Happy Spring… or whatever season New England happens to be in today! If you are counting on acupuncture and herbs to help you through seasonal allergies, it’s better to start sooner vs. later. Getting your treatments in before the symptoms start will either prevent them or give you a milder version of whatever you typically experience (congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, etc.).
I hope you all are making progress in the Vaccine Gladiator Games a.k.a. finding an appointment. Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, I was able to get both doses of my COVID-19 vaccine by February 4. I am beyond grateful to be able to feel safer about coming to work.
Does this change anything here at the clinic? The short answer is NO. Pandemic safety protocols like mask-wearing and hand washing will stay in place, since vaccinations do not prevent infection and transmission. (Here’s a good video on how vaccines work and why you can’t compare vaccine efficacy.)
We will also continue to follow CDC travel guidelines for those who travel or otherwise step outside of their social pods/bubbles and see family/friends whom they are not in regular contact with. Please take note that the guidelines have changed in recent months:
- Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
I understand that herd immunity can only be achieved when vaccination rates go above 80% (MA is currently only 19% fully vaccinated), so please encourage everyone you know to get the vaccine. In the meantime, stay safe and masked. I look forward to seeing your (still half-covered) faces soon!
Update on services, rates and schedule
Since reopening the clinic last June, there have been a number of changes implemented as part of safety protocols that were supposed to be temporary but will now have to be adopted long-term.
For instance, capacity was reduced in order to allow the treatment rooms to air out for 30 minutes in between patients. 15-minute free consults became virtual/phone-based. Full (50-minute) Trigger Point Dry Needling sessions are no longer offered because of the prolonged exposure time between the patient and me. (Instead, patients have been transitioned to “Acupuncture+ sessions” that incorporate dry needling or electroacupuncture, which have been quite effective.)
Due to the additional safety measures, cleaning procedures, and reduced capacity, it has become necessary to increase service rates by $5, effective April 1st. (Insurance patients will not be affected.) Thank you all for understanding.
The schedule has been relatively full for the past few weeks, so if you urgently need an appointment, let me know via email or text (617) 294-9109 and I can put you on a waitlist. If there is a day and time that works especially well, I encourage you to book online 1-2 weeks out instead of waiting until the last minute. It is easy to reschedule through a link in appointment confirmation email.
Referrals generated $170 for ATASK
As some of you know, when people spread the word about Flying Turtle Healing Arts, I donate $10 for each referral. The beneficiary of this round of referral bonuses is the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK). During the pandemic, there has been a rise in domestic violence. ATASK provides shelter, legal help and other critical assistance regardless of immigration status. (Learn more)
The next beneficiary for referral bonuses will be Stop AAPI Hate, an organization fighting anti-Asian racism. Hate crimes against Asian Americans increased 150% in 2020, with Stop AAPI Hate recording 3,800 incidents in the past year alone. They also provide resources like safety tips and bystander training.
I am still reeling from grief and anger due to the Atlanta spa shootings where six Asian women were murdered. Last week, a 65-year old Filipina woman was attacked in New York in broad daylight. If you want to help:
- Check in on your Asian American friends and family.
- Sign up for bystander training to stop harrassment or at least read Hollaback!’s 5D’s of Bystander Intervention.
- Report hate incidents using the Stop AAPI website.
- Donate to organizations like AAJF and Define American, as well as Stop AAPI Hate.
- Educate yourself and read/listen/watch the many Asian voices that are speaking up now. Racism against Asian Americans has a LONG history. Be informed and stay engaged.
Cigna will no longer be accepted as of June 1
Beginning June 1st, Cigna has unfortunately decided to partner with a different company that has a reputation for paying abysmal rates for acupuncture services, so I have decided not to join their network. Current patients with Cigna can continue to use their insurance until May 31st.
Flying Turtle Healing Arts is still an in-network provider of acupuncture services for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Allways Health Partners.
Resources for getting vaccinated
The good news is all Massachusetts residents aged 16+ will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by April 19, so preregister for your appointment ASAP. A software engineer and mom on maternity leave built a website that aggregates information from multiple sites (and can be filtered to show only the sites with availability). Other ways to get an appointment:
- Call 211 – the state call center apparently has a 4 minute wait time – or visit https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
- Follow @vaccinetime on Twitter -Tthis bot posts the number available appointments that open up statewide.
- Sign up for email alerts for newly available appointments and/or text alert.
Dr. Robin Schoenthaler, the MGH doctor who writes about COVID, has a piece about navigating a post-vaccine world. Good luck!