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Wellness Spaces for All

What's up with accessible healing health spaces in SF?

I've been thinking a lot about this question ever since I heard that Circle Community Acupuncture was due to close last summer. I had been going to Circle as a patient for almost ten years and it was a cornerstone to my sense of health care and well being.

And then, The Scarlet Sage, a main-stay of herb supply and a community gathering space in the Mission for almost 30 years, picked up and moved to Pacific Heights. As a former employee, and current customer, I thought it a strange move. So after dealing with permitting issues and fitting in to a new neighborhood; I was not surprised to hear that they had to close last month.

I find it strange, or rather extremely frustrating, that as a person who is immersed in healing and wellness worlds, with deep roots in San Francisco, that there are less and less options for holistic care for lower-income people here.

This is why when I had the opportunity to take a step back and re-imagine my business last fall, I wanted to dive into how to mend this hole in our community. I reached out to several folks in my community and heard, exactly what I expected - herbalism is not accessible. It's costly and somewhat difficult to find quality herbs or practitioners.

This breaks my heart. As I know that herbalism is the people's medicine. All of our ancestors practiced their own version of herbal medicine. Time and time again, in my business I'm reaching for ways to increase access to and education about herbal medicine for all people.

This is why I created various lengths of consultations. Now in my practice I offer active clients (after sitting for a 2 hour intake) the option of booking 15, 30 or 60 minute follow ups. This allows clients to choose the meeting that best suits their wallets or busy schedule.

To date, I know of only two sliding scale acupuncture offerings in SF; San Francisco Community Acupuncture on Valencia and Kat Cabanayan of BTCH Wellness at Community Well on Thursday afternoons. (If you know of other sliding-scale or affordable acupuncture offerings in SF, please write and let me know!)

As I enter my 11th year in the biz, I will continue to ask (and attempt to answer) this question: how do we make herbs and herbalism more accessible in San Francisco? I'm proud and humbled to say I think we are doing it in a small way through the Herbs & Roses internship at Alemany Farm this spring. I aim to offer this with my curiosity call, tiered consultation options, and I pray that we have another local apothecary open up ASAP!

I hope to offer more types of consultations, various workshops, circles and interactive opportunities for all of us to strengthen and deepen our herbal roots. Stay tuned for more to come from this little herbal biz! In the mean time, won't you help me name the whale?!


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