Photo by: Michael Taylor
Carrie Sawtell, L.Ac., M.S., Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM) is the owner and founder of Many Rivers Community Acupuncture. The business first opened at 44 Bloomfield Ave. in May of 2010. They moved to 775 Bloomfield Ave. in 2015 and expanded operations to three acupuncturists.
Carrie is a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified in Oriental Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbology) by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She received her Bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. After graduation, Carrie went on to California where she studied acupressure, tui na (Chinese massage), and shiatsu (Japanese massage) at the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley. From there, she received her Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) from the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, CA.
Upon graduation, she moved to Shanghai, China for three and a half years. She then went on to further study and completed the Advanced Acupuncture Training Program and the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Interning at two of Shanghai’s prestigious Chinese medicine hospitals followed this: in the Acupuncture department at Yueyang Hospital and in the Herbology department at Shuguang hospital.
Upon returning to the States, Carrie opened Many Rivers Community Acupuncture. They are part of a co-op that consists of 150 other clinics around the country that serve the same needs. Aside from being part of a co-op, Many Rivers works as a "sustainable for-profit" business. Carrie does
not think of the clinic as her very own, but as everybody's (Entire staff and patients included).
Many Rivers makes sure health care and acupuncture are accessible and affordable to all of their clients. They have a "sliding scale" when it comes to cost of $15 to $35 per treatment. People choose what they like to pay. There is a $10 fee for first time customers. The clinic is open Monday through Friday. Carrie and her staff can often see six patients in one hour. One of the rooms is affectionately known as "Acu-land," a relaxed ambiance of serenity mixed with white noise and sometimes music from the ocean. Once patients are done with their treatment, they are welcome to stay as long as they like.
Carrie says the idea to become an acupuncturist came from her own childhood. When she was ten years old, she experienced a lot of digestive problems, which we now know better as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It wasn't until in college that she picked up a book about acupressure, followed by going to California for her first acupuncture treatment that relieved her symptoms. Carrie says, "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for that. It really helped me in so many ways."
She goes on to explain. "The theory behind acupuncture is so fascinating and very different from Western medicine. There is so much to learn. That's what drew me to it. It's a lifetime of learning. You can study something every day and there's still something more to do. Something new to try. Something written in a book two hundred years ago that still applies today." Acupuncture in the world today sees things holistically.
When talking about Windsor, Carrie says she loves it here, but sometimes feels a little overwhelmed by the choices. Summer concerts on the green, Northwest Park, the "fantastic" Windsor Historical Society are favorites for her and her husband. Carrie currently volunteers for the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA), and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Three words that describe Carrie: Inquisitive, hopeful, caring.
Interview by T.L. Rotkiewicz
Photo by Mike Taylor