see others relaxing in comfort. Also, the setting removes time limits on how long a patient can relax after a treatment. Those who must leave by a set time need only inform the staff before treatment, while others may recline in comfort as long as they need.
Hanson wants to see this form of treatment offered everywhere, and she has helped launch the Seattle Community Acupuncture Network, to link clients to a nearby community acupuncture practitioner. For while Hanson welcomes anyone interested in learning about acupuncture, and the community experience, to visit Grassroots, she reaches out primarily to those in the Ballard/Fremont area.
To find out more, make an appointment for one of the upcoming first-time patient free trials on December 12th, from Noon – 4p, or December 18th, from 10a – 2p, by contacting Hanson at Grassroots at 206/659-4990 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.