for new practitioners who have considered boutiques and hybrids and fpds when acupuncture is enuf*

Well folks, I’m about three weeks into opening my second Community Acupuncture clinic, and it occurred to me that – given that there are already two CA clinics in the Detroit Metro area (hi Darlene and Linda!), and that there are so few other acupuncturists practicing here, CA will pretty much be the way acupuncture is around here.  Cool, huh?  Okay, it turns out that CA is the probably the way most acupuncture treatments are given in this country already.  But three CA clinics in a metropolitan area of over five million people is not going to be enough!  Where are we going to get qualified acupuncturists to work with us when we get busier?  And who are our patients going to refer their friends and family in Gary and Iowa City and Dubuque and Grand Rapids and Atlanta to?  Most of the country is still wide, wide open for acupuncture. 

Young acupunks: your country needs you.  You have a skill, presumably you want to use it (and develop it).  Also, you want to be able to eat.  People with “normal” skills can’t find work right now; you’re on your own.  Well, okay, you have me (and CAN, which is an incredible resource).  And if an anti-nationalist, anti-capitalist, quasi-anarchist like me is sitting here telling you to start a business for the good of your country, you better listen.  But actually, don’t do it for your country, don’t even do it for your future patients – don’t do anyone any favors.  Do it because you love acupuncture, and want to do lots of it.  Do it because you are a freak and you love that feeling of “a fish on the line.”  Do it because you have the rare opportunity to make a living doing something you love, something that involves all of the aspects of the Heart: manual, mental, emotional.  Do it because acupuncture is enough, and “enoughness” is a virtue tailor-made for this time of economic and environmental crisis. 

“But I’m afraid!” you say.  Well, you’re in good company.  Lots of people are freaked out right now, myself included.  I feel fear, and also great determination: must be Water season.  I’m sure most other Community Acupuncturists have experienced fear during their startup phase.  Maybe you’re afraid to join this movement because CANers are infamously angry.  Sometimes just cranky, sometimes filled with righteous fury.  Other times we are grieving, thoughtful, joyful, even exuberant!  Normal, right?  So feel your feelings, don’t get stuck, and don’t let fear be the only voice you listen to. 

After moving across the country, I wasn’t sure I had the energy to start over with another clinic right away – but within a few weeks I was scouting for spaces.  Why?  Well, partly because I need to eat.  But also because this style of practice has made me fall in love with my work.  Sure, I always liked doing acupuncture; I was drawn to theory; I loved herbs, too.   But it was doing lots of acupuncture in a CA clinic that made me really want to be an acupuncturist.  The elegance and fundamental values of the CA model struck a deep chord in me, but it still took a leap of faith to implement it (that, and a sense that it was impossible to carry on practicing the way I had been trained).  If you suspect that you might feel the same, and if you think enoughness is an important value, then get ready.  Winter is here, so bank your fires and make your plans for Spring.  Dubuque needs you–and you need Dubuque.

*(with apologies to Ntozake Shange)

Author: noraneedles

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  1. Great entry, Nora!

     Great post – so good of you to share your experience and perspective.  It’s great that you were able to muster up the effort, get motivated and start all over again in a new place – certainly not a small task and not for the fearful – so excellent – you did it – and others can, too!

    Justine Deutsch, Lic. Ac., Acupuncture Together

  2. thanks, Nora

    “But it was doing lots of acupuncture in a CA clinic that made me really
    want to be an acupuncturist.  The elegance and fundamental values of
    the CA model struck a deep chord in me, but it still took a leap of
    faith to implement it”

     It’s kind of like in Indiana Jones 3 when he crosses the invisible bridge, putting one foot out with his eyes closed, a bottomless abyss seperating him from the holy grail.  

    Join CAN, young acupunks.


  3. Bastante!

    ENOUGH!  what a lovely salvo to our recent economic lessons, 

    its the measure of necessary income,  

    such the expression of the justified, 

    and the classic approach and end to a treatment .




    (por favor, que es fpds?) 

  4. Texas needs you, too

    …and so far no CAN member clinic that I know of in either Dallas/Fort Worth or Houston.  Major metropolitan areas with lots of need!  Come on down, the weather’s fine!


  5. Nice blog, Nora. The concept

    Nice blog, Nora. The concept of enoughness that you bring up is spot-on.

    Darlene Berger

    Community Health Acupuncture Center

    801 Livernois, Ferndale, MI 48220


  6. Thanks Nora

    You are so right.  Sometimes I start beating myself up over all the things I don’t know.  It’s true, I have a lot to learn, but I have to remind myself that what I do know is enough to make a major difference in the lives of my patients and myself.