For those of you in this neck of the woods (Seattle), a new community acupuncture center is opening. Check it out here. Community acupuncture is a way for practitioners to provide effective, low-cost treatments but still make a living, and thus make acupuncture accessible to a wider population. For that reason, I think it’s going to be the wave of the future in the field of alternative care.

Community acupuncture accomplishes these things by treating a group of people at a time. In my personal opinion, a special group dynamic occurs when a number of people are gathered together for healing purposes. As the interesting film I Am illustrated, and the Heartmath institute documented – and books like Stephen Buhner’s The Secret Teachings of Plants detail – the electromagnetic field of the heart is large, and is measurable ten feet or more past the body. Furthermore, our heart fields interact and can influence each other; an amusing illustration is the scene in the movie I Am where the filmmaker affected the yogurt. You see where I’m going with this?

It seems to me eminently reasonable to think that when a group with similar intentions – in this case, healing – gathers together, that they will influence each other in a positive way. So when a patient goes for community acupuncture they are receiving a benefit not only from the skills of the acupuncturist but from the presence of the group. When you consider how isolated people are in our modern urban societies, being part of a group, even without interacting verbally, is likely to be beneficial for that reason as well.

In a way, I think we’re getting back to some basic indigenous healing practices, where shamans or healers would hold group healing sessions involving the whole local community. IMHO, I think we’re just starting to understand how to work with this group energy. Right now, community acupuncturists just treat patients individually and let the group energy take care of itself. That’s totally fine – it works! But I believe there’s a way to treat the entire group with every needle technique and thus enhance the overall effects, by using your intention appropriately. That’s something I’ll be experimenting with in the future.