Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

City Acupuncture Circle

Dec 04, 2014 09:28PM
By Jess Snow

City Acupuncture Circle sits on the 5th floor of the building above Lucky Bar, at the intersection of 18th and Connecticut in the heart of one of DC’s more affluent city sub-districts. Just at the top of a narrow, wooden stairway, the 5-bed office resonates with an unspoken calm and purity that is punctuated only by the gentle oriental sounds of the same instrumental radio that one would expect to hear in your traditional spa-type environment.

Owner, JoseLo Gutierrez did the spa thing for a while during his time as a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist for almost 10 years in New York. Whether it is the inability of the therapist to hold space for multiple healing experiences at a time, or the desire of the patient to have someone to speak with in a private manner, “Not everyone can do community clinic,” he says. The commonplace conception of acupuncture as $130 treatment sessions inside of a premiere medical spa is often the most exposure to acupoint therapy that we experience in the westernized culture. “I couldn’t afford my own services; I couldn’t sell my services to my friends… I felt like a hypocrite.”

In a traditional sense, Chinese medicine has always been practiced in a communal setting, and that is how JoseLo got his start, too. Beginning his practice in 1998, his apprenticeship studies took him through the fast-paced community clinics of Taiwan, and gave him the ability to handle over 40 patients in a day. “People need acupuncture, and people want it. Most people give up because of the exorbitant costs.”

To that, community clinic seems to be the answer. More about the creation of the Space, the clinic becomes a portal into the world of sacred healing, in which the clients are allowed to do their own work towards wellness. “Some people want to talk,” using an hour-long private session as an alternative-medicine counseling appointment, with the added bonus of getting pinned with needles. In community clinic, the talk therapy is removed from the equation, and the clients are left to determine their own level of transformation. Energetically, by allowing oneself to become receptive and having a peaceful place for silent meditation, being present in the clinic attunes the body and mind allowing for the spontaneous healing of many different conditions and illnesses on even a sub-atomic level.

Those science-minded folk who hold disbelief in the “energy field” can refer to the countless testimonials and medically-proven results that any Google search is bound to garner regarding chronic pain, all forms of dis-ease, and basically any imbalance that one could hope not to find within the body. Insurance companies continue to expand their contracts to include alternative healing therapies, and acupuncture was one of the first non-traditional treatments on that list of recognized modalities.

Nonetheless, “social impact, social justice, insurance.” JoseLo doesn’t want to deal with it. Rather than spend time and energy “within the system,” he would rather create a place to invest directly in to the community. The City Acupuncture Circle opened in July 2012 as part of a larger movement across the US, Canada, and UK that serves access to affordable acupuncture available to all people.

Since it’s opening, the community has grown over 350 clients, and JoseLo has held the space for more than 500 treatment sessions. Clients who are making The Circle a part of their regular routine enjoy the practice for many of a number of reasons—the $20-50 sliding scale based as “suggested donation” is not a hard sell, and many even enjoy the community aspect of it.

Cat Lockman, an acupuncture veteran who is new to this particular circle, said that she is very impressed with both JoseLo’s technique as an acupuncturist and her experience in the community environment. “It combines the best pieces of community practice and the five-element approach, rolled in to one,” she says. The Community Acupuncture Circle has “a more multi-technique approach than the private sessions [she has participated in], which cost two times as much as what [she] chose to pay today,” at $65—full suggested donation plus the new client consultation fee.

How does JoseLo maintain his own balance, along with the pursuit of the practice six days a week? In a community environment, the treatment process can actually become a form of meditation in itself. “Your ego dissolves… you have no time to think.” Instead of getting caught in the drama of everyday human behavior, the acupuncturist can connect to the deeper energetic pathways that flow between us all on a micro-cosmic level. Place the needles; align yourself with the intention of healing. “You only have time to be intuitive.”

So, that is the place where healing takes place—in the space between the thoughts and the words. As energetic beings, we group together and build our intention like multiplying candle flames in the darkness to illuminate a room. The illumination infiltrates the body to wipe out ailments and dis-ease that do not fit in structure with your well and noble intentions. Through this attunement to positive vibration, you are changed.

Jessica Snow is a healing artist and DC native, who has dedicated her life to helping people find affordable holistic medicine within the community. You can connect with her at



Global Brief
Health Brief