There is an old expression that the season of spring comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Now, I have heard this said many times through the years, just as you probably have. Even when I was an elementary school teacher early on in my career, I endeavored to explain this saying to children in my class.
It was not until last night, when I listened to an eloquent explanation of Classical Five-Element acupuncture theory and practice presented by Neil R. Gumenick, LAc, that this saying had true meaning to me.
He explained that spring comes in with a force: fast, hard and bursting forth with bright energy. As spring is my most favorite time of the year, I listened intently. I know that Oriental medicine is closely connected to the seasons throughout the year. We do not want to slight the three other seasons because each has its role and responsibility in our daily lives. This interdependence between humans and nature is an amazing phenomenon.
We are hearing so much today about our environmental responsibility. Nature supports us with water, air, food and shelter. In turn, we must take care of nature. Let us take part in bursting forth into spring by resolving to find new vigor and energy to share with the public about the healing benefits found in Oriental medicine. Resolve to look for opportunities to share your special message about health and wellness with everyone you know and meet on a daily basis. Become part of a national acupuncture outreach project. Let this become our community service project. This reaches beyond advertising, marketing and public relations. It touches people in all walks of life of all ages - young and old, children and seniors, healthy and sick.
Oriental medicine helps to maintain a strong body and keep a disease from getting worse. It reduces pain, inflammation and the need for medication, and increases blood flow. It can help people reach and maintain a new level of health.
There are approximately 20,000 licensed or certified acupuncturists in the United States today. With the population being more than 300 million, this could average to more than 150,000 potential patients for each of us to reach. This sounds like an enormous task. Yes, it is. Now is the time and we must start somewhere. This is where a national acupuncture outreach program becomes important.
Remember that this is a community-service project. Now is the time to create a "buzz" about acupuncture and Oriental medicine. How do we get started? Here a few suggestions:
Put 10 of your business cards in your pocket daily. Give them all out before you go home. Be consistent; do it every day.
Choose one day each week and give every patient who comes through your office four business cards. Do this on the same day every week. Call it "Four-Card Friday," as an example.
Choose a non-technical book about acupuncture and give it to every new patient and everyone you meet. This also could include a brochure that explains acupuncture in very simple terms.
Present a talk to a group in your community. If you need an outline for a short informative talk, there are plenty of resources available on the Internet to get you started.
Keep a health brochure rack with brochures on numerous conditions on your front desk and in every treatment room. You can find various companies through an Internet search that offer brochures.
Become part of your community. Take an active role in the town or city in which you practice. Get involved with Little League sports teams. Sponsor an event of community importance or participate in the local farmers' market or health fair.
Talk about what this medicine can do for people, not just about what acupuncture can do for them.
I believe now is the time to begin to claim the market share that this medicine deserves. There are other professions that want to infringe on what we do. As acupuncturists, we must stand up and protect the territory. Our educational training encompasses anywhere from 2,100 to 3,000 hours, far more than any other profession receives in this medicine, plus there is a requirement of continuing education for both national certification and state licensure.
Yes, this profession is young in this country, but its roots are deep and it has stood the test of time. Together, we can do this.
Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.