I was indoctrinated into acupuncture by an amazing teacher who thankfully never once said to me, “I better see some koi fish and a water feature in your office someday.”
I knew early on that I wanted to use the acupuncture studio itself as part of the healing that happens at Poke. My hope was always to create an experience that helps patients distance themselves from their “real lives” so that they can access the tender, human parts of themselves that remain untouched by whatever social media comments they just took a poopy mud bath in.
The first Poke I opened ten years ago was in an industrial basement with an entrance that you had to sort of discover at the back of an old brick building on Santa Monica Boulevard. Then I relocated to a storefront on Melrose Avenue where I turned every surface into a salon wall; it was a warmly personal space filled with books, plants, and countless things that I loved intended to distract and disarm busy brains. Neither address could be accused of trying to look like a zen spa.
The new Poke is something else. Hidden in plain sight, behind a limo-tinted glass front door set in an anonymous white wall on a frenetic stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, it’s a sanctuary of radical stillness. The high-ceilinged gallery space has free-standing treatment “pods” frosted with custom plaster and lined with warm cocoon-like wood; a hand-painted acupuncture chart starring a seven-foot-tall female bodybuilder; a galaxy restroom designed for decompression; a sitting area with a cloud chair for when you are too “acu-stoned” to drive home just yet; and a chilled out ceramic rabbit in a bow tie reclining on a plinth.
I want to give my patients actual breathing room away from our mad new world that continually leaves us stunned, panicked, exhausted, disgusted, and probably over-caffeinated. I want to share a space that gives permission to be soft again, to slow down, and explore stillness. I want you to know what it could feel like if you didn’t have to push. And the world didn’t push back.