As an East Coaster living in BC, my loved ones are scattered across time zones. This winter, lacking the distraction and de facto social group that came with being a student, life here began to feel a little lonely. My counsellor, a body-centered therapist, suggested I check out Heart & Hands and see about volunteering. Done my MA program, burnt out and aimless, I was trying to cope with grief, anxiety, and trauma that felt overwhelming. After losing a close friend, my circle spent time together in mourning, but as time dragged us back to our routines, that support network dispersed across WIFI networks and group-chats. My experience at H&H has helped to restore a sense of connection to my body and to community here in Victoria.
As both a volunteer and a patient at H&H, I feel lucky to take part in the clinic’s community care oriented model. Within weeks of my first acunap, I had to hold my tongue when catching up with pals lest I urge them — yet again — to find a community clinic in their town and try out some acu for their troubles. Whether a tension headache, back pain, menstrual issues, or creeping anxiety brings me to the chair, I know I’ll have a calming session where I’m treated compassionately by a caring acupunk. Access to regular, affordable acupuncture treatments has been transformative for my mental and physical well-being, and I’m super grateful that Victoria has a place like Heart & Hands helping to make healthcare more accessible to everyone in the community.