Bellingen Community Acupuncture & Shiatsu offers affordable, professional and effective health care in a relaxed community setting.
We are open on Wednesday's from 9am-3pm at the CWA hall (2 Church St). Treatments range from $30 to $45 depending on what you can afford.
Available treatments - Acupuncture 45 mins and Shiatsu 30 mins.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


There are two clinics that inspired me to start a community acupuncture clinic.
I read about the first clinic while I was still a student, the 'Gateway' in London was established with £100,000 of public health funding. The focus was to provide free acupuncture to HIV and Hepatitis patients who had been referred by their GP. The clinic was similar in it's design to a typical acupuncture ward in a Chinese hospital, that is a big hall with multiple beds, miminal privacy, many practitioners working on many patients in the same room at the same time.

I loved this idea!

And here is why,
1) Publicly funded acupuncture - Acupuncture is currently affordable only for those earning above average wages. Patients with less than average incomes (HIV and Hepatitis sufferers tend to be in this category due to their impaired ability to work) are left with little choice when it comes to healthcare options. Equitable access to healthcare is something I strongly believe in and I was relieved to finally hear about an acupuncture clinic delivering healthcare to patients regardless of socio-economic status.

2) Practitioners working together - two heads are better than one! Second opinions available onsite with minimal delay, numerous opportunities to learn from other acupuncturists as they go about their work, patients benefit from a team based approach to treatment, practitioners develop a sense of comraderie not often available to those in private practice.

3) Patients working together - in the shared ward like setting patients have a chance to develop social and/or support networks. After all, the only thing worse than suffering is suffering alone. Patients often overhear the complaints of others and this can provide some perspective on their own suffering ("gee here I am getting so worked up over my knee/boss/cough etc. when the guy next door is trying to cope with 'insert worst health based fear here') Hearing other people's complaints can also trigger compassion for others, a mental state that is showing promising signs in recent research for it's ability to promote positive outcomes in physical and mental health.
For more info on the Gateway clinic click here.

The second inspiration was reading about the Working Class Acupuncture clinic in Portland USA. Lisa Rohleder started the clinic in 2002 with the aim of providing affordable and effective health care. The clinic is very similar in design to the Gateway clinic but instead of beds she uses 'Lazyboy' recliners! There is a sliding scale of payment which allows patients to pay between US$15-35 depending on what they can afford. The clinic was incredibly successful not only with patients but also with acupuncturists. In 2006 Lisa helped found the Community Acupuncture Network in order to meet the demand for acupuncturists wanting support in setting up there own community type clinic. She has a great blog which I highly recommend

Private practice certainly has it's benefits but I'm so appreciative of the opportunity to devote myself to both a private and a public clinic. It's a nice balance of Yin and Yang :)
Thanks go to the administrators, practitioners and patients who made these clinics possible and have inspired myself and many others to follow their lead.
Of course I can't start thanking people without mentioning the countless doctors of traditional Chinese medicine who for thousands of years have studied, practiced and passed on their knowledge. For that I am grateful on a daily basis.
Best wishes,


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