Yesterday half of my patients were men.  Black, white, and Latino men.  Working class, middle class, and professional men.  Young men and older men.  None of them are athletes; they aren’t coming in because we advertise “sports medicine.”  They were coming to manage everyday stress, serious chronic illness, acute grief, chronic pain, and the pain of work-related injuries, through which they continue to work, every day.  While I think our female patients bring male relatives more often than the reverse (the night before I treated two teenaged boys, one of whom came with his sister, and the other with his mother – all four getting treated side by side in the same room), these men were mostly self-referring (one was actually referred by his son).  And this shift was not unusual: over a third of the treatments we gave this past week were to men or boys; and I’ve had shifts where my patients were predominantly men.

What’s kind of interesting to me about this is that the two acupuncturists at our clinic are women.  We relate easily to women, and vice-versa.  And in the U.S. women are more likely than men to try acupuncture, or to seek medical care in general.  Acupuncture is frequently marketed toward women: for gynecological issues, (female) infertility–and let’s not forget cosmetic acupuncture.  Acupuncture websites often feature pictures of the needled-up naked backs of thin, toned white ladies.  Yet, in the first half of last year, males accounted for about 33% of our new patients; in the second half, they accounted for 44% of our new patients.   This is without us doing any particular marketing aimed at attracting men; this is just us making a modest effort to not do things that would *alienate* men.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m delighted to treat women.  We treat women for all the things mentioned in the first paragraph, as well as for all kinds of female-body-specific stuff.  But I really like treating men and boys as well.  Not to put too much on it, but considering that men are statistically more likely than women to kill themselves or others, I feel like offering an affordable side-effect-free form of stress relief can only be a good thing (what’s good for the ganders, in this case, being good for the geese).  But mostly I like the feeling that we’re getting closer to treating whole communities: women, men, non-gender-identified people, citizens and non-citizens, people of all ages.  

How about your clinic?  What percentage of your patients are male?  Do those of you who have converted to CA style from “boutique” style practice treat more men than you used to? 

ETA:  EVERYONE WHO’S ON THE Locate-A-Clinic, PLEASE FILL OUT THE ANNUAL SURVEY!!!  Whether you’re delighted or worried about your numbers, your info will help us figure out how to increase everyone’s success.  And Justine really worked her butt off to make it much easier to do this year – even Clayton (who had to convert his numbers from Canadian $) says it’s quick and painless!   So go do it now!  One page, 5 minutes!  Go!

Author: noraneedles

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  1. Very cool post

    I remember Skip and/or Lisa writing years back they had the suspicion more men are treated in a CA setting vs. private-room. I can say this is my experience as a CA punk for almost 4 years after private-rooming for 7.

    A quick look at main complaints for our current group of guys doesn’t look a whole lot different from the ladies: anxiety & insomnia (including tapering off of benzodiazepines), anthritis/tendonitis/bursitis, headaches, asthma/COPD, poor circulation, neuropathies of various locations, etc.

    It’s also interesting to see the gender breakdown for each of our punks. With me being the lone male punk, sometimes I think I end up seeing proportionally more women, and my female comrades, more men…

  2. I was just thinking about

    I was just thinking about this the other day when I noticed almost every chair had a man in it, from the start of my clinic I have had around 30% or more of men as regulars.  I think a CAP feels like practical medical treatment for real problems since we tend to strip away all the frivolous BS, while many BA clinics feel like “new age pampering” which most men have no interest in.  I’m not saying BA clinics don’t do real medicine, I know they do, but there is also a perception out there that expensive private room acupuncture is a spa like service, many people feel uncomfortable with that. 

  3. Numbers

    First of all, thank you Clayton for laboriously making the conversion to our US $ system.

    Second of all: this is a great blog Nora.  We did some trending of our active patients based on Skip’s post and found that about 26% of them are male.  Ditto what Andy said about the complaints they’re presenting with: insomnia, stress, headaches, asthma, allergies, etc.  I have a truck driver who’s been coming in for “wellness” regularly for over two years now. 

    Thanks for starting this discussion! 

  4. estimated numbers

    We don’t track gender stats on our scheduling software, so I can’t easily figure out the percentage of men at our clinic.  So, I looked at the schedule this month and took a random sampling of 7 days.  From that sample, 34% were male (including FTM). Chief complaints ran the gamut from anxiety/stress to diabetic neuropathy to insomnia to low back pain.

    David L f’ing Ac (my earned title)

  5. We’re at 29%

    I just looked over our patient roster from the beginning of the year until today, and we’re at 29% guys. As a newer clinic, I’m hoping that our demographic continues to diversify to reflect the mix of genders, races, political leanings, and income levels in our city. My gut sense is that we’re still a bit skewed towards a traditional acupuncture market of upper-middle class, white, left-leaning women.


    – Michelle Faucher, Chico Community Acupuncture

  6. Same here.

    For the past year, I’ve been getting comments occasionally from female patients who say, “You’ve been getting a lot of men in here, haven’t you?”  And I have to say, some weeks it’s about 50%!  I started noticing the trend shift about 3 years ago.  Now THEY are the ones who tell me they’re trying to get their girlfriend/wife to come in, too!

    For what it’s worth, some of them are also the ones who schedule last and then hang around to chat as I’m trying to close down, more often than the femmes.  (We could do a thread on this too!)