by Rosa Harper, Supportive Housing Advocate
It’s 10 AM on a Thursday morning at SafePlace. The Reception area slowly fills with people, mostly women, of various ages, races, and demeanors. Several know each other and chat cheerfully in the waiting area. Several others stand nervously around the reception desk. They come from various backgrounds and social circles, but are all here for a similar reason- to receive a form of acupuncture that addresses Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A few minutes past the hour another woman sweeps through the door; smiling warmly at the room she signs her name in the volunteer book. She smells like rose and sandalwood and the crowd that has gathered begins to stand up and follow her as she walks down the hallway. Her name is Barbara Biro and she is here to serve them.
Joining the group, I gather the forms they’ve signed and we all file down the hall to settle into a room where soft lighting and soothing music begin to put at ease those whose nerves are on edge. Barbara speaks easily to those with questions, paying special attention to the people who are here for the first time. There are several direct service staff people who have come for the healing benefits of the acupuncture as well and we greet each other and relax into the space, grateful for the opportunity to receive and let go of the stresses we have collected.
The needles go in, five in each ear, and the room begins to quiet. Some people curl up and go to sleep, others close their eyes and seem to disappear into meditation, while others read a book or scroll on their phone. Despite the fact that we are often times piled on top of one another in order to fit into the room, there seems to be spaciousness here and time melts away. Barbara keeps circling the room, responding to the requests of those who want additional healing support with pain. She offers comfort, immediate relief through her healing wisdom, and sound advice to those who are in distress. After about 45 minutes the room starts to wake up and the needles are removed. Most are smiling and speak their gratitude, promising to return next week if their busy lives permit.
Since beginning her service in April of 2014, Barbara has seen over 200 SafePlace clients. She has come dependably, weekly, quietly creating a stream of well being behind her and a happy buzz around the office. The stories clients tell her, and me, about their experience are remarkable. Years of living with panic attacks, suddenly relieved. One woman who stated she was dependent on her anxiety medication in order to even leave her house, now says she is off her medication. Most results are not so dramatic, but many are noticeable and immediate. Many report that the positive effects last for several days after treatment, some report weeks.
What I find most inspiring is the shift I see in the outlook people have on their own healing. What was once a lifetime diagnosis, what once seemed to be immovable and out of their control- is now something that can be treated within an hour and without medication (and for free!). I see the treatment as having something of a “tuning fork” effect on the body. Acupuncture acknowledges the holistic, holographic nature of the body and seeks to align it with its original state of health and harmony. A traumatic event can create disharmony in the energetic body- it can literally throw you out of tune. Through watching Barbara work, and receiving the treatment myself, I have observed that acupuncture heals the underlying cause of the symptoms by addressing, energetically, the parts of the body that are most affected by traumatic events.
I am hopeful that we will continue to be able to offer this service to the community, since I have seen such powerful results from the short time it has been available here through the loving service of Barbara Biro.
Many Blessings to All,
For more information on Acupuncture at SafePlace you can contact Rosa Harper at
For more information on Barbara Biro, her experience and her offerings, please visit her website