A Pointed Approach to Changing the Worlds

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“Acupuncture can change the world,” said Robin Tiberi, Clinical Director of the Pacific Center of Health, San Diego ‘s longest-running acupuncture clinic and the original practice site for the students and faculty of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Tiberi is putting that conviction to work at the Peace Clinic, an informal, drop-in clinic offering free acupuncture treatments to the community of San Diego .

The Genesis of the Peace Clinic

The Peace Clinic is the result of an idea Tiberi and fellow acupuncturist, Lisajeanne Potyk, developed in response to the September 11 tragedies. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center , many people have become riddled with varying levels of discomfort. Problems such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, tension, fear and discouragement are common. As a response to this discomfort, the Peace Clinic helps serve those dealing with emotional and spiritual uncertainty spawned by this tragedy.

Located within the Pacific Center of Health, San Diego Peace Clinic operates one evening per week. In its first two weeks of operation, the clinic sent special invitations to firefighters, police officers, teachers, therapists and their families. The clinic experience is unique in that all patients are treated with the same acupuncture point prescription as they sit comfortably together as a group, upright in their chairs. Group treatments are chosen because Tiberi and Potyk feel the energy that is generated through such treatments is exponentially greater than what occurs in individual treatments. One Peace Clinic visitor described her meditation as more “powerful and absorbing” in this setting.

The Healing Power of Acupuncture

Upon entering the softly lit room, patients are greeted and receive a paper that describes the treatment they will be receiving as well as a meditation that speaks of personal power that should not be ignored in terms of its ability to generate inner and outer peace. The patients then sit with the needles for twenty minutes while listening to soft, ethereal music, letting the benefit of acupuncture and relaxation wash over them. While occasionally the acupuncture point prescription is altered to more specifically address a person’s particular manifestation, the base acupuncture point prescription (designed by Tiberi, Potyk, and Giovanni Machiocca) used at the Peace Clinic is as follows:

  • Lu 7 and LI 4 – Source and Luo points of the Metal element to harmonize Metal Element and balance excessive sadness and grief.
  • Ki 4 and Ht 7 – This uses the Longitudinal Luo vessel of the Kidney to connect the Kidney and the source of the Heart. This powerful combination allows the patient to connect the truest part of themselves which lies within the Kidney complex to their spirit, the Shen. This manifests their passion and their expression of that truth out into the world.
  • Du 20, Ht 7 and Ear Shen Men – Points that commonly deal with emotional issues and are calming and balancing to the spirit. This combination is very helpful for commonly seen conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
  • GB 34 – He-Sea point affects the organ directly, fostering strength and courage.

Once the treatment is completed, patients are invited to enjoy a cup of tea in the clinic’s waiting room. As patients leave, they may make contributions to a donation box whose proceeds benefit the New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund. Patients who have chosen to leave a donation have contributed anywhere from $1.00 to $60.00. Tiberi and Potyk believe this giving acts as a treatment in itself, fulfilling the patients’ desire to help the relief effort as well as to move their Qi.

Community Impact and Future Plans

Because Chinese medicine treats many conditions that originate from the emotional body, the Peace Clinic has been able to provide a much-needed service by helping to balance people’s emotional problems. The Peace Clinic also helps those dealing with issues of a spiritual nature. It provides support to people in transition that are making necessary life changes as a result of now feeling that life is precious and short. Some patients who are less significantly affected by September 11th use the Peace Clinic as a place to re-center and re-set their intention for the week. In addition to offering peace and healing to a community profoundly affected by tragedy, the Peace Clinic has become a positive introduction to Chinese Medicine for those wanting to understand the benefit of acupuncture.

The vision of peace that is postured by the Peace Clinic is one of unity between the inner and outer world. Therefore, changes made internally affect the external world. “Personal power, intention and self-development are seen as the ultimate keys to unlock the mystery of outer peace. What better way to facilitate this inner change than with acupuncture? If energy is the fuel for awareness, freeing the flow of Qi brings clarity, generating more energy to act in a harmonious way. This raised consciousness affects everything around it; the co-worker, the neighbor, the environment, the enemy. Once fear and other blockages are removed, one is left with their true essence, which is love. This is the mechanism for inner and outer peace,” said Tiberi.

The process of forming the Peace Clinic has brought Tiberi and Potyk a generosity and expansion of human spirit that has both unified and healed them. “Being a part of the triumph of the most noble of human character traits, in the wake of the tragedy, has left a deep mark on us and the essence of Pacific Center of Health” said Potyk.

Acknowledgements and Contributions

As the Peace Clinic unfolded, more and more people wanted to become involved and experience the benefit of acupuncture. The Peace Clinic would like to thank the following people for their generous donations: equipment by Oriental Medical Supplies and Kenshin Trading Company, public relations by Alecia Vultalggio, and signage and posters by Cady Macasa and Ranee Alano.

The Peace Clinic plans to continue indefinitely, while periodically changing the fund to which it donates. Sparked by a tragic event, a beautiful experience has been born. While sometimes may be difficult to understand the reasons that lie behind a devastating occurrence, the Peace Clinic will continue to try to transform that energy in hopes that others will follow suit, creating peace where they can in their own communities.


Robin Tiberi, L.Ac. and Lisa Jeanne Potyk, L.Ac., are practitioners at the Pacific Center of Health and co-founders of the Peace Clinic in San Diego and can be reached at (619) 542-0884 or [email protected] .

“Peace begins within. Changes in the external world come from a healthy, balanced internal world, mind, body, and spirit. It is our obligation for self-development. That is how we contribute to our community. By being the best we can be; the most compassionate, the most generous, the most expansive, gracious and inclusive. This is peace. This becomes us, which becomes our community, which becomes our country, which becomes our world. Peace begins within.”

A meditation that is recommended for comfort and empowerment while patients receive acupuncture at the Peace Clinic.

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