Mystic River Acupuncture, named after its previous location on the river, moved to Groton in 2004. Owner, acupuncturist and New York native Kathleen Poole has experienced a long and winding road to this point. From her research on Plum Island to sailing to Haiti, Poole has found a way to combine her passions and talents in a mutually-beneficial business.
In the 1970's, with a degree in biology, Poole took a job out of college at Plum Island Animal Disease Clinic at the controversial Lab 257 as a biologist. She describes the job as high security. The entry and exit were laced with a series of decontamination and pressure chambers. She commuted daily by boat for three years, conducting research in a hermetically-sealed building in which showering upon exit was required.
“I liked the work, but being in a cinder block building with no windows was hard,” says Poole. “The best part of the job was the boat ride over.”
With that in mind, Poole quit her job, put her biological research on the shelf and took a job as a deck hand on a ship for $50 a week, room and board included.
Poole met her partner and boating became a shared passion. They set sail on a small, non-motorized craft and weathered the seas to the Bahamas, Haiti and back up the Florida coast on a shoestring budget.
Taken by the Eastern shores of Maryland, Poole set up a business as a water woman or more commonly coined, a fisherman. On her 28-foot vessel, Poole and her future husband fished for oysters in the winter and crab in the summer. Eventually, they married, had three children and built a 36-foot schooner to house the family of five.
After having children, Poole suffered from pain and migraines, which led her to her first acupuncture session. Having first tried conventional medicine, she was amazed by the profound difference a few sessions made in her overall well-being and at much less expense. Inspired, she attended school to receive her degree in acupuncture and eventually became the senior clinical supervisor at Tri-State College of Acupuncture.
The family traveled to Noank by boat for work, and after overcoming a divorce, Poole stayed in the area with her support system of friends and family.
“I made house calls until I had enough income for an office space,” says Poole. “Although this was not an easy place to start a practice in 1989, I needed to start my own because there was no one to work for.“
Poole offers Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage, with a deeply discounted community acupuncture clinic for those local residents with financial limitations. She has an impressive wall of herbs and claims the lessons in her work are endless.
Often, patients are directed to Poole by western doctors as a last resort, and she is able to help them lead normal function lives through acupuncture. She is prepared to take on those challenges both in and out of work.
“One way I keep my life interesting is to be available in unusual places at unusual times. I keep needles on me at all times,” says Poole, who has helped the public at large healing a spider bite, helping a mid-show performer with laryngitis and visiting a post-labor friend in pain.
“I feel really good about being here. It’s not a flashy place, but I feel like my business is a hidden treasure to Groton that I can provide,” Poole says. “There is a lot of potential for where my life can go now, and I like that my life is always changing.”