LGBTQIA2S+ donation-based acupuncture

On the first Tuesday of each month, our evening acupuncture shift  is open only to people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. These recurring, special event shifts are donation-based (NOTAFLOF). Please read the FAQ’s below for more details.

PLEASE NOTE: there is no regular evening acupuncture shift on these days. The regular Tuesday morning shift still takes place from 9:30am to 1:30pm (unless noted on our website) and is open to everyone, as are the other shifts on our schedule.

What does NOTAFLOF / donation-based / pay-what-you-can mean?
NOTAFLOF stands for “no one turned away for lack of funds.” This means people who cannot afford to pay anything can still receive treatment during this shift! For those who can afford to pay something, however small the amount, we welcome any donation you feel you can give sustainably. All donations received will go directly towards our ongoing ability to offer this shift and others like it.

At Sarana, the core focus of our mission is to improve access to acupuncture and we work towards this goal using the community acupuncture model, offering a high volume of treatments with low fees. This model is an excellent way to expand access to acupuncture but it doesn’t reach everyone. Our hope is to provide a space for people who would benefit from regular acupuncture but are unable to afford our lowest fees. 

Where did this idea come from?
We recently received a bequest from Ana Wu, a long time Sarana client and volunteer who believed deeply in our mission. During her life, Ana strove to improve access for underserved populations in both her personal and professional pursuits. This shift is the first of a series we hope to create to honour her memory and her commitment.

The generosity of Ana’s bequest means we can offer these shifts for at least one year, and we are looking for grants and other funding in the hopes of creating long-term sustainability for them. You can also make a donation to support this effort!

When / how often does this happen?
The LGBTQIA2S+ dedicated shift happens once a month, on the first Tuesday, from 2 to 6 pm. For 2023, the dates are: April 4th, May 2nd, June 6th, July 4th (yep, we’re open on the holiday!), August 1st, September 5th, October 3rd, November 7th, and December 5th.

PLEASE NOTE: this event will replace our regular 2-6 pm acupuncture shift on first Tuesdays. The regular Tuesday morning shift still takes place from 9:30am to 1:30pm (unless noted on our website) and is open to everyone, as are the other shifts on our schedule.

Are appointments necessary?
No. Walk-ins are welcome to this acupuncture shift, as long as there is space available in the clinic. Appointments are still recommended, however, and people who arrive on time for their appointments will be given priority.
PLEASE NOTE: appointments ARE still required for our regular acupuncture shifts.

How do I book an appointment?
By clicking here or giving us a call. Since these are special event shifts, they have their own service and provider in our online scheduler. This also helps to ensure people don’t accidentally book “regular” appointments during this time. Please only book during this shift if you personally identify as a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

What if I’m a new patient?
New patients are welcome to this shift, so long as they identify as part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. New patients are still required to complete our intake paperwork, which can be done in advance online using this link or completed in-person by arriving 10-15 minutes early.

Who will the practitioner be?
The regular practitioner on this shift will be Ollie Zaverey, LAc. You can read Ollie’s bio here. If, for whatever reason, Ollie is unavailable, another LGBTQIA2S+ acupuncturist will cover the shift if possible. If we cannot find a substitute acupuncturist, we will cancel the shift per our normal procedures.

Why the LGBTQIA2S+ community?
Another part of our mission is to create a place of rest and refuge. While we strive towards this goal in all of our shifts, we also recognise that some clients will feel more comfortable within a treatment space dedicated to them and staffed by an acupuncturist who is part of their community.

Members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community are more likely to experience poverty and less likely to have access to high quality healthcare. This is due, in large part, to structural inequities inherent in society. These structural inequities are only getting worse, as evidenced by the number and scope of legislation being proposed—and enacted—across the United States, and around the world. A significant portion of these legislative efforts are focused on further restricting access to healthcare and reducing spaces where it is safe for LGBTQIA2S+ folks to freely be themselves. This shift is one of the steps we’re taking towards creating safer spaces and reducing those barriers. We stand with our community and we are committed to offering safe and affirming healthcare to everyone who needs it. We are also hoping to add additional shifts like this one, focused on improving the access of other underserved communities to high-quality healthcare.

On a more personal note, Ollie identifies as Queer and their queerness encompasses both their gender and their sexuality. While Ollie is currently in a financially secure place, they have experienced extreme financial hardship in their life, including homelessness. They know first-hand how challenging it can be to find affordable and supportive healthcare and they’re excited to have the chance to give back to their community.

What does LGBTQIA2S+ stand for?
The abbreviation encompasses a wide variety of identities. It can mean different things to different people and multiple variations exist. At Sarana, we use it as follows:
L – Lesbian
G – Gay
B – Bisexual and Biromantic
T – Transgender
Q – Queer and Questioning
I – Intersex
A – Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender
2S – Two-spirit
+ – and more!

How will you verify membership in the LGBTQIA2S+ community?
We will not be verifying anything or policing anyone’s identity. This shift is operated on the honor system. We believe that no one owes the details of their identity to anyone else and we expect people who come to this shift to respect each other’s privacy.

Please only book during this shift if you personally identify as a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. We ask that allies show their support by respecting the boundary of this space.

Are allies welcome?
This shift is not open to allies. If you would like to show allyship support, you are welcome to donate at this link to help ensure this shift’s ongoing sustainability. Please write “LGBTQIA2S+” in the note field of the donation form, so we can allocate your donation to this project.

Sarana offers acupuncture seven days a week and allies are able to book treatments during the many other shifts on our schedule.

If you are an ally experiencing financial hardship, such that paying within our sliding scale is a challenge, you can speak to any of our acupuncturists during our other shifts and we will work with you to find an arrangement that you can afford sustainably.