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Everyone Can Access Open Community Acupuncture

By Jake Levin

There's a well-known stigma when it comes to acupuncture: don't those needles hurt?

"This definitely scares peoples off," admitted Travis Beto, the owner of Open Community Acupuncture in Waterbury, Vt. Yet the most common response Beto hears is how people are surprised at how small the needles are and how little they feel them.

"There's a little saying in the community acupuncture world, 'The best way to get people to do acupuncture is to get people to do acupuncture.'" Beto said. "Once people try it they usually are ok with it, or even love it! Because more often than not, it gets results."

Acupuncture has been around as a healthcare medium for thousands of years. Beto said that the book from which all acupuncture teachings are derived dates to around 200 BC, at which point the human body and its various systems (muscular, skeletal, etc.) had already been examined and studied.

"Due to this in depth knowledge of the inner workings of the body, the conditions acupuncture has been found to give healing results for are wide ranging," Beto said.

Among the conditions treaded via acupuncture are physical pains such as back aches and arthritis, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Women's health (menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, etc.) are also treated, along with many, many other illnesses along the lines of headaches and migraines, digestive disorders, sleeping disorders and seasonal allergies.

Open Community Acupuncture excels at treating all of these symptoms, but it's the manner in which patients are treated that sets Beto's clinic apart.

The community aspect of the company's name refers to group treatments, where multiple patients receive their medicine in the form of needles in an open room full of zero gravity recliners. It also refers to the affordable prices for treatment that allow more members of the community to visit OCA.

This way, the patients are in it together as they receive distal acupuncture treatments, or "distant" treatments where the needles target areas away from the centers of pain, such as the lower legs, forearms, and feet. Distal treatment also enables patients to stay clothed during their acupuncture experience, as the group remains together as a community in the room.

But perhaps the most unique item regarding Open Community Acupuncture is its cost structure.

Beto recalls that while he was in school, student clinics would generally charge $35 per acupuncture session. Professional rates ranged anywhere from $60 to $125 per session, which Beto knew was even less affordable.

It was around this time Beto caught wind of a different business model through one of his teachers and the book Acupuncture is Like Noodles: community acupuncture.

"The book was short but shared all sorts of proprietary info which was so different from the rest of the acupuncture world, which seemed secretive and competitive, only giving info out at workshops and other fee-based ways," Beto said.

He inserted his first needle at Open Community Acupuncture in June 2015, charging patients just $20 per session. Treating upwards of six patients per hour, Beto has been able to make a nice living for himself while not emptying out the pockets of his clients.

"In some cases it has helped people avoid surgeries," Beto said. "In some cases it has enabled people to mitigate the side effects of other treatments like chemotherapy and pharmaceuticals. It can be a way of tapping into the body's own healing ability to help sometimes avoid the need for further allopathic treatments.

"It can sometimes succeed when 'nothing else has worked' or you've 'tried everything.'"

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