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Liberation Acupuncture & POCA Tech

Updated: Jul 5, 2018

Have you ever wondered why we call ourselves punks?

Aside from the clever play on words (acuPUNKturist), we call ourselves punks because we are doing something off-beat. Here are the social / business values we share with our fellow POCA clinic members:

- to make acupuncture accessible to working-class communities

- to recognize the structures in which health disparities are created and increase health equity for the most marginalized and oppressed of patients

- to provide acupuncture to our patients on their own terms

POCA Tech was created by POCA in 2014 out of a desperate need for training the next generation of punks who will work in existing community acupuncture clinics or open their own in under-served communities. The program is affordable, accessible and a major part of their curriculum is based on the theory of Liberation Acupuncture. (

"Liberation Acupuncture is a conceptual framework for acupuncture that affirms that individual health and disease do not exist, and cannot be understood or addressed, apart from social conditions – particularly injustice, inequality, and the pervasive influence of traumatic stress. Liberation Acupuncture is a praxis that begins with the needs and the perspectives of the oppressed, the exploited, and the excluded. Liberation acupuncture defines what is valuable in acupuncture theory and practice by determining what is useful and valuable to oppressed people." (Punking Praxis by Lisa Rohleder)

Here is just one example of how our cultural environment effects the health of our LGBTQ+ peers: Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth. In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25. (The Trevor Project)

Discrimination against LGBTQ+ rights is ingrained in our social reality and, as highlighted above, has fatal implications. As we learned about Liberation Acupuncture in Portland, we quickly came to the realization that Boise Acupuncture Co-op wants to further embrace this mission. As punks, we know community acupuncture can help to alleviate post-traumatic stress, depression, and isolation. In our effort to make acupuncture accessible to the culturally oppressed, we are committed to doing whatever we can to lower the social and economic barriers for all. In the coming months, we will be training our staff on trauma-informed care, completing a clinical guide on suicide prevention, and connecting with community organizers and local non-profits.

If you are involved in a non-profit or public health organization working to promote the welfare of our community and would like to work with BAC, we would love to hear from you! Email us at


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