Meet Lauren Buckley: Founder of South Philadelphia Community Acupuncture
Lauren Buckley didn’t always know she wanted to be an acupuncturist, but she did know she wanted to help people live healthy and happy lives.
“My favorite classes in high school were gym, health and sex education,” she says with a laugh. “I felt really drawn towards massage therapy and holistic health and exercise and the body, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.”
Coming from a family of doctors and nurses, she was inspired to continue in the tradition of healing and considered a career in nursing at first, but her aunts advised against it.
“They were like, ‘You’re not going to like that! It’s not patient care, it’s not hands-on, it’s mostly bureaucratic and it’s tough,” she remembers them saying. “You’re more of a free spirit.”
Then in 1993, her uncle, an MD in San Diego, suggested that she explore acupuncture.
“He said, ‘I’ve been turned onto acupuncture and Chinese medicine in California and I think you would love this field. I’m going to introduce you to some of my friends,” she recalls.
So that year, at the age of 19, Lauren went on a trip to the West Coast that would change the trajectory of her life.
“I took some time off in San Diego to visit my uncle and he introduced me to acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It clicked immediately and I was like, ‘This is exactly what I want to do!’ I can incorporate natural health, the body and taking care of people — not with drugs and pharmaceuticals — but with a holistic approach. I felt inspired. In the week I went to visit my uncle, the stars aligned and I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.”
Lauren finished up her Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health Education at the University of Arizona before embarking on her next chapter at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego. In 2002, she earned a four-year M. Sc. in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, and flew all the way to China to complete an externship at the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2003.
“Their hospital for acupuncture is so big there,” she says. “There are different departments for different acupuncture specialties like women’s health, gynecology, orthopedics and pain management.
Being a hospital, it was also a no frills type of situation. She describes patients as sitting in metal chairs and tables with no curtains separating them — a far cry from the spa-like experience at places like South Philly Community Acupuncture.
“There’s no music playing or mood lighting,” Lauren says. “But with such a large staff, you could see 30 people in an hour and get so much experience. It also confirmed that what I learned in the states is the same thing they were doing over there.”
The following year, she moved to Hong Kong and worked at a clinic. During this time, she was able to travel to Tibet, Nepal and India where she continued learning about different eastern medicines. She also attended the Yoga Video Dham in Nasik, India, becoming a certified yoga instructor.
After her whirlwind adventure abroad, Lauren moved with her husband to Pensacola Beach Florida where she set up her first private practice.
“I started my business slowly, with one patient per hour,” she says.
While she loved her work, she wanted to be able to make acupuncture more accessible to people who couldn’t afford the expense of private sessions. So when Lauren moved to Philadelphia to start a family, she drew inspiration from her time working in China to take a community approach for her new acupuncture practice.
South Philly Community Acupuncture opened its doors in 2007 — six months after the birth of her first child.
“I slowly built it as I was growing my family, working three days a week on my own,” Lauren says. “My husband would come home from work and I would work evening hours. After two years of doing that I got busy enough to hire another person and we were able to extend our hours.”
Soon, South Philly Community Acupuncture was open seven days a week with a full staff of passionate acupuncturists. Aside from its flagship location in East Passyunk, there’s now a second location in Washington Square at the Healing Arts Collective.
All of this growth over the past 13 years has been fueled by Lauren’s pure love for what she does best: helping people heal and live their best lives.
“I get to meet people in a safe space to unfold the truth and help them cultivate a better life. I get to be a part of that change, that progress — it’s really beautiful. I couldn’t think of a better field to be in.”
If you’re ready to begin your healing journey with Lauren and her team, click here to book your first session.