This past weekend I attended my first POCAfest in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City with part of our Sacramento Acupuncture Project family: Whitney and Molly. We were even lucky enough to have Cait make an appearance from Nebraska!
You might be asking yourself “What is POCA? And what the heck is POCAfest?” POCA, otherwise known as the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, is an organization that brings together community acupuncture clinics from all over, helping new clinics get started, existing clinics thrive, and acupunks of all skill levels find new ways to improve. POCAfest is their annual gathering. It is a time to check in with fellow clinic owners and punks, talk about our vision for the future of CA, to recharge our dedication to what we do, and to laugh, a lot.
Over the course of the weekend there were panel discussions and lectures on things like building a strong patient base, acupunk self-care, proper body mechanics and palpation techniques. We talked about the current state of community acupuncture in the US and where we would like to see it go (more of it everywhere!).
As a first time attendee, the thing that was most striking to me was the passion of everyone present. From the POCAtech students, punks new to the CA scene, and practitioners who have been at it for 10 years, everyone was energized by their work and dedicated to the well being of their patients. It was great to meet practitioners from all over the country that are fired up about affordable acupuncture for their communities. At the heart of a community acupuncture clinic is the idea that everyone should have access to affordable care, and a safe place to rest and heal. The treatment room is an equalizer, it dissolves the borders of race, class, gender, age, etc and unites us in our humanity. POCAfest is a celebration of that.