by MICHELLE HACKNEY

With rapidly rising healthcare costs gripping the nation, options are emerging in the way of available high-quality, affordable care. Several local holistic medicine providers are taking a stand by educating consumers on the benefits of effective, economical alternatives such as community acupuncture — including a clinic offering free acupuncture treatments Saturday, June 20 in Ocean Beach.

There are a growing number of community acupuncture clinics in San Diego whose owners say they are keeping costs low to allow for more frequent and more effective treatment for patients.

Some of these owners have expressed concern about the prevailing Western business model of private care that often makes it difficult for patients to commit to a wellness program because of cost.

During community acupuncture, patients are treated in an open area together, rather than in private rooms. In many cases, there are sheer screens to separate and create semi-private spaces. Patients receive acupuncture while seated in comfortable reclining chairs.

Acupuncture in a setting such as this is common in China, where it originated thousands of years ago. According to practitioners anything can be treated. Prices for such services typically range from $20 to $40 per session.

“The community acupuncture movement is gaining momentum nationwide,” said Nicole Murray, licensed acupuncturist and owner of the newly opened Beach Community Acupuncture (BCA), 4993 Niagara Ave., Suite 206. “This business model is rooted in a value system that people should not have to pay $60 to well over $100 for treatment. We want as many people as possible to have access to this very effective form of healthcare. People should be able to access acupuncture, if they want it — often, if they need it.”

According to the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health, acupuncture is proven effective to treat pain, addictions, stress, anxiety, allergies, infertility, osteoarthritis, migraine headaches and other problems.

Acupuncture has been an essential part of medicine in the East, where it is believed that the body was designed to heal itself and rejuvenate naturally without drugs, hormone replacement or invasive surgery.

Christine Kinsella, a licensed acupuncturist and owner of To the Point Gaslamp Acupuncture, 711 4th Ave. Suite 201, said Chinese medicine doesn’t distinguish between mind and body. It is believed that the organ systems regulate mental states as well as physical conditions.

“Some people are unfamiliar with this ancient healing technique that involves placing hair-thin needles in various pressure points, called acupoints, throughout the body,” said Kinsella. “Stimulating these points promotes the body’s natural healing capabilities and enhances organ functions.”

BCA will be offering free treatments on Saturday, June 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as an introduction to acupuncture, followed by an open house from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Customers who would like a free treatment should schedule an appointment online at www.beachacu.com.

Read more: San Diego Community News Group – Acupuncturists needle the rising costs of healthcare