Recently I had some experiences that caused me to look at the acupuncture industry and how the acupuncture industry fits with several industries that acupuncturists can get involved with.
Keep in mind we are licensed healthcare practitioners. I am on board with giving my patients a preferably enjoyable and relaxing experience. One of my locations has soft sheets, a fish tank, and a lovely apothecary cabinet from Japan. Another is a health spa, with a blanket that changes appearance depending on what direction you rub it, and I frequently have to turn down the relaxing music to hear my patients voice diagnostically, and another is the clinic at the school I graduated where I rent space. All of these are different experiences. So let me be clear, what I am designed for is to roll up my sleeves and do some healing. When someone at one of these complains because a child is crying in my treatment room and it might disrupt someone else relaxation, I think, this is healthcare, not a spa service. What about the mother or child in that room that badly needs help? I remember Sun Si Miao writing his order to books with women and children come first because of it Venerates the Root. This became the title of the translations on treating children.
Another experience I had is being invited to work at a health spa startup, and I started with less success there than what I had continuing to treat at the acupuncture school clinic, with a small commute. Later I was invited to interview with a salon about ten blocks away from the health spa. Both were good locations for both facial rejuvenation acupuncture and general practice. It turned out that they didn’t want the spa owner to think they stole me. The spa thought this was a conflict of interest, even though there had been no agreements that I did not work somewhere else. I had stepped into a local conversation of sacristy, territorialism, and possessiveness. Why would this be the case here but the same acupuncturist could work at John Hopkins and the Maryland University of Integrative Health, both universities and healthcare, with no issue. Because it is well known that health care workers do work at multiple locations without conflict. In this area, it is common for a psychologist to work in different locations as well. I didn’t walk into a healthcare clinic though. These locations were more around health and beauty combined, with a different culture and different expectations and I don’t blame them for this.
After reaffirming my actual agreements, I reflected and decided what conversation I was willing to be in a patient-centered conversation. I was not willing to bring my profession, as a licensed healthcare practitioner, into a discussion of fear of offending one another, fear of stealing patients who have their own free will, or stealing me who cannot be owned. I was not willing to be in a conversation that was not about the people they wanted to serve in the first place who were talking about their physical and emotional suffering.
If you do consider bringing an acupuncturist into your location, consider bringing the conversation of the level of licensed healthcare workers because this is what they are. I also recommend that you communicate terms of satisfaction with them that are in phenomena that they can take actions on, avoid stories that add suffering and eliminates possibilities, and remember what is important, the people you wish to serve.
As an acupuncturist, I do not encourage other acupuncturists participating in conversations in terms of scarcity, territorial thinking, or thinking patients belong to you. I do promote conversations that point out what is essential, that reduce upset and open up possibilities, take effective action and establish terms that are phenomena based rather than abstract concepts, establish professional boundaries that foster respect and healing. These are the same conversations we have in the treatment room that are also appropriate for negotiating contracts, maintaining interface with other industries, and supports the integrity of our industry.