Reflecting on my personal experience doing community acupuncture: By Kevin Scrimgeour

As an acupuncturist , I’ve working for over 15 years in dozens of settings and seeing thousands of patients. My practice has evolved, surprisingly, to be a better fit in a community setting. Looking back over my experiences and case histories some things I could never seem to have good luck with are now easily treated in a community setting. These are often things of a more psychological nature like depression and anxiety. As well complex pain conditions are well managed in long running weekly sessions, provided in community acupuncture settings.  

I still very much enjoy private sessions and for many cases this is superior.  For example facial rejuvenation or with cases of deep muscle pain that can benefit from trigger point acupuncture. However the one on one gives more time to the client and I might tend to teach and explain for a longer period leaving less time for the client to simply be and allow the body and mind to shift in the way it needs to.  From one perspective it does make sense that a more efficient style of treatment would be better than a slower more methodical private treatment; and it does make sense that people coming together would work better.  Don’t get me wrong  I also see great things in private one on one but Community Acupuncture definitely  has something else going for it.


To be a responsible practitioner one has to be a skeptic and I am always questioning if the group experience simply creates a more potent placebo effect. I am aware I tend to be more relaxed so my judgment and memory for points and patterns may have more clarity. There are also many aspects to the  group energy to be considered that is created when many people come together with a similar healing intention. There is the wonderful zen atmosphere combined with the odd giggle and an open and welcoming community feel that enables the nervous system to calm. There is a feeling of safety and a silent camaraderie that may allow people to drift off the way they do. Whatever the reason as a practitioner I seem to enjoy this kind of work and it just feels right for me.

Another added benefit of Community Acupuncture is the frequency and the time available. A patient can attend regularly and more frequently as a month of Community Acupuncture is often equitable cost to a single private session. Beyond this one can show up at anytime and stay for up to two hours at a time. This extended time available to allow the needles to set in situ seems to also have a positive effect for some difficult and chronic issues.

Initial Assessments

First I will say in a private one on one setting there is the advantage of time and thoroughness of an initial consultation. However this is often never correct on the first time. An initial consult needs to be addressed with treatment and then based on the results of treatment an assessment can be made as to the validity of the initial diagnosis. Community Acupuncture allows for more frequency and so a complete and effective treatment plan can be developed. A wider variety of treatment options can be explored as the frequency allows for more diversity of points and this leads to discoveries of what works and what does not.

One drawback may be the thoroughness in an initial assessment in Community Acupuncture as compared to a private session. However one must judge the results of a treatment on the initial diagnosis. If the treatment is not effective then the diagnosis must be adjusted. In Community Acupuncture the frequency allows for the diagnosis to be modified quicker which leads to very effective treatments and very clear results.  As the treatments progress the effects start to become longer lasting and more effective as it is discovered what works best for each individual.

As an ethical practitioner you are always wanting to create a barrier free clinic space so that anyone who needs help can feel welcome and comfortable coming to see you.  

Empower Health has provided a perfect setting for delivering acupuncture in a way that everyone can afford.

You might wonder why I am so happy after so long to be able to offer Community Acupuncture. Well it has finally happened; my dream come true. Almost 15 years of proposing the idea of community acupuncture to a number of clinics, I finally have found a clinic progressive enough to offer Community Acupuncture, Empower Health Clinic

I  have said publicly many times that I learned more about the nature and potency of acupuncture in the first 6 months of running a Community clinic than in the previous 7 years of working in a private room. This is because appropriate frequency of acupuncture treatment trumps all other modalities (like cupping or moxa, etc.) – almost without exception. By extension, efficacy of treatment plans turn out to be more successful across the board as well. This is undeniable in my experience.


Most of the clinical trials in China all have acupuncture three or four times a week for twenty of thirty times. In western treatments we usually only get 5 or ten. The results are not as good. Frequency is the key.

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