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Meet Richard Mandell of Brookline Community Acupuncture

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Mandell.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 1987, I was working as an editor and as a carpenter/painter. I felt that I was not having a direct impact on people’s lives. I then had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with Witness for Peace, to witness the disastrous effects the Contra war was having on the people. In addition to being a witness to this, our presence also meant that the local people were temporarily safe because the US-supported Contras would not attack the village where we were staying.

I emerged from this experience more strongly convinced that I had to do something that would truly touch people’s lives. An injury while during carpentry brought me to an acupuncturist, and it was there that I discovered what would define the ensuing years of my life.

For more than 14 years, I used acupuncture to help people struggling with addiction, This important work helped me understand the importance of meeting people where they are as well as the benefits of treating people in groups.

In 1989-90, I was among a group of practitioners who created The AIDS Care Project, a free acupuncture clinic for those with HIV/AIDS. It was there where I truly experienced the power of our simple needles, where I learned so much from the patients, many of whom were significantly suffering. Acupuncture really improved their quality of life.

Finally, in 2001, in response to the horrific suffering of those with HIV/AIDS on the African continent, I helped to create The PanAfrican Acupuncture Project, a nonprofit organization. Initially focusing on Uganda, where to this day we still work, we train local health-care providers how to use a simple, effective form of acupuncture to help their people. When we expanded into Mexico, we changed our organizational name to The Global Acupuncture Project (

All of these experiences have influenced who I am and also how I practice acupuncture at Brookline Community Acupuncture.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have been very fortunate to have had the support of many people, and I have learned a great deal from my patients and from those we have trained in Uganda and Mexico. The challenges I have faced often are related to my wanting to do more than time allows.

Please tell us about Brookline Community Acupuncture.
My acupuncture career has had many branches. Now, however, my focus is on two businesses–Brookline Community Acupuncture and The Global Acupuncture Project.

In Brookline, I practice in a community-acupuncture setting, where patients are all treated while reclining in comfortable chairs in a community space. Using acupuncture theory, I am able to treat all conditions in this warm, nurturing environment. Because I am able to treat multiple people at the same time, I am able to keep the fees low and affordable. I charge on a sliding scale, so patients themselves decide what they can afford. I believe that I am known for the supportive, gentle care that I provide.

The Global Acupuncture Project continues to provide acupuncture training to those in Uganda and Mexico. Although initially, the project focused on providing skills that would support the health needs of those who are HIV positive, we now teach simple, effective acupuncture protocols that treat a broad range of conditions. Those we train are able to care for people who otherwise would have little to no access to healthcare, helping to reduce pain and suffering and improve quality of life. Since 2003, I have led these trainings, helping to support and instill confidence in those we train. Thus far, we have trained over 300 providers. What makes this project unique is that we teach skills that empower the local providers, helping to ensure that the people’s access to acupuncture will continue for years to come. I am very proud of the fact that I introduced acupuncture to Uganda and have touched many lives.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I cannot say that I have a favorite memory from my childhood. It was a childhood filled with music, playing recorder, saxophone, and bassoon. I do recall playing trios with my brother (clarinet) and my mother (piano), often punctuated by a lot of laughing.


  • Initial Visits range from $35 to $50
  • Follow-Up Visits range from $25 to $40
  • An Introductory treatment costs $10

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