By Karie Reinertson

Like many, my path to healing has been anything but linear. After moving from Vermont to Asheville, North Carolina, I was experiencing numbness and tingling in my hands and headaches that just wouldn’t go away. My body hurt all of the time. I felt an unreasonable level of anxiety (more so than my usual existential anxiety), and I felt exhausted with the slightest level of effort. The last straw was when I had my first seizure at the age of 31.

After months of being in and out of numerous doctors’ offices, a friend mentioned that my symptoms sounded a lot like Lyme disease. I reached out to my general practitioner and got tested the following week. Miraculously it came back positive — Lyme disease is notorious for presenting as a false negative when tested. I felt relief that I knew what was happening with my body, but underlying dread as I knew that Lyme can be a complicated disease to treat.

I immediately started an antibiotic protocol with my general practitioner, but my body was suffering and didn’t take well to it. I had received acupuncture in the past at a student clinic during college, and I felt that it was one of the more beneficial healing arts treatments I’d ever experienced. Our health insurance plan at that time was very minimal and, like many plans, did not cover any sort of holistic health care. Even though it was very much out of our budget and not covered by our health insurance, I decided to go see an acupuncturist.

From there, my healing path unfolded. For the next several months, in conjunction with treatment with my doctor, I saw numerous healing arts practitioners. I saw all of these practitioners out of pocket.

The stress of trying to pay for treatment was at times just as intense and frustrating as the symptoms of Lyme disease. If there had been a program to help those in financial need pay less for treatment, I would have been able to receive more needed care. I also would have been much less stressed during a difficult time.

When the opportunity came about to help get Open Path Healing Arts Collective off the ground, I knew I was uniquely suited to help shepherd it into the world. I know from my own experience with Lyme that this program will help so many people who could benefit from holistic health care, but are struggling to afford it.

Nearly a year after seeing an acupuncturist, a naturopath, and an herbalist, I felt almost 100% back to health. It was a process, but like so many challenging parts of life, I emerged so much the better for it.

I know that every client who uses this program will benefit from accessing needed care without deepening their financial stress. Whether it’s to help relieve minor concerns or to provide support with a more significant health condition, Healing Arts Collective has something to offer any client in search of affordable holistic health care.

This program has been a long time coming. If you’re a healing arts practitioner, we hope it’s a simple way for you to streamline your sliding scale process and help you give back to your community. If you’re a client, we hope it will help you access the care you need on your healing journey.

We are so excited to welcome you all to the Collective.