Island Points, a new community acupuncture clinic, has opened on Tuesdays in Studio Lux on Vashon Highway from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Owner Laurel Boyajian, licensed acupuncturist, said that while seeing to the individualized assessment and treatment of her clients, her approach to the therapy she provides is enhanced by the serenity of the space she has begun practicing in.
“Once I set up my little part — I block off an area — it just feels really calm and restful, and I think people feel that in addition to getting acupuncture,” she said.
Islanders Hannah Kogan and Levin Pugsley opened Studio Lux together this spring. Inside, the couple regularly leads a variety of activities from Pilates to African dance and kung-fu lessons. They also offer individual massages and ortho-bionomy, a gentle form of body therapy they say is ideal for sufferers of chronic pain.
“People feel good when they walk into this space,” Boyajian said. “When you get acupuncture and there are other people getting acupuncture at the same time, there’s a sort of healing field — something happens because people are doing it together.”
While not offering private appointments, acupuncture in an exclusively community setting enables Boyajian to charge on a sliding scale — clients can pay any amount ranging from $20 to $40 — via an online portal available on her website, islandpointsacu.com.
“There’s no request for income verification; people just decide, ‘I can pay this much,’ and they just do. It means there are more people in the community who can afford to try acupuncture and get acupuncture,” she said.
While she doesn’t accept insurance, Boyajian said that she can provide a receipt for the treatment if clients have insurance they bill themselves.
“Insurance will cover only a limited number of acupuncture treatments per year and sometimes for only specific diagnoses, whereas in a community clinic, people can decide for themselves how many treatments to get and may choose acupuncture for any conditions they want,” she added.
With six chairs in all, a typical session at Island Points will last about 45 minutes to an hour. Patrons receive the treatment apart from their cell phones and other personal belongings, stored safely close by, from the comfort of a reclining chair until the needles are removed.
As time and circumstances permit, Boyajian plans to expand her available hours beyond Tuesdays and would like to begin practicing on Thursdays once she has the clientele base.
Boyajian said she practices in accordance with the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA), a stakeholder-led cooperative organization that supports and promotes community acupuncture clinics in the United States, such as Island Points. And although there is one other acupuncturist on Vashon who offers community acupuncture, Boyajian believes that the market for acupuncture on the island is not oversaturated, especially when other businesses operate on schedules that may be inconvenient for some. Moreover, she has a lot of faith in the practice of acupuncture and would like for more people to try it out.
“I just wanted more community options available for people — sometimes someone needs more than once a week and just to have more openings,” she said. “There really can never be too many acupuncturists.”