Holistic healthcare centers that offer low-cost traditional Chinese medicine therapies are appearing in locations throughout the country using a community model popular in China. To keep costs down, patients are treated fully clothed in a common area instead of in private treatment rooms. The physician stays in the room treating the variety of patients and remains available to anyone who needs more attention. Patients enjoy group support and a sense of shared healing.
“We are passionate about making this medicine as widely available to people as possible, while maintaining an inviting and ‘spa’-like healing environment,” says Dave Mckinnon, co-founder of Sustain Community Acupuncture in San Diego. “Because an effective course of treatment usually requires multiple visits, our price point is low enough that most people—even those without adequate insurance—can come in for the treatment that they need. Both Dia—my partner—and myself got into this medicine because it has helped us profoundly when modern medicine couldn’t. Everyone should be able to access the benefits of natural medicine and empower themselves in their own recovery and well-being.”
At $30, Sustain’s fees are only one-third to one-half those of typical acupuncturists. The wellness center in San Diego features “Free First Fridays” that offer anyone a treatment once per month at no charge after an initial startup fee of $15. In other locations across the country, fees range between $15 and $40, with no more than a $15 surcharge for the initial treatment.