So Stef, you’re trained as a Naturopath. Why are you working at GCA?
That’s a great question! I was originally interested in Naturopathic Medicine because of it’s accessibility in theory – I yearned for the ability to take care of myself and my friends through diet, lifestyle, and herbs. Acupuncture was a significant component to my education, but I had avoided acupuncture like the plague due to an irrational fear of needles. The first person to poke me was a student who had never needled before. I was terrified; broke into an embarrassing sweat but the rest is history. I’ve been hooked (or needled) ever since.
Suddenly I was fascinated by this mysterious technique of inserting tiny needles. It made me feel calm, heavy at times, and it gave me a wonderful sensation of what I like to call “buzzing”. I was addicted, but never realized the revolutionary healing potential of acupuncture until I came to see Lisa at GCA. Not only did I feel so welcomed and part of something greater than myself, but I realized “acupuncture doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective”. I was unfamiliar with power of regular acupuncture treatments, and within the first 2 months my physical complaint started to budge – this was an issue I had for 18 years and I had accepted it as part of my own normal physiology. I remember sitting in one of those lazy boys with needles in crying in gratitude. I felt like I was where I needed to be.
What’s your favourite thing about community acupuncture clinics?
That’s difficult – there’s too many! Let me think…. On a practical level CA clinics provide the opportunity for so many to receive treatment often enough so that it is effective while also taking advantage of the “community qi”. At the same time, the increase in client volume per hour offers a wealth of practical experience to the practitioner. It’s a beautiful model. What drew me to GCA is the feeling of community and acceptance there. After only one visit I could sense I was a part of something greater than my own healing journey, and this came about before I discovered POCA (the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture). Not only did I find a clinic that so closely reflected my views of healing, community, and positive change, as it turns out GCA is was part of an impressive coop with over 200 other community acupuncture clinics throughout North America! It gave me comfort to know that similar clinics existed in other cities and that so many have had this experience of personal and communal healing before me.
I returned to Guelph for the community, this lovely city is so full of caring individuals. It feels so perfect to be practicing community acupuncture here.
Do you have any long-term plans for GCA?
… Is this Lisa trying to pick my brain?
I hope we are able to continue to offer more opening hours to increase accessibility. Introducing a second shift on certain days would be brilliant.
Do you have a favourite acupoint?
Right now my favourite point to needle is Master Tung’s Ling Ku (Spirit bone), also known as Large Intestine 4.5. Master Tung is sometimes referred to as the “greatest acupuncturist who ever lived”, a Chinese physician famous for using a small number of needles to get miraculous results. Ling Ku is found in the web of your hand where the metacarpals (the long bones in your hand directly below your fingers) of your thumb and first finger meet, about two thirds of the way down from the base of your fingers to your wrist. Press on it, it’s quite the pressure point and is most famous for effectively providing quick relief for sciatica and lower back pain. The first time I used this point, one needle in the left hand provided immediate and total relief of intense bilateral sciatica from degenerative disc disease in various lumber intervertebral discs (the little round cushion-like structures between your vertebral bones of your back). It completely surprised me and the client was a little taken-back by my excitement.
How about a favourite GCA lazyboy?
The one in the North West corner of the room. The weird angle of the chair when I lean back feels as if I am gently stabilized and held in one place to keep me from floating away. This particular lazy-boy is also situated near a speaker and a white-noise machine, making it so easy to zone-out and relax while the needles do their work.
Starting this Saturday, Stef will be giving acupuncture treatments at GCA on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Welcome Stef, we’re so excited to have you here!