Sunday, August 11, 2013

West Philly location closing in October

It is with heartbreaking sadness that I tell you this news.  In mid October, the west philly location of PCA needs to close down.  After facing a lease renewal and checking in with Bob, Sarah, and Billy, I learned that they all had plans to leave.  Other plans to bring people in fell through.  And I see no other choice at this point but to close.  I am so sorry. 

I hope you will all continue to get as much treatment there as you can up until the end, and then I hope that you will be able to make it out to our Mt. Airy location at 538 Carpenter Lane.  I can also recommend Barefoot Doctor Community Acupuncture Clinic, if Fishtown isn't too far for you.  If you have gift certificates and/or credits in our system, please use them up or if you can't, they will be redeemable in Mt. Airy. 

I realize and regret that this leaves a gaping hole where there used to be affordable acupuncture in west philly.  I know of someone who is thinking of opening something up there in a couple of years, but if any of you are interested in petitioning the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture to try to get another clinic going out here, the first thing to do would be to become a POCA member.  POCA exists in part for this very reason:  so patient members can work through a greater network to try to get a clinic opened in their community. 

The past six years, almost to the very day, have been amazing, thanks to you, our patients and supporters.  I know that everyone who has worked as an acupuncturist at PCA has been able to say that they truly love their job.  I believe I can speak for Korben Perry, Rebecca Parker, Lou Cutler, Sarah Lefkowich, Billy Scott, and Bob Conrique when I say this.  I know I loved every minute of being there, and having the privilege of working with you all.  PCA could not have happened either without the immeasurable help from our front desk POCA volunteers, coordinated by Zem Chance and then Cara Raboteau.  I thank you all, and wish I could say goodbye in person. 

with love from Tucson,

Friday, March 15, 2013

$10 deal for Jefferson staff and students!

Through the end of May, any Thomas Jefferson University staff member or student can go to any Philly area POCA clinic and get a first treatment for $10!  Here's the link

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ellen is moving to Arizona

It's so weird to be writing this just about a year after Korben left.  I thought I was going to be here forever.  Which was a very strange thought to have!  I have moved around a lot in my life so the idea of staying here, at PCA, in Philly for possibly the rest of my life was really, really strange.  Turns out I was wrong about that anyway.

I have told a lot of you and many of you have heard it through the grapevine anyway, but here it is, all official:  I am moving to Tucson Arizona in the beginning of August.  It has been a crazy year trying to even think about the possibility of moving and all that moving entails, especially considering that I also helped open our second location this year.  And now it turns out that it's actually happening, really soon.

Besides saying goodbye to family and friends, by far the hardest part about this move is saying goodbye to PCA's patients.  I have known some of you for so long that you still think my daughter is two years old (you know who you are).  I literally hate to think about leaving you.  I don't want to leave you.  If I could bring you with me I would, because I wouldn't want to live without seeing you on a regular basis if I could help it.  I don't care if this sounds unprofessional, it's true:  I love you.  Thank you all so much for being such a huge and beautiful part of my life.  I hope you know how much your presence at the clinic has mattered to everyone else there.  It matters to the people who work there and it matters to the other patients too.  It matters to the whole community.   I have tried to tell some of you this, and I hope it got through, but please...  don't disappear just because I'm not going to be there anymore.  You are too important.  It's not going to be the same, I know.  It will be different.  It always is though, isn't it?  Life.  It will be good.

You will see me again.  Not on the regular schedule, but I'll be back in Philly.  Probably when you least expect it.  I am grateful to Billy and Sarah and Zem and all the front desk volunteers who will be taking good care of West Philly.  I'll be keeping my eye on things from afar.  Bob Conrique, a new graduate, is also going to be joining the team in September.  And check this out -- my mother was his high school librarian!!!  Such a small world.  As for Mt. Airy, Meghan will be working solo in August until Erin gets her license, and then it'll be a nine-shift clinic!  Thanks to everyone who helped get #2 up and running this year, and especially to my business partner Erin Schmitt.  I will be back there too for sure.  And in the meantime, I will miss you.

oh -- just in case you want to know, I will be working with my friends at Tucson Acupuncture Co-op.  I found a good school for Uma and she is excited about the move too.  Wish us luck.  And come visit.

love,  ellen

Friday, November 11, 2011

Community Acupuncture documentary!

Brian Lindstrom came to Philadelphia Community Acupuncture last January to film a segment for the amazing documentary that is now available to watch at bliptv.  The entire documentary is about 35 minutes, and copies of the DVD are available for sale at PCA.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Korben and family moving in August: a thank you note to my patients

With great sadness and also excitement, I’d like to let those who don’t already know that my family and I are moving back to New England in August. This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made, trying to reconcile our desire to be closer to family (especially in regards to my son, Julian) with the profound sense of belonging that you’ve all given me as your community acupuncturist.
I’m afraid I’ll never be able to express my gratitude for being able to work so closely with all of you. I have never felt more alive and connected and useful as I do each time I spend I few moments with a patient like yourself, listening, maybe laughing, or maybe saying nothing at all, surrounded by other perfect and mysterious and resting someones, and with the sun at whatever angle it is, and hopefully helping you to settle into a slightly more cooperative and flowing place within your body.
So, a huge thank you to everyone I’ve ever treated here at PCA. I will not remember your symptoms, but your beauty and the very particular way you went ahead and believed in your body and your mind despite the challenges.
Also, thank you to the unbelievably righteous band of volunteers who made this place work logistically and who give it nearly all of its flavor and rhythm. And, thank you to Ellen Vincent, Pascal Vincent, Amy Walsh, Waliyyah Muhsin, Jacks Cody, Lou Cutler, Danielle Stimson, Zem Chance, and Linford Martin for building this thing together. I hope it lasts forever.
Thank you to the rose window on the Hickman Temple for reflecting back perfect design from the north. Thank you to the countless sunsets and occasional violent storms coming from the west. Thank you to the gigantic oak I can see out the back, south window, probably on Springfield, which always focused me when I washed my hands, and to one of the neighborhood hawks which lands in that tree sometimes. Thank you to the many moon rises behind the skyline and to that beautiful (unfinished?) mural, both of which woke me out of complacency when I started feeling like I was “working”. I hope to come back often and bask in the very special energy which is this exact place on earth at rest and at peace.
I will work my regular schedule up through the last week in July. If you are a regular patient of mine, I encourage you to go ahead and get a treatment with one or two of the other fantastic acupuncturists now, so that if you want you can still schedule with me and give feedback and get encouragement.
Please stay tuned for info about a going-away party in July.
With love, Korben. (

History and Myth in Chinese Medicine

If you are interested in Chinese Medical History, there is a lecture on "History and Myth in Chinese Medicine," on June 5th from 3 - 5 pm at the Won Institute. Here is how Salguero describes his presentation:

"Practitioners of Chinese medicine often characterize their healing arts as “ancient,” imagining an unbroken tradition stretching back over thousands of years. Historians of Chinese medicine, on the other hand, have emphasized the ever-changing nature of Chinese medicine and have shown that modern practices have little to do with ancient precedents. This presentation will introduce the audience to the latest historical research on the origins of acupuncture, and the transformation over the past 2000 years in theory and practice. At the heart of the presentation are the questions of why history matters to practitioners, and whether facts and myths can be reconciled."

Pierce Salguero is Assistant Professor of Asian History at Penn State's Abington College. Dr. Salguero has a Ph.D. in the History of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and has published numerous books and articles on Asian medical history. He is a historian of medicine in China, specializing in religious healing in the medieval period.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Introducing: People's Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA)

The Community Acupuncture Network (CAN) is the world-wide organization of which Philadelphia Community Acupuncture has been a part since opening. Within the next several months that organization will transform itself into a multi-stakeholder cooperative entitled POCA, the People's organization of Community Acupuncture.
We hope that you'll read a little bit of the following, and see how we're trying to figure out how to even more effectively deliver affordable healthcare, and how POCA will help us acknowledge even more how central you are to the every day and to the future of community acupuncture.

Since its inception, the Community Acupuncture movement has been led by practitioners to serve patients. The movement has grown from a single clinic in Portland, Oregon, to hundreds of clinics around the country and the world. Practitioners and acupuncture students turning to this model of affordable, sliding-scale care in a group setting have generated a critical mass of energy that is propelling the Community Acupuncture movement into its next stage of growth and development. To date, the Community Acupuncture Network (CAN), a 501c6 non-profit professional organization, has been the main vehicle to foster the growth and proliferation of community acupuncture.

However, needs have arisen that will be best met by a new type of organization—a multi-stakeholder cooperative. One of the most basic issues addressed by the cooperative that was not served by CAN is the direct involvement of patients in the process of governing the organization. Participation in a coop means that membership is a shared responsibility – everybody is invited to become involved.


  • Acupuncture is important to our health – as individuals, families, co-workers, and community members – because it provides inexpensive, non-invasive relief from pain and suffering.

  • Community Acupuncture defines and supports a mode of direct delivery of affordable care for people of ordinary incomes regardless of insurance coverage.

  • Community Acupuncture provides a new model for healthcare and self-care empowerment.

  • Community Acupuncture has at its heart a commitment to social justice and the deconstruction of barriers to care and resources.

  • Community Acupuncture’s commitment to social justice is expressed in part by addressing specific barriers to accessing care and training in the field of acupuncture, namely cost.

  • Community Acupuncture has created, just in the last 5 years, employment opportunities where there were none. However, because of the debt load that graduates bear coupled with the culture of the acupuncture profession, many of these positions have yet to be filled.


  • Proliferating and sustaining affordable acupuncture

  • Offering affordable training and education for acupuncturists

  • Articulating new paradigms of healthcare and health empowerment

  • Growing vital local economies

  • Creating social and financial capital – both in our local communities and within the community acupuncture movement

  • Expanding into currently un-served communities

  • Linking with other communities working for social justice

  • Meeting the many needs of existing clinics: employees, micro-lending, training materials, personnel materials, managerial materials, mentoring, other hands-on support


  • Patient/Community member benefits: coop’s (vs. non-member) sliding-scale, 10th tx free, special offers, initial fee waived at member clinics, three “Free Treatment” cards to share, newsletter, (poss. access to membership list for cross marketing purposes)

  • Punk/Student member benefits: forum, employer support, collective buying power, LOC directory, low-interest loans, employment network (poss. malpractice ins.)

  • Every Voice Matters—It starts with “how you feel” after coming for acupuncture—once, ten times, fifty times. When acupuncture is able to provide lasting relief from a problem or help to optimize one’s health, it is important to share this feedback with others. The riches of our collective knowledge are a valuable community resource. Sharing this resource by sharing our experiences will help to bring students, practitioners, patients, regulators, and others to the movement.

  • Every Vote Matters—Individual coop members each have one vote in the decision-making processes that will define and guide the coop towards its stated goals. Annual elections for coop board members and specific projects are a shared responsibility of the membership. In this way, the accessibility and proliferation of an effective form of health care is directed by the very people the coop serves: its practioners, its patients, its community.

  • Coming Together—we create mutually beneficial relationships where patient/community members can give hands-on support inside the clinic and out in the community. We continue our advocacy as patients and practitioners to bring affordable acupuncture to places where it is still needed. We manifest our vision of vital local economies and healthy, empowered communities of individuals. Through our collective resources, we create training and employment opportunities. Our collective voice speaks our purpose to the acupuncture profession, its regulatory bodies, and the health care field at large.


Watch the CAN blog for POCA updates

Raed POCA's mission and vision statements, and our goals and objectives.

Join POCA on Facebook (until the official POCA website launches, we hope in early May)

Download and read “Solidarity as a Business Model” at