Acupuncture has shown positive effects for thousands of years, and a clinic in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is designed to make it more affordable and accessible for everyone.
Opened in 2008, The Pin Cushion treats patients in a communal space rather than in separate rooms. That allows the small business to offer a sliding fee model, limiting prices to $35 – $55 per visit.
“You also get the benefit of having group healing energy,” said owner and practitioner Julie Johnson. “Most people that come in find the experience really relaxing. We’ve tried to create a room that’s very peaceful and patients usually fall asleep or take a nap when they come in for a session.”
Acupuncture prescriptions for stress and anxiety are common, but unlike Western medicine, acupuncture does not separate mental and physical health treatments.
“In Chinese medicine, there is no distinction between a person’s mental health, physical health, emotional and spiritual health,” Johnson said. “So we’re uniquely poised to treat mental health issues because that’s always the way we approach treatment. Especially now, during these times when people are highly stressed and our nervous systems have been so activated. People are very open to it and we get referrals from Western medical practitioners a lot.”
This small needle used for acupuncture is comparable to a strand of hair. Credit: KING TV
Each session lasts for about an hour. The patient fills out a health history and meets with the practitioner to help identify the areas needing treatment.
“There are energy pathways, channels, meridians, coursing all along the body that connect with the inner organs. The craft or art of the medicine is picking out that point prescription,” Johnson said. “We have roughly 365 points to work with. Each point has a specific action or function, and we do anywhere from four to 20 points.”
The needles or “filaments” are very small, similar in size to a strand of hair. Inserting them takes only a few minutes, then patients lay back and relax for another 45.
“If they were feeling really frazzled or stressed, which is often the case, they feel generally more calm – it’s like a re-set,” Johnson said. “It’s tremendously rewarding. I love connecting with people, I love helping people feel better, and educating them about the effects of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and how it can really be an important part of their healthcare.”