Virginia Graziani

Redwood Times

On Tuesday, July 23, acupuncturist Michiah Tobin will begin seeing clients in groups at her new office on the north side of the Garberville Town Square, offering lower cost treatments and more flexibility in scheduling.

As her opening day special, Tobin is offering free sessions, time and space allowing, for today only.

Tobin joined the staff at Redwoods Rural Health a year ago, and she plans to continue seeing clients for regular one-on-one sessions on Wednesdays, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays she’ll be at her new business, called Community Acupuncture Works.

"The business model is different from a traditional model in which a patient is seen in a private room and charged $60 or more for the service," Tobin explained.

"In a community clinic, patients are seen in a group setting and charged a fee of $15-$40 sliding scale, which allows people of all income brackets to get the frequency of care they need without compromising quality.

"This business model is based on the way acupuncture is practiced in China. Community acupuncture is gaining much recognition in the United States and most cities offer a community clinic option," she said.

When clients come to Community Acupuncture Works for a treatment, Tobin will see them briefly in a private room to discuss their condition and check their vital signs.

Then they will go to the community room, take one of six chairs, and Tobin will begin the treatment. As each client completes a treatment, he or she leaves and the chair becomes available for the next person.

Clients are asked not to talk to each other during the treatment, since an important part of the healing process is the atmosphere of quiet, relaxation and tranquility.

People Tobin has not previously worked with will need to schedule an initial one-on-one appointment so that she can talk with them in detail about what they need and want from acupuncture.

After the initial appointment, they are welcome to come to Community Acupuncture. Walk-ins are welcome but anyone who needs to be seen at a specific time should call Tobin to make an appointment so a space can be reserved.

Clients pay on a sliding scale of $15-40 and are expected to pay in cash at the time of their appointment. They will be given an envelope for their payment and payments will go into a locked box.

Tobin will protect client’s confidentiality by discussing their problems and treatment in private only, as well as asking people in the community room not to talk to each other, but because clients see each other during treatment it does not provide the complete privacy of individual treatment.

"It’s a choice of privacy versus availability and cost," said Tobin.

Tobin explained that she is an independent contractor working with Eel River Holistics, subletting her space in the former office of physical therapist John Schmidt.

When she told people she was planning to open a community acupuncture clinic, she got "great feedback," she said.

"Working as the acupuncturist for RRHC this past year I have come to realize how important this is to the SoHum community," she said. "I am proud to offer this service to our local community."

Tobin can be reached at 707-601-7595.