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.
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!