By Nancy Varekamp | CNews Editor
John Kozel believes the opioid epidemic is stemming in Oregon. He’s encouraged by the increase of medical providers willing to prescribe pain management protocols with less emphasis on addictive drugs.
Effective alternatives include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, craniosacral techniques, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, cupping and gua sha.
Those are provided by YesYes Healing Garden (YYHG), a business he co-founded last year at 1626 N.E. Alberta St.
John earned a master’s degree from the College of Oriental Medicine, is a licensed acupuncturist, offers Chinese herbal consultations and manages the acupuncture and wellness practice.
Two licensed massage therapists also ply their skills, and one of them offers interpreting for Spanish-speaking patients.
John and co-founder Katherine Sullivan are making YYHG into an inclusive and accessible wellness practice.
“We reach out to the underserved, those who often have not been treated respectfully by other medical communities,” Katherine said.
The two-story building is on a rise above the Alberta Street sidewalk. A ramp is planned for this summer for easier physical accessibility.
Convenience is assured by walk-in hours for massage. And financial accessibility is the hallmark of Saturday and Sunday drop-in community acupuncture sessions.
Treatment is made more affordable for many because YYHG accepts health insurance. “Many policies cover acupuncture, and people just don’t realize it,” Katherine pointed out.
For John, the discovery of the benefits of healing arts came during his college days as a pre-med student in Vermont. There, he lived and worked for three years within an intentional community where he received intensive training in mindfulness and Taoist qi gong.
“I began to think there was a different way,” explained John, who moved to Portland in 2013 for his studies.
He isn’t surprised when out-oftowners visiting the Alberta Arts District drop in. “Some have their luggage and are on their way to the airport,” he reported. “Then they go home and seek this out.”
Katherine’s move to Portland from Virginia six years ago was for the culture and progressiveness.
“It was four years ago I learned respect for alternative healing practices,” Katherine said. The poet, editor and book publisher sustained an injury to her back that caused pain and reduced mobility in one arm. Neither were helped by physical therapy, but quickly responded to acupuncture.
She selected the name of the new practice. It carries the moniker of YesYes Books, her publishing company, which promotes poetry, literature and art for healing.
“Both projects are all about affirmation.”
Nancy Varekamp is semiretired from her career in journalism, public relations and – her favorite work engagement – writing and editing targeted newsletters.