Providence Community Acupuncture:  Making Needles Fun Since 2006

Having enjoyed the one and only acupuncture treatment I experienced a few years ago, I eagerly accepted my editor’s assignment to cover Providence Community Acupuncture (PCA). I wondered, however, why this place? What makes it so special?

PCA makes acupuncture accessible to everyone by allowing clients to pay at their comfort level, anywhere from $15 to $35 a session. They don’t ask your income or request a tax return; you just pay what you can. They keep costs down in a number of ways. First they don’t take credit cards. Second, they treat everyone in a group setting. As the website states, “The collective energy of being treated in a group enhances your treatment.”

Screech! Hit the brakes. I’ll be treated in a room full of strangers? As much as I’m open to new-age experiences, I do have my limits, as I discovered once during a yoga class. At the start of that class, the teacher instructed us to “let everything go.” I took this as a command to release stress and negative thoughts. Others, however, recognized this as an invitation to pass gas. Now, I love a good fart. Hearing them in yoga, however, did not help me let go; instead I had to stifle my laughter while deep-breathing fart-filled air. No thanks.

Would group acupuncture provide a similar experience? Would there be clients with digestive problems, farting at will, while I’m trapped in my reclining chair stuck with needles? This could be problematic.

Putting my reticence aside, I called to make my appointment. When the woman on the phone asked me the reason for my visit, I stumbled. I feel blessed with fairly good health and couldn’t come up with an active ailment. She told me not to worry and directed me to fill out the forms on the website to prepare for my appointment.

As luck would have it, I got sick before my visit. I also contracted a migraine, which typically last for three days. Though I don’t enjoy being sick, I now had a sense of purpose, as I drove to PCA feeling like absolute dog-shit.

When I arrived, all reticence went out the window. Everyone was friendly, and the treatment center looked particularly inviting: several small, cozy rooms with multiple reclining chairs. Other than some gentle music and a low snore coming from a sleeping client, the rooms were quiet, relaxing and fart-free.

I met Korbin, my acupuncturist. He reviewed my forms, then asked me a few questions about my migraines. I asked why most people seek treatment, and he provided a long list of problems from arthritis to zits, though back pain, headaches, and sleep issues seemed to be the most popular. The treatments are very individualized — there’s a range of how many treatments you’ll need and how often you’ll need them. This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all modality.

As I prepared for my session, Korbin invited me to select a chair. I got comfortable and reclined fully, grateful that I’d shaved my legs, while he inserted the small needles in my feet and lower legs. He then moved to my arms, neck and face. Though he told me a few needles would be “pinchy,” I barely felt a stick.

The process took under five minutes and he left me on my own to stay as long as I liked. He warned that I might fall asleep and pledged to wake me if I needed to be somewhere. Not being one who naps, I declined his offer.

I slipped into a blissful state between sleep and relaxation, where cares ceased to exist and my body felt weightless. I forgot about everyone else in the room. And I did fall asleep — the sound of my own snore woke me about 45 minutes later. My mouth was wide open and a trickle of drool ran down my chin. Luckily, no one noticed; they were all in their own state of bliss.

After a few minutes of rousing, I felt ready to leave. As though reading my mind, a staff member came over, removed my needles and helped me up.  As I put on my coat, I took stock of my ailments. Though I felt completely relaxed and well-rested, I still detected the remnants of my migraine, and the congestion from my cold still presented a problem. Oh well …

I drove home in a great mood and went about my day. About an hour later, I noticed that my migraine was gone and my congestion lessened. After a second hour I realized my congestion had cleared up completely. What??? How was this possible? Admittedly some of my congestion returned the next morning, but only slightly, and the migraine was gone for good.

Am I convert? Absolutely. Though time alone may have rid me of my migraine, I can’t say the same about my cold. At the next sign of sniffles, I’ll rush to PCA. Even when healthy, I’d go just to relax. After all, where else can you legally get this zoned out for $35? And though I can’t say for sure whether the collective energy of the group helped in my treatment, it did make the experience both cozy and exhilarating.

PCA is open seven days a week.  Call to book your first appointment, but all subsequent appointments can conveniently be made online. Wear comfortable clothes, bring cash and be prepared to drool.

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