Press Release

POCA Launches Liberation Acupuncture Forum

Illuminates the Social Issues Necessary to Take Into Account for a More Accessible and Relevant Modern Day Acupuncture Practice

March 24, 2015 - Portland, Oregon- The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) in cooperation with the organization’s acupuncture school, POCA Tech, today announced the launch of an online forum to explore the theory and practice of liberation acupuncture. Liberation acupuncture brings to light the social issues inherently relevant to the practice of acupuncture.

Liberation acupuncture’s roots are in the liberation theology movement, a praxis that aims to prioritize the needs and perspectives of the oppressed, the exploited, and the excluded. When applied to acupuncture, the theory looks at what is valuable and relevant in acupuncture theory and practice for the treatment of people who are marginalized by society.

The new school of thought affirms that health and disease cannot be understood or treated independent of social conditions, and that in order to provide the best care for patients, acupuncturists must take into account the social context of disease. Liberation acupuncture contributes to community empowerment by reducing the pain and stress of the communities it treats.

“This new school of acupuncture thought was born out of POCA’s experience delivering community acupuncture in a socially engaged, socially relevant way, that has always prioritized treating people at the margins,” said Lisa Rohleder, POCA co-founder. “After a decade of ongoing dialogue among our co-op of practitioners about the role injustice plays in traumatic stress, an issue we see often in our treatment rooms, we believe launching liberation acupuncture is an integral next step in shifting acupuncture as a whole towards a more socially relevant medicine that offers healing to everyone, including our communities at the margins.”

The liberation acupuncture forum, accessible at, aims to open a dialogue across disciplines about the new school of thought. The forum is already engaging both practitioners and academics in bringing to light the social issues relevant to the practice of acupuncture.

Lisa needling with hands together
Photo courtesy of
Vanessa Tignanelli