Craig acupuncturist moves into wellness co-op, adds cosmetic acupuncture to services |

Craig acupuncturist moves into wellness co-op, adds cosmetic acupuncture to services

Claire Cocozzella, who has a doctorate of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, sits in her new office space at the Healing Touch Co-op in Craig.
Amber Delay O’Connor/Craig Press

Three years into her practice at Prosper Acupuncture & Internal Medicine, Claire Cocozzella has moved to a new location with plans to expand her services this spring. 

Cocozzella, who has a doctorate of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, opened an in-home practice at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While business may have gotten off to a slow start, she said it allowed her to continue learning and incorporating new services for residents.

“I really love acupuncture,” Cocozzella said. “I am really lucky to get to practice this. It’s a beautiful medicine, and getting to help people always feels nice.”

Last year, Cocozzella transitioned from her home office into the Healing Touch Co-op at 105 E. Victory Way in Craig, which houses four massage therapists and another part-time acupuncturist, as well as a menu of therapeutic services. 

Business at Prosper has picked up since moving into Healing Touch because there are other practitioners in the space to provide referrals. 

Cocozzella said she believes in a team approach where she works with her clients’ medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists and other therapies to help clients meet their goals. 

One of Cocozzella’s goals for the spring is to start offering cosmetic acupuncture at Prosper, which can help with acne, acne scarring and promote collagen production to softens wrinkles. Cosmetic acupuncture is a series of treatments that includes facial needles in addition to a full-body treatment. While cosmetic acupuncture is not an alternative to botox or fillers, it can naturally slow the progression of aging and help someone maintain their current appearance for longer, Cocozzella said. 

Prosper Acupuncture & Internal Medicine in Craig offers acupuncture along with traditional Chinese medicine modalities.
Amber Delay O’Connor/Craig Press

A broad scope of services

Acupuncture is one of the more commonly known modalities under traditional Chinese medicine, but those practices include several other techniques that Cocozzella integrates into treatments based on a client’s needs. 

Cocozzella explained that acupuncture involves inserting needles into certain points throughout the body to affect the flow of qi — also known as chi — on a particular channel, organ system or across the whole body. According to Cocozzella, treatments can help regulate the central nervous system, decrease inflammation and pain, improve circulation and ultimately activate the body’s immune system and ability to heal. 

“Acupuncture is all about balance,” Cocozzella said. “So even when people come to me with complex issues, I help them find balance.” 

In addition to inserting acupuncture needles, electronic stimulation can be added to the needles at certain frequencies. This method can be pretty powerful, Cocozzella said. 

Fire cupping is another highly requested modality that uses a flame to create suction over the skin with glass cups to reduce pain and increase circulation. Gua sha, a scraping technique that helps relieve tension and increase circulation; tui na, a massage technique the follows the flow of qi; and moxibustion, which consists of burning mugwort herbs over certain points of the body to boost immunity, are other modalities that can be added into treatments to achieve different effects. 

Cocozzella explained that some people respond well to acupuncture and these other modalities, but for others, she will also incorporate Chinese herbs into the treatment. 

Being in a rural area, Cocozzella said she considers herself more of a general practitioner, though she tends to see a lot of athletes and many clients dealing with chronic pain. She works with clients on everything from stress and anxiety, digestive issues, or sleep disturbances, to helping women find relief from painful periods or to prepare for pregnancy.

Acupuncture has also be used to help with smoking cessation, preparing the body for surgery and helping the body heal more quickly after surgery. 

“My goal for my patients is helping them to live a more fulfilled life so they can keep doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” Cocozzella said. 

Alternative medicine 

A graduate of Moffat County High School, Cocozzella went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Human Services at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. While she was in college, Cocozzella considered going into nursing or dentistry, but acupuncture was always at the back of her mind after she’d received treatments as a teenager and felt the benefits. 

“I always knew I wanted to be in health care,” Cocozzella said. “And I wanted to be in an aspect of it where I would get to treat the whole body.” 

Within a few years of finishing her undergraduate degree, Cocozzella returned to Craig and led the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition for two years before leaving the organization to pursue acupuncture studies. 

“I have always cared about people having access to services,” Cocozzella said. “And the dental coalition helped me understand nonprofits and health care systems. But it also reminded me I wanted to be in patient care.” 

In 2016, Cocozzella left the dental coalition and Craig to begin studying at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver. She moved back to Craig the day after graduating from acupuncture school in December 2019.

Cocozzella said she was excited to return to the area where she grew up to start offering traditional Chinese medicine, “because I’ve seen what it can do and I want people to have access to alternative health care.” 

Once she passed the four required state boards, Cocozzella launched her practice out of her home office. Because she started off at the beginning of the pandemic, Cocozzella had to take extra safety precautions and used only word of mouth marketing as she built her business. 

Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, there has been a steady flow of clients at Prosper, about half of whom have experienced acupuncture before and the other half completely new to the practices, Cocozzella said. 

In her opinion, the best things about practicing acupuncture are being able to share the medicine, meeting people, helping them better understand their symptoms and working with them on their health goals. 

For more, contact or 970-620-8671.

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