Healing just got more accessible

Nelson Community Acupuncture takes a co-op style approach to caring for patients

two ladies and a man standing together

L to R: Zea Friesen, Ryan Gallant and Jill Zinszer.

Photo courtesy Zea Friesen

Nearly at the completion of its first year in business, Nelson Community Acupuncture is run by Jill Zinszer, Ryan Gallant and Zea Friesen. All three owners have graduated from the local Academy of Classic Oriental Sciences. They base their practice on the Community Acupuncture Movement, which allows for more economical treatment options and a laid-back setting.

"We treat in an open room setting where patients are comfortably seated in a small group in reclining chairs using points primarily on the arms, legs and head," said Friesen. "We treat the same things that other acupuncturists treat, including back pain and so on. Appointment times are staggered throughout the hour allowing us to give high-quality, personalized care to multiple patients, which permits us to lower our fees and make acupuncture accessible to a greater number of people."

Meeting a need

Friesen first became involved in acupuncture in 1997, and by 2005 had started practising using the conventional mode of treatment. In observing the trends over the course of five years, she found that there were two obstacles that made it difficult to run a business in this field. First of all, Nelson has a saturated market in the natural medicine sector, and competition for acupuncturists is very high. Second, patients are often unable to afford the high cost of individual treatments, which can range between $50 and $75 per session.

"It was simply too expensive," said Friesen, "and how people benefit best is to receive several treatments instead of one to treat an ailment. I wanted to practise in a way that reflected who I was and what my values were. Now that I have been practising using the community acupuncture model for the past year, I couldn't imagine doing it any other way."

Cause for celebration

On November 6, the staff at Nelson Community Acupuncture will be celebrating their first anniversary with an open house and free treatments from 1 to 5 p.m. It will be a proud day for Friesen and her partners, and for the many patients they have helped along the way.

"The most rewarding part of our work is being able to offer acupuncture without the money barrier," said Friesen, "the relationships we build with our patients, being able to run our own business, learning how to work with two partners and of course helping people get better and offering hope when people are struggling."

For more information about the Community Acupuncture Network and its impact on health care, visit this website.

Nelson Community Acupuncture is located at 302 - 625 Front Street, Nelson, B.C. and can be reached at 250-509-1466.

Danielle Cameron

Danielle Cameron is a writer and web editor for several publications and has been practising as a Certified Herbal Practitioner since 2005. View all of Danielle Cameron’s articles

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