There's no shame in being poor...I should know, I spent most of my life that way :) However, lack of funds does make it more difficult to have access to self-care. More difficult, but not impossible. I spend a lot of time talking about how we should all take care of ourselves, and how we are worth every penny it takes to maintain the mind, body, and spirit. And I mean every word I say, but I do realize that a $90 massage is not a priority when you need to clip coupons to afford the groceries this month. That massage might do you a world of good, but only if it is within financial reach. What most people don't realize is that therapies such as acupuncture and massage are no longer only accessible to those with expendable income. All you need to do is a little research to find these services at a fraction of the price. The first thing you should do is sign up for coupon sites online, such as Groupon, Tippr, LivingSocial, Bloomspot, and Yipit....and these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head! There are a ton of these sites out there, and they are a great way to experience services that might ordinarily be out of reach. When you sign up for these sites, there are daily deals sent to you which are a fraction of the regular cost. Just this week I found an acupuncturist offering a $70 treatment for $25, and a $110 facial for $35. You can also get huge discounts on restaurants, fitness classes, and almost any form of entertainment imaginable. It's a great way to try something new for a minimal amount of money.
Another way to save money is to check out local schools. NESA, the acupuncture school I graduated from, charges much less because the treatments are done by interns (although they are all supervised by practitioners with years of experience). Cortiva is a massage school in Watertown where you can get a massage for around $25. They are also always running discounts, so you can keep checking their site for even cheaper massages.
Community-style acupuncture seems to be cropping up everywhere now, and it's a wonderful option for those who don't mind being treated with other people around. In this set-up, rather than being treated individually, you are treated in a room with a number of other patients. Since you are in a chair, you won't get extra adjuncts like cupping or moxa...but you will still get an effective treatment for minimal cost. Usually there is a sliding scale where you pick your own price (generally this scale ranges from $15-$40). I know some great practitioners that I would highly recommend who are using this style, so if you're interested in finding someone in your area, let me know.
Lastly, practitioners in my field tend to do work gratis on a regular basis, so keep your eyes and ears open. Check the internet, look at the New England School of Acupuncture website, read the papers (especially the ones that are focused on holistic care). Many acupuncturists will host events where they give free treatments to teach the public about acupuncture. I myself offered free treatments during my open house, and am now working on a plan to offer free treatments for a few hours a week to give acu-virgins a chance to experience what it's all about (more to come on that, so keep checking back!) I also run monthly discounts which are advertised on my website. During May, I am offering special discounts to restaurant and retail employees, Boston marathon runners, and mothers. Next month? Who knows? It could be your turn to receive a treatment at a huge discount, so make sure to keep following the events/discounts page on my website to find out!