On pins and needles

Olivia Peters-Lazaro and Michelle Faucher

PHOTO courtesy of chico community acupuncture

The room filled with recliners and relaxing jazz music at first appears to be an ideal nap location. However, this tranquil atmosphere is designed for “needling,” not just resting. Licensed acupuncturists Olivia Peters-Lazaro (at left) and Michelle Faucher opened Chico Community Acupuncture in April and designed it to help patients reach an inner calm while receiving treatment. The clinic, located at 1057 Village Lane, is part of a national movement to provide affordable acupuncture. Although the clinic does not accept insurance, treatment ranges from $15 to $35 for each session.

How do you keep prices so low?

Faucher: We want people to think of this as ordinary medicine for ordinary people with ordinary problems. We want acupuncture to be something they can afford. There is no reason for it to be expensive. The needles cost pennies.

Is acupuncture a one-time or ongoing treatment?

Faucher: For it to be effective at all, it needs to be done regularly. You need to get needles into the body. But that doesn’t work if you can’t afford it.

Peters-Lazaro: Acupuncture is more effective if done more often. For new symptoms, it normally takes one or two treatments a week to get them under control.

Why do you perform acupuncture in a group setting?

Faucher: We use group treatment because isolation is a huge factor in illness and disease. People who are timid can come in with their friends or family. It is a nice way for them to get started and overcome their trepidation.

Why do you use recliners in treatment and allow patients to take naps?

Peters-Lazaro: In traditional acupuncture settings you will be woken up after the standard 20 minutes. Here you have all the time you need to go into that deep relaxation. When your body is calm and your organs are receiving lots of good blood is when you’re healed.

Why acupuncture over medicine?

Peters-Lazaro: We are treating the root cause of illnesses and also their symptoms. Pharma-ceuticals treat the symptoms and then stop there. We help with things that are out of balance.

How do you diagnose issues?

Peters-Lazaro: We use the traditional Chinese medicine approach of taking your pulse and looking at your tongue. We check nine different pulses on each wrist. The science has developed over 2,000 years.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Faucher: Five of the needles we use would fit into one hypodermic needle. Most people describe feeling tingling, warmth, or a sort of hum in their bodies. Every now and then there is a little pinch.