Livelihood Local Economy Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

Nov 03, 2017 CWN

Treating The Whole Of You

How Woodstock Healing Arts Uses Its Currents

Compiled by Jodi La Marco

Woodstock Healing Arts is a wellness center in Woodstock that treats not just the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Owner Ben Fleischer talks about his new venture and why connecting with community is important.

What do you do at Woodstock Healing Arts and what inspired you to open your business?

    We opened for business in December of last year. I’m an acupuncturist, and I do a type of acupressure called Zero Balancing. I’ve been working with people in the therapeutic context for 15 years. I’m from here originally, and I moved back to the area about five years ago after a decade in the city. I wanted a place to practice that I thought would support and complement the work that I do, but I couldn’t find an office that was up to my standards. There wasn’t a place that was available for health practitioners, which struck me as odd because there are so many great practitioners up here. I wanted to create a center that would support and elevate the quality of work of all of these amazing complementary health practitioners.

What makes your business unique from competitors?

    I think what makes us unique is that we’re really bridging the gap between a wellness regime and healthcare. The intent is to talk the talk of Western medicine. We have people here trained well enough to read reports and understand what’s going on from a medical perspective, but then we can really support people from more of a complementary care perspective. That involves everything from massage therapy, which is probably many people’s go-to when it comes to complementary care, to more “out there” techniques that people haven’t heard of like Integrated Energy Therapy or Intuitive Soul Guidance. They’re amazing methods, but I think even more so, these are phenomenal practitioners who are experienced in using them. What makes us unique is the team itself.

How does your business fit into the larger movement to revitalize the Hudson Valley?

    Woodstock is known for having alternative healers but didn’t have a central place for them. In one way, we’re supporting and illuminating what was already here. We’re also doing so in a really beautiful environment. I think it helps a lot of the New Yorkers who are moving up here feel comfortable to access all the healers of the area, because it speaks to their aesthetic and it speaks to the quality of work that they’re used to. If you’re a New Yorker, you can get the best care in the world, so why would you get it up in Woodstock? It’s because the best of the best have moved up to Woodstock, or moved up to the Hudson Valley, and they need somewhere to practice. In my opinion, we’re making a bridge between wellness care in NYC and wellness care in the Hudson Valley.

What measures do you and your business take to support the local economy?

    We do free and by-donation events here at the space, and offer free and by-donation services such as acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, and holistic facials. We offer free community acupuncture to people under 25 years old, particularly because we’ve been really saddened by how that community has been affected by the opioid crisis. Acupuncture doesn’t resolve addiction completely, but it’s an amazing supplement. It’s an alternative to methadone or to getting a fix on the street because it actually satisfies a similar part in the brain. If someone is trying to quit but they can’t afford a cab ride to go to a methadone clinic, they can come down the street and get an acupuncture treatment. We also sponsor local events and arts organizations both in Ulster and Greene counties, and we support the local chamber of commerce. We’re a big believer in being tied into the community. I really firmly believe that it’s a community effort to raise the quality of life.

You just became a Current user. How does using local currency fit in with your vision of community sustainability?

    To me, it makes a lot of sense for this area, for the region, and specifically for Woodstock, because there are so many businesses that are really open to working together. We have a lot of partnerships largely because so many local business owners know each other and we want to support each other. In a way, the Current is just a way to put a number on those exchanges, to account for them in a very fair way that cuts out the support of big banks. It cuts out the unnecessary loss of income that is inherent with big banks.