Please check back often! Updates to our efforts to respond to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic will appear on our home page, and previous updates will be moved to the archive below. Follow our social media accounts for tips, updates, and interesting articles about how Traditional Chinese Medicine is being used to help slow the spread of the virus and help patients recover after infection.
With the holidays approaching, there are a lot of questions about what's going to happen with restrictions and guidance as the pandemic continues. This is far from over, and while the talk of a vaccine (several of them, actually) sound promising, it will be a while before it's made available to the general public. My sincere hope is that it's sooner rather than later, and that it does turn out to be both safe -and- effective. In the mean time, we need to stay vigilant. Numbers are exploding across the country, and local hospitals are issuing dire warnings about the need for people to keep on keeping on with the masks, the social distancing, the hand washing, the cough and sneeze etiquette, and the routine testing. It takes all of these measures together to be able to live our lives outside of the safety of our household pandemic pods.
I know it's exhausting. I know it's old. I'm tired of it too, and I hate wearing masks just as much as you do. My skin is angry at the dropping humidity levels while the hand washing and hand sanitizer baths continue, and I so miss hugs from friends. And I'm exhausted of the nasal swabs tickling my brain and making my eyes water every week.
But these are the things we have to continue doing, no matter how tired we are of being so extra careful all the time, so that we can continue to edge our way as close as humanly possible to what used to be normal. It's so easy to give in for the holidays. So easy to make those travel plans, to make an exception to get together in larger groups than we should, and to justify technicality in order to feel like things are back to normal. But that's the worst possible thing we can do right now.
Please stay safe out there, friends. I know too many people who have gotten lucky, and too many people who haven't. The last thing this world needs right now is to not have you in it. To not have someone you love dearly.
It's just not worth the risk.
For now, we're still open, still spending more time cleaning than treating, and still offering donation-based remote services for those who either can't leave the house or don't want to because it doesn't feel safe. As we get into the giving season, please consider a donation so that we can subsidize treatment for some of those who have fallen on harder times than most and can't afford to come in for regular treatments like they used to. Consider gift cards for loved ones.
Of course, try to shop small locally owned (and Black-owned) businesses for your holiday shopping as well. We're all feeling the pinch, and many don't know how much longer they can stay open.
Without you, we cannot be. Please stay safe.
Life seems to be finding that "new normal" we kept hearing about back in March when COVID-19 brought our lives to a screeching halt. This new normal, for us, includes regular COVID-19 testing (every 2 weeks), a lot more hand sanitizer and soap, learning to needle and perform cupping in nitrile gloves, and so much more bleach than I ever wanted to have to use on a regular basis.
Our appointment booking tool is back online for self-schedule, and we've adjusted to all of the new (and some not-so-new) protocols that are required to operate safely as the pandemic continues. I hope all of you are adjusting as well, and the stress of everything being so new and so scary has backed off.
New updates since the last post:
Louisville Acupuncture Project
The Louisville Acupuncture Project has reopened its free community clinic for veterans and first responders. Rather than twice a month, we're easing back into it with clinic the third Wednesday of the month, beginning September 16. Clinic hours will be 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at Highlands Community Ministries (1228 E. Breckenridge St, 40204). I've also taken the wheel for the organization's Facebook page. Keep an eye out for updates there, as we have other projects in the works that aren't yet ready for announcement.
Check out the navigation bar above a little closer, and you'll notice a new tab titled Community. We're digging in as much as we're able, finding organizations to support and resources to pass along to y'all so we can better serve your needs in every way we can. On that tab, we'll be keeping a list of the organizations with which we volunteer, as well as those organizations to which we donate time, supplies, and moo-lah to help them make a positive impact on our community. This page also includes a running record of our long-term goals for giving back to our community. A healthy community makes for a healthy individual, and it's our duty to step up and support however we can. If you know of an organization where we would be a great fit, please reach out to us and let us know about them.
I hope you're all staying safe, making sure your mask covers your nose AND mouth at all times where you can't keep a 6-foot buffer between you and the strangers you encounter on your adventures, and that you're smizing (smiling with your eyes) as often as you possibly can. We look forward to seeing you in the office, and helping you feel as awesome as the current state of affairs will allow.
Let us know how we can help you feel your best! Without you, we cannot be.
As the pandemic continues, we're all admittedly getting a little tired of all of the restrictions, safety precautions, and extra steps to continue to reduce the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. State restrictions continue to relax, although a bit more slowly than we'd probably like, and despite an increase in the number of cases we're seeing in the state. Pandemic fatigue is real, and it's so hard sometimes to remain vigilant. Believe me, I'd much rather be able to let people walk themselves into the building, and fill the schedule so that both of our treatment rooms are in use. But this pandemic is far from over, as our recent numbers continue to indicate, and there's still so much we don't know about this disease, both in its immediate active infection stage as well as the longer term implications of having been infected. The bottom line for us is the safety of you, our patients, so we continue to keep our stringent measures in place to keep our office safe for all. We have finally gotten a hold of a no-touch forehead thermometer, so you can keep your masks securely in place while we do your quick pre-treatment COVID-19 screening in your car.
We're almost done with the most recent batch of cotton face masks, and will be adding those to our online store inventory as soon as they're completed. We're grateful that appointments have been picking up recently (we've missed seeing you in person!!) and that we've been able to take our time with this next batch. It will likely be our last batch of masks for a while, and we're so grateful that we're getting busier and finding it harder to make the time to sew. It's a great problem to have!
Please continue to wear your masks properly, wash your hands frequently, and correctly, and do everything you can to help keep yourselves and those around you safe. I know I'm certainly looking forward to the day when COVID-19 is no longer an everyday concern, and I hope that day is just around the corner.
Follow our Instagram and Facebook accounts for more updates, and keep an eye on our YouTube channel as well. We've got more content planned, and are hoping a technology upgrade will get that content out to you soon! <fingers crossed!>
Let us know how we can help you feel your best! Without you, we cannot be.
Restrictions continue to relax as the state moves forward with its phased reopening of the local economy, but the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Please remember that staying home whenever possible is your best bet for staying healthy. If you need to go out, please remember to wear your mask, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, and keep your distance from others whenever possible. We continue to see cases of COVID-19 rising at an alarming pace in states like Texas and Florida, who were quick to relax and remove restrictions in order to salvage their economies sooner. This pandemic is far from over, and it's up to all of us to keep each other safe.
We still have cotton masks available in our online store for $8 each. While our sales have slowed as other businesses jump on the mask making and selling bandwagon, we still have plenty of fabric to make more and plan to donate what we can to local organizations that are most in need. If you have any ideas on what organizations can use cotton masks, please let us know by sending us an email, direct message through social media, text message, or phone call.
Our June donation-based breathing workshops were focused on raising money for the ACLU to help support the fight against racial injustice, and we were able to make a $250 donation to the ACLU of Kentucky. We've been able to donate our time and supplies to protesters in downtown Louisville, volunteering to provide acupressure ear seeds to those experiencing increased stress and anxiety, and plan to continue to find time to do so as the demonstrations continue. We also continue to educate ourselves in the history of systemic racism in the U.S. and are working to find ways to continue to give back to our communities of color to help break down the barriers to access to necessities like health care, healthy food, mental health support, housing, and other community services. Please keep an eye on our social media for updates on those efforts as more information becomes available.
We are not safe until we are all safe. All lives can't matter until Black lives matter.
Our office has been re-opened for two and a half weeks now, and everything seems to be going smoothly so far! We've heard rumors that cosmetic acupuncture, for those offices that provide the service, will be allowed to reopen starting next Monday, so we may be able to start offering the TCM facial treatments again if that ends up being the case, but, of course, no promises. Things are still changing frequently, and we want to make sure that we're operating as safely as we possibly can be as this pandemic continues on.
We still have plenty of stock available in our online store if you're still looking for cloth masks to wear while you're out and about. Please remember that these masks are being encouraged to help you contain your own germs, and that they are not necessarily a good means of protecting yourself from other people's germs. Social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet of space between you and other humans who aren't part of your household, is still absolutely imperative for keeping everyone as safe as possible. There's still a lot about this virus that we just don't know yet, and as more and more information is uncovered, I'm sure the recommendations will continue to change to better fit the situation.
For those of you who are high risk and are opting to stay home as much as you can to avoid potential exposure, or for those who just don't want to take a chance on passing this bug around whether high risk or not, we are still offering our donation-based telemedicine services, either a consultation (which can include anything from acupressure instruction, personalized Chinese medicine-based nutritional guidance, individual breath work coaching, and even just a venting session) or an online remote Qi Gong session, where your movement and breath pattern will be tailored to your specific needs. We are also planning to continue to offer our donation-based breath work class, Breathe, through June if you're still interested in attending that. If you'd like to arrange a remote breath work class for your employees or family, please reach out - we'd love to accommodate that as well!
Stay safe, friends! We hope to see you in the office soon!
We just updated our inventory in our online store with a new collection of accordion-style face masks! This is the first round of stock for these new colors and patterns (we're taking a short break from sewing before starting in on the next batch), and we'll have many more of them listed in the coming days). We very, very strongly urge you to wear a mask ANY TIME you're out in public and may come into closer-than-socially-distanced contact with another human who is not in your at-home unit (provided, of course, that you do not have a medical condition that prevents you from being able to wear a face mask safely. For instructions on how to properly set your ear loop ties and how to correctly wear a cloth face mask, check out our YouTube channel for a demonstration.
We are hoping to start slowly phasing back to in-office acupuncture and cupping appointments this week. This pandemic is far from over, and while we're exceeding the requirements for medical office re-openings currently in place through the Governor's Office, Labor Department, and state Department of Public Health, and while we are absolutely doing everything we can to prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as much as humanly possible, it's clear that we can't offer any guarantees other than that we're doing our absolute best to keep the chances as minimal as possible. We have developed a new set of policies to help keep everyone safe (check out the changes to the in-office process here and our full cleaning/disinfection process here). Masks will be required for ALL in-office appointments until further notice.
This will be a phased re-opening, starting with appointments available for those suffering with moderate to severe pain and/or moderate to severe emotional distress (think stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and the like). This is admittedly subjective and will be scheduled on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us by phone, text, email, or direct message through social media (Facebook or Instagram) to get the process started. We will not be opening online self-schedule for the time being, until we're sure we can allow self-schedule in a way that will adequately space patients to allow for proper cleaning/disinfecting processes between patients. For those wanting to schedule, please keep in mind that you will also be scheduling a telemedicine call (either via phone or through Doxy) that will include your pre-screening for COVID-19 exposure risk as well as your full intake, in an effort to reduce the amount of time you need to spend actually inside the office. This reduces the risk to you, to our other patients, and to our practitioner, and is totally free. We know it's not ideal, and it won't last forever, but until the danger passes (meaning that we have proven-effective treatments and, hopefully, a vaccine to prevent further spread of this bug), it's unfortunately necessary.
We will also consider re-opening to home based visits depending on the circumstances. In the interest of complete transparency, there are very few circumstances at this point where we will feel comfortable, both for our sake and ours, with a home visit, simply because we can't control the environment to be able to ensure everyone's safety. However, we know that things have changed, and we're already aware of a couple of situations where that might be the only way that we can treat you. If you feel this is an ideal option for you, please don't hesitate to reach out and let us know that's what you'd like. We will absolutely give consideration where appropriate!
Scheduling will be limited to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed and so that thorough cleaning and disinfecting can be done between each patient.
CONFLICTING INFORMATION: WHERE DOES ACUPUNCTURE ACTUALLY FIT IN TO THE HEALTHY-AT-WORK PHASE SCHEDULE?
With all of this said, we do want to address some conflicting information that has been put out there by the Governor's Office, which our professional organization is still working to get clarified publicly. Late this past week, acupuncturists were listed in the Healthy-At-Work phased re-opening slides presented by the Governor's Office as one of the areas allowed to re-open as of May 25, along with massage therapy, cosmetology, hair salons and barber shops, nail and tanning salons, and tattoo shops. We were closed with medical offices on March 18, before any of these other businesses. We are the only practitioners on that list who are licensed by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, which also licenses physicians and nurses.
We know. We were confused too.
Our state professional organization has confirmed (several times now) with the Labor Department, Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, and the Kentucky Department of Public Health that acupuncture is a medical service, and as such, was officially cleared to reopen effective April 27, 2020 provided all of the requirements set can be met in order to open safely. We delayed our re-opening in order to completely prepare our office and ourselves, including PPE and obtaining a negative COVID-19 test, before opening, for our own peace of mind. Many other Kentucky acupuncture offices have been open and operating safely since medical offices were allowed to open on April 27. As far as we've been able to confirm through our professional organization, this listing of acupuncture being able to reopen as of May 25 is referring to cosmetic acupuncture procedures, which are not considered medically necessary.
Update (as of 5/11/2020): Acupuncture has been removed from the Healthy At Home slides provided by the Governor's Office detailing industries set to open as of May 25. The KSAA has confirmed that this was a mistake, and that acupuncture offices are considered medical offices, allowed to re-open with all other medical offices, chiropractics, and physical therapy effective April 27, 2020. Thank you to staffers in the Governor's Office, Labor Department, Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, and Kentucky Department of Public Health for helping us clarify this guidance and get the discrepancy resolved!
PLEASE REMEMBER - THIS ISN'T OVER JUST YET!
While states are slowly starting to re-open businesses in order to ensure economic stability, this pandemic is not yet over. Please remain vigilant. Please try to make good decisions about where you go and how often you go. Please continue to stay at home as much as possible until we know for sure that this thing is under control. While restrictions are being eased, it is most certainly with the caveat that any indications that we're headed toward another spike in infections will result in the re-opening process being put on hold or reversed until it's back under control. That hinges directly on everyone continuing to do their part to help protect everyone else around them.
We are SO grateful for your continued support through this crisis, and incredibly thankful that you've chosen to entrust us with your care. We can't wait to see you in the office again, even if things are a bit different for a while.
Without you, we cannot be.
We are close to being able to reopen!
We have finally been able to source appropriate PPE to make sure that we can protect our patients and ourselves for in-office treatments, which has been the largest obstacle to reopening since the Governor's Office announced that outpatient elective routine medical care could resume in-office with careful adherence to CDC guidelines and safety restrictions.
That said, please keep in mind that no amount of PPE or cleaning will 100% guarantee absolutely no risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. This doesn't just apply to our office - remember this for EVERY in-person interaction you have with a business until this virus is under control (meaning vaccination measures are safe and effective as well as widely accessible, and a safe and effective treatment protocol has been established).
We will do everything in our power to prevent transmission, and are working with our malpractice insurance and state professional organization to make sure we have all of our bases covered before actually opening the office to start seeing you fine folk. We are exceeding CDC and state guidelines at this point (to our knowledge) in an effort to reduce the risk, but we CANNOT eliminate it completely. If you decide to come in for a treatment, please know that the additional processes we have in place, while uncomfortable and inconvenient, are meant to keep you as safe as humanly possible. We will have an additional informed consent form that must be signed prior to treatment that explains the risks of in-person treatment right now, even with the best measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
We've developed a couple of processes to reduce exposure when we are able to safely provide in-office treatments.
If you have ANY questions, concerns, or suggestions, please let us know. We want to do everything we possibly can to not only ensure your safety, but to make sure you FEEL as safe as possible and have the peace of mind that you need in order to keep your stress and worry as low as possible during this transition period.
Another step we're taking prior to reopening is to have our own COVID test performed. It's scheduled for tomorrow morning, and we should have the results in 3-5 days after that. We hope that waiting for the results will be the last obstacle to being able to start a phased reopening process. Please check in here and through our social media pages for updates on when we plan to reopen, how to schedule your appointment, and what types of cases will be seen initially.
We've updated our schedule and added new event pages on Facebook for our continued breath work classes. In an effort to streamline scheduling and allow for quickly changing circumstances, we've reduced availability to two classes per week, and consolidated class offerings into a single breath work class we're calling Breathe. Please see our Online Workshops page for additional information, and to access the updated calendar with Zoom Meeting IDs for May.
These classes will remain donation-based for the foreseeable future. If you'd like to RSVP, you're welcome to do so through our Facebook events. Please share these events, and the announcement posts we publish on our social media accounts to make sure all of your friends and family are able to take part in this stress reduction series if they'd like to. Please let us know if you have any questions, requests, or suggestions for these classes. We're also able to schedule private breath work sessions for you or a small group - just let us know you're interested and we'll work out the details!
Governor Beshear is hinting at a requirement for all Kentuckians to wear masks in public as the phased reopening starts kicking in. While there will not be penalties enforced by the state, business will absolutely have the option of refusing service to people who are not wearing face coverings. We are still selling cotton face masks in our online store and are getting ready to start a third wave of production, as inventory has been dwindling in the last couple of days since the announcement was made.
Materials are getting exceptionally hard to find, but we have a pile of cotton to turn into more accordion-style masks. We've chosen to stick with the accordion style rather than returning to the silhouette style (like we'd previously planned), simply because we get more masks out of a yard of fabric with the accordion style. The accordion style masks are also just slightly faster for us to make, so we can get them in the store and ready to sell a little faster. When this pile of cotton runs out, we do have some options for sourcing additional material through other channels, and are hoping to continue production as long as there is demand.
We'll go ahead and do the obligatory disclaimer here again: cotton masks are NOT a substitute for proper social distancing. As we start to slowly reopen the economy back up, it is still imperative that you follow all safety guidelines from the Governor's Office as well as the CDC to help keep the transmission of this virus under control. If we have another surge of infection because these guidelines aren't followed, the governor will absolutely start returning to shutdown orders and scale back the phased re-opening plan. Please continue to do your part to slow the rate of infection so that our hospitals aren't overwhelmed in a second wave. And please continue to leave surgical masks and KN95 and N95 masks for healthcare professionals to use. Supply chains are starting to flow again, but these PPE supplies are still difficult to find, are more expensive than they used to be, and are every bit as critical to protecting healthcare workers.
We've started a YouTube channel in an effort to continue to bring you fun, interesting, educational content that focuses on Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments, concepts, and philosophy. Check out our channel, and let us know if there's any content you want to see or topics you'd like us to discuss!
Stay tuned, folx. We're doing our best to get a new normal established, and we absolutely can't wait to get to see you all again in the office. Stay safe, continue to do your part to slow the spread of infection, and take care of your mental and emotional health as well as your physical health.
Without you, we cannot be.
Within the last couple of days, Governor Beshear announced that the first phase of business reopening is to start tomorrow. This includes outpatient elective and routine healthcare services, which would include acupuncture practices.
The challenge we're facing right now is ensuring that we have the proper PPE to reopen SAFELY. While we're most certainly missing our patients and ready to get back to work, we want to make sure we are absolutely prepared not only with social distancing measures and cleaning precautions, but a solid screening and PPE plan. While we've been able to ensure that we have enough cleaning supplies, disinfecting supplies, gloves, and the proper equipment to make sure that all of our patients are free of any signs of possible infection, we are still facing serious challenges in obtaining the proper masks for practitioner use.
Our professional association is working to help us either find a way to procure N95 masks or, if unavailable, proper surgical masks, or to confirm with the Kentucky Department of Public Health, Labor Department, and Governor's Office that it is considered appropriate for us to use cloth masks if we are unable to source reliable N95 or surgical masks in our setting.
In preparation, we're hard at work to put together cotton masks for use by patients when in the office (these will be provided at no cost, and will be reused only after being washed and disinfected appropriately), as well as developing a solid plan to make sure that we are meeting both CDC and state guidelines for safely screening patients prior to entry into the office, maintaining social distance and cleanliness standards, and disinfecting thoroughly between patients. These changes will make things different, most certainly. But they are absolutely necessary to ensuring your safety, and the safety of our other patients and practitioner. This process is still being developed, and we will be waiting until we have clear guidance from our professional association that we are meeting (preferably exceeding) the requirements to safely reopen.
As a courtesy to all of our patients, and in an effort to streamline the process and make sure that all of YOUR needs are met and concerns addressed, once we're sure that our plan passes muster, we will post it here as well as on our social media platforms, so that those of you who are comfortable in coming back in to the office, or those who are ready to scheduling your first visit, have a chance to ask any questions, clear up any uncertainties, and make any suggestions for improvement before the plan is put into action. We're trying to think of everything, but we sure do know some smart and creative people, and we wholeheartedly welcome your feedback.
IN THE MEAN TIME...
Remote services are still available as donation-based options.
Telehealth is still a priority right now and likely will be for a while, not just for allied health practices like us, but for all healthcare offices wherever possible. Any needs that can be met remotely will be directed toward a telemedicine consultation. While acupressure, nutritional guidance, breath work, Qi Gong, and other remote healthcare options may not be exactly what you want from an acupuncture office, and while we would much rather use our needling and cupping therapies to get you feeling better as quickly as we possibly can, we are not out of the proverbial pandemic woods yet. It is much safer for less acute cases to go through the more conservative Chinese Medicine avenues that are available remotely than to risk coming into an office building that has many other businesses, none of which we can control.
For YOUR safety, if we determine that one of these options is a better route for you right now, please do take us up on that recommendation. These remote services will remain donation-based for the time being, and while we are a business that is trying to survive this pandemic, we are healers first and foremost, and we do understand that there are an alarming number of people who are facing financial uncertainty. There is absolutely no obligation to make a donation just to use these telemedicine services. If you can't afford a monetary donation but are able to offer something in trade, PLEASE reach out to us. If you schedule a remote session and don't have the money to donate or the means to trade, we will ABSOLUTELY still see you for your online session, without ANY judgment or reduction in quality of care.
Online group breathing classes are still available as donation-based options.
We are working on an updated schedule for May, and will have it published later this week (announcements will be made here and on our social media platforms). If you have a scheduling request so that you can attend one of these classes, please let us know as soon as possible. We will be adjusting the offerings slightly after this first trial month of classes, and are open to suggestions on days and times. Please let us know what works best for you so that we can make sure you're able to take advantage of these classes.
If you've not had a chance to take one of these classes yet, it's super simple. Create a free Zoom account, find the meeting ID on the schedule posted on the website (hover your mouse over the Home button above, and select Online Workshops to see the breakdown of classes and see the current schedule). When you log in to the meeting, your microphone and webcam, if you have one, are defaulted into disabled mode, so we can't hear or see you by default, and neither can anyone else who is logged in for the class. You do have the option to change these settings on your end if you'd like to. We spend a little bit of time talking about what to expect during the class, and then we guide you through a series of breathing exercises for the duration of the half-hour class. We do recommend setting an alarm for any activities you have planned afterwards, just in case you fall asleep.
If you have any questions about these classes, please ask!
THINGS ARE HAPPENING QUICKLY
We will keep you updated through our social media accounts, so make sure you give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram, or both. And make sure you check in here often as well - we've got a whole lot more room for details on our website than we do anywhere else.
We miss you all terribly, and are very much looking forward to getting to see you in the office again, hopefully soon. Our number one priority is and always will be your well-being, so we will be proceeding as cautiously as we possibly can. Please be careful yourselves as well - any practitioners you see that are able to operate right now should be wearing masks and gloves, and following social distancing guidelines as strictly as possible whenever possible.
Please remember that we are not out of the woods yet, and that there is still a lot of precautions that need to be taken to prevent a spike in COVID-19 infections that could send us into another round of shutdowns. Please continue to do your part to help control transmission as much as possible.
Without you, we cannot be. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your continued support.
Yesterday was a big day. We started off with a small donation of medical supplies that we dropped off at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet here in Louisville to be redistributed to hospitals in need. It really wasn't much, but it was what we had available - a partial box of surgical masks, two partial boxes of nitrile gloves, a container of disinfecting wipes, a large pump bottle of hand sanitizer, and a gallon of the high level disinfectant that we use to sanitize our fire cups after use (don't worry - we still have plenty to get us through when we can reopen and start seeing patients again for safe cupping until supply returns to normal). We wish we had more that we were able to give. But every little bit helps, and we're happy we could pitch in.
Our order of green fairy lights was also delivered and we got it installed in the most visible window we have at the office. Green is the universal color of compassion, and Governor Beshear has asked that houses and businesses light up green to mourn the loss of those who have died from COVID-19 and as a show of support to the loved ones they left behind. We don't have a window that faces the street, but we do have a window that faces the neighborhood next to our office building, and we hope that our small display can be seen appreciated by those closest to us.
Probably our biggest news, though, is that Courtney got a notification that all of her paperwork and background checks have been completed, and she's been accepted as a medical volunteer with the Team Kentucky Medical Reserve Corps. What that means is that it's now a possibility that she is deployed to a hard-hit area to help respond to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic as a volunteer medical practitioner. We don't know if, when, or where that deployment will end up happening, but if it does, we'll make an announcement on our social media pages and make sure that our schedule and store are updated however they need to be in order to make sure you're getting accurate information on how to contact us. We hope that if she is deployed, she will still be able to serve you lovely people in some capacity, as she's been able to do while the office has been temporarily closed. Your safety and well being is and always will be our number one priority.
In the mean time, we have more material ready to continue production of our cotton face masks, and will be digging back in to that in the coming days, now that we've been able to take a break from it and reset for a few days. Watch for new colors and patterns as we update our inventory along the way.
It's been almost exactly one month since we had to temporarily close our office to the public. We're so grateful for all of the support we've received in this difficult time, and are so anxious to work toward getting things back to normal as quickly as is safe. Please continue to check in for updates, and keep an eye on the reputable sources for news - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and state and local government agencies heading up the local response to this pandemic. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us - we're happy to help!
Continue your social distancing measures, wash your hands frequently and correctly, and make sure you're doing the best you can to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. We're all working so hard to continue to flatten the curve, and it's working.
We're all in this together, and we'll get through it together.
Without you, we cannot be. And we are so grateful for each and every one of you.
We have just added new stock to our store with the introduction of our new accordion style cotton face masks. Our first round of silhouette masks sold so much more quickly than we were anticipating - THANK YOU so much for your support! We've got eight new colors to choose from, with a greater selection of solids as well as patterns (unicorns, and dinosaurs, and galaxies, oh my!) and a larger stock that's ready to go. And we still have more material waiting in the wings to replenish the supply (after we've taken a couple of days away from the sewing machine to look at something besides cotton for a little while).
Please remember that these masks are NOT a replacement for social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. The CDC has recommended these cloth masks to help protect others from your germs - if everyone wears them all the time when out to run essential errands, this can help slow the spread of the virus. They should be washed after each use, before being reused. Our masks are made with pre-washed cotton to reduce shrinking after assembly, but we do recommend washing before the first use.
And please, if you have things like surgical masks, N95 masks, nitrile gloves, and extra hand sanitizer, please consider donating it to be used in hospitals. Medical supplies like this are in incredibly short supply right now, and anything you can spare would be much appreciated. Donation information can be found online here, or you can call for information at 1-888-GIVE-PPE.
The governor's office announced today a new executive order that only one person per family should be doing the grocery shopping when necessary, in order to help reduce the number of people in the store on any given day. If you need someone to go out and do your shopping for you so that you can remain safe at home, please let us know - we'd be happy to pick up your groceries for you so that you can minimize your risk.
We know it's an incredibly difficult and frustrating time, especially with birthdays, holidays, and great weather for family gatherings. Please remember that staying home is saving lives, even if it doesn't always feel like it. Please let us know if you have any questions, or if there's anything that we can do to make this time a little easier for you.
We hope that this will all be over sooner rather than later, so that we can see all of you in person and get back to business and life as usual. Thank you, as always, for your continued support.
Without you, we cannot be.
More new things!
The CDC recommended today that civilians use face masks when they absolutely have to go out, like to the grocery store or to pick up some tasty carry out for dinner. Please DO NOT source and hoard surgical or N95 masks, as these are still in short supply for our healthcare workers on the front lines. Let me take this moment to say: If you currently DO have N95 masks or surgical masks, please find a way to get them to local hospitals. Contact the Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline by calling 1-800-722-5275 or by emailing email@example.com and ask them how you can donate your supply to those that really need the PPE to continue safely working in our hospitals.
That said, we have begun selling 100% cotton face masks through our online store. We have a limited selection of masks that have already been made and are currently available for purchase. Drop delivery is free in Jefferson County and adjacent counties (Bullitt, Spencer, Shelby, and Oldham), and shipping is currently set at a flat rate of $3 per order everywhere else (this may change - we're new to this!). Please allow 24 to 48 hours for processing. We haven't figured out quite how all the shipping details will work out yet, but we're hoping to be able to provide a tracking number through USPS. If we can, we'll update you with that information when we update the status of your order. Please be patient with us - we're learning as we go. If you have any questions about your order, please don't hesitate to reach out. Unfortunately, we will not be able to take any returns or exchanges on these masks, as that increases the risk of transmission with such a highly contagious virus.
What we have listed in the online store is our pre-made stock as of right now. Stock will be added and the online store will be updated as quickly as possible, as we have a good supply of new fabric to use. Our current stock is silhouette style masks, and the new supply will likely be accordion style in order to maximize fabric usage. In order to better avoid exposure, fabric will be sourced online, so there may be a lull in production here and there depending on availability from online retailers. Please bear with us - we just have one sewing machine, and only one person to operate it, but more will be available as quickly as possible.
On a somewhat related note, we've noticed that our online store likes to get a little buggy sometimes when we make updates. If you notice anything funky going on, like no custom amount field for any of our donation-based offerings, no option to choose between phone or video chat for a telehealth consultation, or no required field for appointment date and time for either the telehealth consult or the online Qi Gong session, please let us know so we can fix it as quickly as possible.
A personal note:
Our state is doing a fantastic job of staying as far ahead of this thing as we possibly can. That means all of the suffering that we're putting ourselves through, this social distancing and staying home as much as possible, is working. Please continue to follow CDC, WHO, and local government guidelines. We're collectively working SO HARD to flatten the curve, and while it's so hard to keep this up for so long, our ability to adhere to these guidelines is ultimately what's going to determine when we can stop and get back to some semblance of normalcy. I so look forward to being able to hug those I love from whom I've been separated for several weeks now, and I'm sure you feel the same.
Please continue physically distancing yourself. Avoid touching your face. Continue proper cough and sneeze etiquette (cough/sneeze into a tissue and then immediately throw it away and wash your hands, or cough/sneeze into the inside of your elbow and then wash your hands). Continue washing your hands as frequently as possible with soap and water, which is way better and easier to find right now than hand sanitizer. Continue staying home and doing your part to help save lives. I know it's so, so hard, but it's working.
Stay connected. Video chat as much as you can to keep the face with the voice. Get outside and get your daily doses of vitamin D and fresh air. Find fun ways to keep moving (call it exercise if you want to, or something else if that makes it easier to do). And please let us know if there's anything we can do to make this any bit easier for you. Our breathing classes are still going (check the schedule to find a time that works) and our self moxa kits are still available. You can also take one of our remote sessions for a spin with a telehealth consultation or a personalized, online Qi Gong session. Whatever you need, we're here.
Without you, we cannot be. This will come to an end, and we'll get through it together.
New things! We launched our breathing workshop series this evening with the first session of Breathing 101, and aside from some technical difficulties at the very beginning, it went really well! Thank you to everyone who participated, both for showing up and working so hard, and also for being so patient with us as we continue to learn to navigate our transition to online programming. Your support and understanding are so very much appreciated, and we hope to see you again soon in another workshop!
Speaking of other workshops... We've added a new page under our Home menu on the navigation bar above that will host our online workshop offerings while our office is temporarily closed for the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic. We've added three additional weekly instances of our Breathing 101 (a total of four times every week), and four instances of a new workshop we're calling Don't Forget to Breathe. This workshop will build on the concepts covered in Breathing 101, focusing on applying those concepts for a daily practice. Don't Forget to Breathe has less talking and more doing, and will delve deeper into the practice of making diaphragmatic breathing your baseline as well as working toward breathing into the lower back. All of these workshops will continue to be donation-based. We've created a calendar that has all of the meeting information that you'll need to join the workshops through Zoom, and we'll be updating Facebook with event pages for these workshops as well - feel free to register ahead of time or just drop in on the day. Invite friends through the Facebook event or send the calendar out to everyone you know, however you'd like to share - everyone is welcome to join. If you haven't already registered for Zoom, but would like to try out one (or more!) of these breathing workshops, registration is easy and free, and can be done here.
In other news, Courtney has registered as a contact for the Kentucky Medical Reserve Corps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are only beginning to find traction in Kentucky, so the chances of being called up to volunteer as a provider in our local hospitals during this pandemic are very slim. However, as healthcare workers, we swear an oath to do whatever we can to help care for people who are in need of medical attention, and while we understand the necessity of closing our office to the public to help flatten the curve, it's incredibly difficult to continue to sit on the sidelines as our population continues to suffer. We're more than happy to help however we can, and if the state calls on us to lend our expertise to help heal people as they fight this awful infection, we will absolutely give the best we can possibly give, whether that involves acupuncture or something else entirely. If, in the unlikely event that she is recruited, our workshop schedule will be updated to allow for the time required for that volunteer work, and we may need to adjust the availability of telemedicine consultations and moxa kits. We'll keep the announcements updated as the situation continues to change.
Thank you all so much for you continued support and understanding as we all continue to adjust to our changing circumstances. We so greatly look forward to being able to reopen our clinic doors to you all and return to whatever sense of normalcy we can find after this cloud passes. We are resilient, we humans. We will absolutely get through this together. Without you, we cannot be.
We previously indicated that doxy.me, a HIPAA compliant telehealth service, was not compatible with iOS or Android, but we've figured out that it CAN still be used on your smart device, as long as you're using your web browser (no app is available). We've updated our Available Treatments page, and are working on updating our Facebook and Square scheduling tools to reflect that ALL video chat telehealth sessions will be arranged through doxy.me to ensure your health information is protected. When you schedule your session, you will be emailed a link for your telehealth session. As far as we know, you DO NOT need to sign up for an account through doxy.me to be able to use this service as a patient. Voice sessions will continue be done through Google Voice, our normal voice carrier, and, as we understand it, also HIPAA compliant.
We're looking forward to the launch of our online workshop offerings with Breathing 101, a half-hour long online class that focuses on using the breath to help relieve stress and anxiety. This first session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 at 7pm Eastern.
The breathing techniques we'll be focusing on are based on the practice of Qi Gong, and is a gentle and compassionate exercise meant to help calm the central nervous system to re-establish the connection between body, breath, and mind. It's a free class, with a $10 donation requested, but not expected (donations can be arranged through our online store). All are welcome! Depending on response, we may decide to continue this offering as a series. Registration is online through our Facebook page, but please let us know if you either don't have Facebook or would prefer not to sign up through Facebook, and we'll add you to the list to make sure you get the login information. Please feel free to share the event listing and invite people to join. The workshop itself will be hosted through Zoom (which does require you to sign up, but registration is free and super simple!). If you don't have a Zoom account already and need some help getting signed up, we'd be happy to help with that as well. All you'll need for the workshop is a comfy place to sit or lay, maybe some quiet and relaxing music in the background, and a blanket nearby just in case you get a little chilly. Feedback after the event will be welcomed.
Updates are happening quickly, and while we try to double and triple check everything before we call something complete, we know we can miss things sometimes. If you happen across a broken link, confusing information, or just have a general question about something we've published, either here or on our social media (Facebook or Instagram), please let us know. We're very connected right now, and emails, direct messages, texts, and calls are typically answered very quickly. Quick note: we're getting a TON of spam calls right now, so we're usually letting things roll to voicemail unless we recognize your number. Make sure you leave a message for us so we know you're not a robot, and we promise we'll call you back as soon as we possibly can!
If there's content you'd like to see, please let us know! We're always looking for fun new ways to interact, especially now that physical/social distancing is such an important step in making sure we can keep as many people safe and healthy as possible. We're so looking forward to getting back to business (and life) as usual, but in the mean time, we want to connect however we can. Tag us in your social media pictures or videos using your moxa kits, or doing your breathing exercises or Qi Gong exercises on your own. Send us the foods you want us to analyze in our food energetics posts. Or just check in and say hi and let us know you're doing okay! We're all in this together, and staying socially connected in a time like this is SO important to mental health for all of us. We miss you lots!
Thank you, as always, for your continued support. Without you, we cannot be.
We've clarified the rules surrounding telehealth services in Kentucky, and have confirmed that we can only offer these services to Kentucky residents, due to licensure laws. We've also decided to limit telehealth services to existing patients to simplify the process. We hope that the closures resulting from the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic are short-lived, and that business can return to normal operations soon. However, if closures continue for a prolonged period of time, we may revisit the possibility of taking new patients through telehealth.
In related news, we've started the process of transitioning to Doxy.me, which is a videoconferencing program developed specifically for telehealth services, and is HIPAA compliant. While the Department of Health and Human Services has relaxed enforcement of HIPAA compliance in an effort to increase the number of available providers during the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, protecting your information is incredibly important to us as we navigate this technological shift together. We're still working on sourcing an affordable webcam (Doxy.me is not compatible with iPhone or iPad on our end), and hope to find one soon. If you have concerns about the potential for security risks of using FaceTime or Zoom, but would still like to schedule a telehealth consultation, please let us know. We'll need to test our Doxy.me account eventually, and we'd be happy to give it a try to alleviate your concerns. Just bear with us, as there may be some clunky moments as we adjust to the program. To my knowledge, you would not need to create an account as a patient to use Doxy.me for your telehealth consult, as you would with Zoom. We'll be sure to correct this information if we find out otherwise.
We've launched a trial run of Breathing 101, an online class aimed at reducing stress and uniting body, breath, and mind. These breathing techniques are based on the practice of Qi Gong, a term which translates as "exercises for strengthening Qi." This is a gentle and compassionate exercise meant to help calm the central nervous system, easing stress and slowing that monkey mind down so that you can re-establish the connection between the physical body and the emotional/spiritual/psychological state through the breath. This is a donation-based class (a $10 donation is requested, but not expected, and can be arranged through our online store), and all are welcome. We currently have 50 participants as the maximum, but this can be adjusted if necessary. Depending on response, we may decide to continue this offering as a series. For now, the session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 at 7 pm Eastern, and will last approximately 30 minutes. Registration is free, and can be done online through our Facebook page. Please feel free to share the event listing and invite people to join. If you do not have Facebook or do not wish to sign up through Facebook, please let us know (call, text, email, or direct message through Facebook/Instagram), so we can make sure to email you the instructions for joining the class on the day. All you need is a comfy place to settle in, maybe some quiet and relaxing music in the background, and a blanket nearby, just in case you get a little chilly. Feedback after the event will be welcomed. If you don't have a Zoom account already and need some help getting signed up, we'd be happy to help with that as well.
Speaking of our online store, we noticed some bugs today that were preventing the customizable donation option from showing for our remote Qi Gong sessions and FaceTime/Telehealth consultations. That's now been fixed. We've also reduced the price of our self moxa kits to make them more accessible to more people as the financial hardships continue during this pandemic response, and we still have plenty of materials to assemble and deliver those for you. Another issue preventing our remote Qi Gong sessions and telehealth consultations from appearing when attempting to schedule through Square has been fixed. Please let us know if you happen across any other broken links or weird technological glitches that don't seem quite right. Updates are happening quickly, and sometimes we don't notice right away when things get buggy.
We're working on expanding our social media presence with updated photos and some videos to share, and we're taking suggestions for what you'd like to see. We're hoping to run a series on the energetics of food (if you missed our post on Asian pears earlier this week, hop on over to Facebook or Instagram to check it out!), and are planning on adding videos demonstrating the use of our self moxa kits (they do come with instructions, but we realize some people would be more comfortable with a practical demonstration), and a quick look at how acupuncturist Courtney treats her own stress-related problems (these mainly manifest as insomnia, headaches and TMJ dysfunction, so this video would focus on facial needling, cupping, and gua sha, all of which will be offered as soon as the office is back open), and a few other ideas. If you have any suggestions or requests for social media content, please let us know!
We're also planning on trying to find ways to volunteer a bit more directly in the response to the pandemic. If you have any contacts or suggestions for how we might go about that process, or if you're also an acupuncturist/TCM practitioner in the area and would like to get involved as well, please reach out to us. We've been attending lots of webinars about how TCM can be used, and we're eager to jump in as soon as we can and however we can.
Unfortunately, we do expect things to get a bit worse instead of better where this pandemic is concerned, at least for a while. Please take care of yourselves. Keep up that physical distancing, but remember that maintaining social connection is incredibly important for our mental well-being. We are always happy to help in whatever way we can. Eat well, stay hydrated, make sure you're getting enough sleep, and find some time to enjoy the warmer temperatures and sunshine whenever you can. Check in with friends from afar frequently, and try to video chat whenever possible to see the face that goes with the voice.
Thank you so much for your continued support. Without you, we cannot be.
We are getting new and updated information every day about the conditions on the ground in other states and around the world, thanks to social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, which is allowing us to interact with other acupuncturists and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. We are incredibly grateful to be operating in a state where the government is keeping its citizens apprised of the situation in as close to real-time as possible, and it's inspiring us to strive to do the same.
Our office is secure, and we do still have access for the time being. If a statewide, county-wide, or city-wide shelter-in-place order is issued, we have confirmed with the leasing office that the building will be secured and monitored throughout the shelter-in-place in order to ensure the safety and security of all of the businesses who call the Chrysler Professional Building home. We are so grateful to the office and maintenance staff, as well as the West Buechel and Louisville Metro Police Departments for working so diligently to ensure that our lovely space stays safe during our absence. While we are brokenhearted that we are no longer able to see our patients in the space we've worked so hard to create, we are very much relieved and thankful for the efforts of building management and the authorities to maintain and protect it.
We have officially launched our online store, and are eager to begin providing telemedicine services as soon as our patients have gotten themselves ready to start finding a new normal. Social distancing is difficult, but social isolation is even more so. We are so fortunate to live in a time when we can be more connected than possible ever before. Technology isn't always the answer to all the questions, but for right now, it is the key to staying in touch with loved ones, friends, coworkers, and the rest of the world. Please make use of your ability to FaceTime or Skype so that you can get as close to an in-person interaction as possible right now. Please also consider finding some semblance of a regular routine, including a schedule with us, so that we can help you navigate through this difficult time.
With the launch of our online store, we've updated our website, FaceBook page, and Square scheduling tool to reflect a complete and detailed listing of the services we are currently able to offer remotely. Please, if you have ideas for other ways that we can support you, please reach out and let us know. We're considering a YouTube channel with regular but brief content updates to keep you engaged with us, and to keep us busy while we also hunker down at home and try to create a new normal. If you have ideas for content you'd like to see from us, or any other inspirations for things we can do to stay in touch with you, please send us an email, a text, or direct message through Facebook or Instagram, or let us know in our next video chat session with you.
We are also trying to work with other acupuncturists and complementary medicine practitioners in the area to find ways to support our community on a larger scale. We all have unique talents, and most of us have officially recognized certifications and licenses. We chose to pursue a career in medicine to help, and while we can't safely operate under our normal conditions, that doesn't mean we have to be sidelined. We will absolutely have our moment to shine as individuals once the dust settles and the new long-term normal becomes established as our patients pick up the pieces, but that in no way means we can't continue to be of service on the front lines in some other capacity right now. If you are a practitioner looking for ways to help during this crisis, please don't hesitate to contact us to talk it through.
Take care of yourselves, my friends. Try to stay as positive as you can while still allowing yourselves feel the feels as you navigate the uncertainty. Our world is changing. We have to help each other through this. There's a reason Louisville counts itself among the Compassionate Cities. This is our time to demonstrate that to each other and to ourselves.
Without you, we cannot be.
In response to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, we are doing everything we possibly can to continue serving you safely, and are making preparations to continue serving you however we can in the event of an isolation, quarantine, or shelter in place order. Please remember that ALL small, local businesses right now are facing a lot of difficulties, and will be relying on those who have the ability to continue working to help us see the other side of this. If you have the capability without endangering your own circumstances, please consider doing what you can to continue supporting your favorite local spots.
The situation is incredibly fluid, and changes are happening so quickly we can barely keep up. We've kept our office open as long as we possibly could, but the more we learn about the situation and the efforts to slow the spread of the virus as much as possible, the more clear it has become that we do not have the capability to serve you in our office as we have become accustomed. After Governor Beshear's press conference this evening, and discussions with trusted friends and fellow business owners, we are following today's guideline that non-essential healthcare offices should temporarily close to the public. While our footprint is small, and we have the capability to isolate patients and spread out scheduling to reduce interaction, it is impossible to control the environment as effectively as we'd like to in order to ensure that everyone is completely shielded from transmission. Patients have been notified, and arrangements have been made for our office to close to the public on 3/18/2020 effective at 5 pm, in keeping with Governor Beshear's request.
The Healer's Oath, written by Sun Simiao almost 1500 years ago, requires that practitioners will treat every patient they can - regardless of social status, race, religion, wealth, political beliefs, health, whatever - until they're no longer capable. We certainly have tools to help, but right now what's most needed is distance. Our oath to help no matter what requires that we step out of the way for now, and let social distancing slow the spread of this virus so that our hospitals can keep up and keep people alive. There will be a time later for our tools to do their job. In the mean time, our office will close temporarily, effective today at 5 pm. Patients with appointments scheduled have already been contacted, and arrangements have been made.
But there's good news! With the closing of our office comes the opening of our brand new online store.
We're offering home moxa kits, which include a seven day supply of moxa, instructions and safety precautions, and a stick of incense for lighting your moxa safely. While we have the ability, we will deliver these kits to your door. Depending on your comfort level and the exact circumstances, we can either leave the kits in an area you specify at the time of ordering, or we can stay a bit and give in-person instruction in addition to the written instructions provided.
Gift cards are another option, and are available in our online store as well - scroll to the bottom of our store to buy for friends and relatives, or buy one for yourself to set that money aside to use later once life calms down and things get back to normal. Choose a pre-set amount, or specify your own amount to cover a specific service.
And we're accepting donations to help cover the cost of our office lease and utilities while the world pauses to try to slow down the spread of the virus for those of you who want to help, but aren't necessarily interested in or in need of our telemedicine offerings, moxa kits, or gift cards right now.
We are doing our best to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances, and will be updating our website as often and as quickly as we can to make sure you have the most updated information on what we're doing to respond to this situation, and our social media accounts are another great way to keep in touch and up to date. Please also continue to follow the CDC, WHO, and local government for updates.