When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Liu has been trained extensively in her homeland of China and is best known for studying under highly regarded Dr. Shi Xue Min. Liu's patients often wait up to three months to book an appointment with her due to her packed schedule.
Like many practitioners, she began with very little resources but eventually built a bustling practice by giving her patients undivided attention and providing them with a variety of effective healing techniques. Every year Liu makes an effort to go back to the homeland to get trained in the latest techniques that will help her patients reach their optimum level of wellness. She credits her ongoing success to hard work and being consistent. Liu took time out to talk to Acupuncture Today about making it on her own and reaching a level of success that has allowed her to make bigger goals for herself in the future.
AT: Tell us about going from an acupuncture graduate to being a successful business owner. What are some of the important steps you took?
I took a lot of business classes as well as speaking with successful business owners and visited a lot of successful clinics as a patient. I took many small classes such as; business management, how to use other people's money to make money, the most important one is personal growth. Being mentally and spiritually healthy is very important.
AT: What are some of the valuable lessons you learned in China that have helped you succeed in the United States with your practice?
Teamwork, everyone in China all work well together. One person may have the job position for the rest of their life, but along with their co-workers they work well together as a family. They communicate and express what needs to be done. People go out of their way to help one another whether it's their co-worker or patient.
AT: What advice would you give to those who have just graduated from acupuncture school?
Be small but be big. Being small means being humble and down to earth, and always be open to learning. I always believe that every single acupuncturist is my teacher. I can always learn something from them and it will never end. I am a student for life. Being big means be confident to your patient - always act like your sure about what you're doing and to give the patient peace of mind. If in you don't know what you're doing, you can always take time to study and ask others their opinion.
AT: As an acupuncturist, what is the most important business lesson you have learned?
Trust people that you hire, but you must have legal document or contract to protect yourself and your business. Really take time to ensure before you sign a long term contract with your landlord, employees and etc. Always consult with a professional.
AT: What are some of the Traditional Chinese Medicine principles you personally follow to achieve success?
I use all of the Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. They were filtered down through thousands of years of use, therefore I believe they work. So I apply them all into not only my patient practice, but also my business management as well as my personal life.
AT: As an acupuncture business owner what have been some of the mistakes you have learned from?
The few mistakes I made in the last 15 years are that I did not take my time and I was too naïve.
AT: How do you ensure your patients remain satisfied with their treatments?
I always ask the patient what their progress is like. If the patient didn't come back after one or two treatments, I would like to call them to make sure that they are okay or if they are not making any progress. The ones that don't make progress, I always convince them to come back to try something new, there are very few throughout the years that has no faith, but I offer them complimentary treatment. The reason why I do that is because that offers myself good study and research opportunity even if you give them a complimentary treatment, but you gain so much for the future being successful to help heal other patients. My motto is; keep on trying there is a solution for everything.
AT: What do you think is the most important business lesson most acupuncturists need to learn early on in their careers?
Most practitioners try to open their own business, but in reality they need the experience and ask why is one person successful while another has failed. Dedicate and make a commitment to help the successful business owner for a period of time. This way you create a great opportunity for yourself to study professionally and watch how they run their business. Be up front, don't try to go to a place where you're going to open your practice, go to a different part of the city so there is no conflict.
AT: What tips would you give a new acupuncturist trying to build their practice and get into their own business venture?
If they try to open their own practice, be sure they have business management skills. If not, hire a business consultant by the hour. In the acupuncture practice, they better be sure that they have a solid foundation and understand Western diagnosis. In the U.S., people believe acupuncture treats everything. They will tell you their problems from head to toe, as opposed to Western medicine where they will see different specialists. I suggest the recently graduated acupuncturist seek out apprenticeships and not be afraid of establishing a relationship with a mentor. Remember, everyone can be your teacher.
Do you have a story of success you would like to share with us? Email Senior Associate Editor Brenda Duran at