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Mendo Lake Family Life

Explore the Healing Power of Chinese Medicine

Mendo Lake Family Life talks to Aracely Kriete, MSOM, LAc, owner of Community Acupuncture Ukiah, about the practice of acupuncture and how the pandemic has affected her business.

Family Life: How long has Community Acupuncture Ukiah been around?

Aracely Kriete: I just had my 10th anniversary in October.

FL: And how long have you been practicing acupuncture?

AK: Twenty-three years.

FL: How do you think that acupuncture can help people during this time of global crisis and illness?

AK: I think the most important thing is to make the immune system the best it can be and to calm the nervous system. I would say that what I treat the most is anxiety and depression. And because acupuncture has such a profound impact on the nervous system, it works really well. Sometimes people come in with a panic attack or are really anxious. When they walk out, the nervous system has been reset and they start making better decisions about their lives. And that is why I so love this work.

FL: What kinds of precautions are you taking to make your clinic COVID-safe?

AK: This used to be a walk-in clinic. But now people have to book online, otherwise I can’t regulate patient flow. So I’m not taking walk-ins. I’m extremely limiting the number of people in the space and am actually down to two patients an hour. Because it is a very big space, I have patients sit really far apart and also apart from me. It’s good; it works. Everyone gets a fresh sheet. I clean surfaces, in the bathroom, etc.

FL: So you clean the bathroom after every use and use fresh sheets for every client?

AK: Yes.

FL: Do patients need to wear masks?

AK: Yes, everyone who comes into the space needs to wear a mask. No exceptions. And I take temperatures. And, of course, I take my own temperature. I post my temperature every day on a whiteboard.

FL: So anyone who has a temperature is not allowed into the space?

AK: No, they are not. I am not treating anyone who has a fever or suspicious cough. It’s just too risky, and I am not treating acute COVID cases. I’m here for prevention and care and to keep people healthy.

FL: How has the pandemic affected your business, apart from the need to take COVID precautions?

AK: One of the things I used to like about my business was that if someone said, “I’m feeling really bad today,” I could try to get them in. These kinds of last-minute visits may not work now, but it’s a minor thing. I’m just happy that everything is flowing and that people are compliant. Honestly, I’ve been so lucky. It’s so great that I can be open and my business, unlike other businesses, is surviving. I am super grateful. And people are really happy that I am open.

FL: What do you love about acupuncture?

AK: I love acupuncture because it is probably one of the most logical and profound medical systems I have studied—and I have looked into other things like homeopathy and Ayurveda. I think that Western medicine is so great for acute medicine, but when it comes to chronic cases, it lets a lot of people down. And that’s where Chinese medicine is really strong. I’m not saying I don’t love Western medicine. I think it is amazing for acute medicine and for diagnostics. I refer people out all the time. But where a doctor might say, “I don’t know! I don’t know!” I can provide answers. It is just wonderful to see people transform and get hope again. The great thing is that the world is really opening up. There are a couple of doctors at the VA in Ukiah who are so open to Chinese medicine. The more they see, “Oh, wow, this works”—to get people off of opiates or whatever—the more people they send. I hope that there will be more of this kind of co-existing and saying, “What are my strengths in my field and what are your strengths in your field? Let’s work together.” 

Community Acupuncture Ukiah is located at 203 S. School Street in Ukiah. For more information, see