Below, in alphabetical order, are short biographies of the licensed acupuncturists who serve Common Ground’s Community Acupuncture Clinic.  All practitioners are fully licensed, insured and have graduated from accredited acupuncture schools.  Virginia licensing requires all acupuncturists to update their knowledge and skills through continuing education.

All practitioners treat a broad spectrum of conditions and ailments, including stress and pain of all types.

Cali Gaston
earned her Master of Acupuncture degree from The Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health) in Columbia, MD in 2000, and her BA from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD in 1984.  She practices Five Element acupuncture and has a particular interest in “how treatment can help someone come home to themselves.”  Cali is also an RN with experience in psychiatric nursing.  Her private practice, Great Bell Acupuncture, is in Charlottesville.


Sam Pierceall
Sam Pierceall’s path to acupuncture began as a humble offshoot while studying organic farming when he developed a deep interest in herbal medicine and the healing properties contained within plants. After successfully completing a three year certificate course in herbal medicine offered at Sacred Plant Traditions in 2011, Sam’s devotion to holistic modalities deepened further. In researching and discovering what was possible through acupuncture, he knew that it was something that held great promise and that he needed to learn more. After three years of school and one year of clinical internship, Sam graduated from Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine in Sugar Grove, NC in 2016. Sam enjoys sharing the benefits of this ancient medicine with those in his community, and helping clients find their own personal path to health and wellness.


Sarahbeth Whedbee
Sarabeth Whedbee 
is a 2000 graduate of the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Hallandale, FL.  She also received ordination from the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary (NY, NY) in 2008.  She was a certified alcoholism counselor in Maryland (1991) and is a graduate of St. Mary’s College, Maryland (1987).  She maintains a private practice in Charlottesville.



Alison Downey‘s training in the healing arts is comprehensive; from her degrees in Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine, Sufi Spiritual Healing & Counseling, to Medical Qi Gong, Chi Nei Tsang, Sound Healing, Dance & Movement Therapy and Tao Tantric Arts. She has lived in a Buddhist monastery in India, studied directly with Taoist Masters in remote caves of China, and apprenticed with healing masters in Bali. She has served on the teaching team of Tao Tantric Arts “Sacred Femininity” 5 week teacher training. Prior to moving to Bali, Alison was voted one of the Top 3 Best Acupuncturists in Western North Carolina. Earlier in her life, Alison was the director of a wilderness vision quest program for teenagers. She loves to dance (one of the best ways to free the Qi!) and co-founded the thriving Asheville Movement Collective ecstatic dance community, 15 years ago. Alison loves to share all that she has synthesized through her deep and broad experience in the healing arts as she continues to expand on this path of the ever-deepening mystery!


About Jamie: Jamie Paxton holds a Master’s degree in Acupuncture from The Academy for Five Element Acupuncture and a B.A. from Duke University. As a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, she focuses on the intersection of physical, mental, and emotional health, striving to alleviate immediate issues while also empowering a deeper level of healing and resiliency to support ongoing wellbeing. Prior to studying Chinese Medicine, Jamie was a chef and advocate for local and sustainable food systems. Her approach to wellness is informed by this background as well as her long-term yoga and meditation practices, and a deep appreciation of nature. She maintains a private practice in Charlottesville, VA. For more information, please visit



About Ashley Forbes: A native Washingtonian, Ashley Forbes completed her 4 year graduate program at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. This comprehensive medical program focused on acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition and biomedicine. Her undergraduate degree in Psychology was a great foundation to shape her knowledge as an Acupuncturist.

Ashley is licensed by the State of Virginia Acupuncture Board to practice Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.

Ashley has extensive experience treating chronic and acute pain, migraines and other neurological conditions, pre and post-operative pain management, addiction, anxiety and stress, depression, insomnia, and women’s health and wellness – including fertility, perinatal, postpartum, and menopause support.

Ashley approaches her treatments to include more than just the acupuncture. She values the choices that patients make in their homes and daily lives to include diet, emotional well-being and exercise.

When Ashley if not working, you can find her outdoors with one of her three rescue dogs, cooking a new recipe or rearranging furniture in her home, as she is a lover of interior design.