Here we are, four years and 2.7 months
into the community acupuncture experience at my Cape Cod clinic, and I am
noticing some changes I thought I would report.
My pre-CA practice was
mostly retirees, of the middle class and upper middle class income variety.
Others would wander in from time to time (the odd yoga teacher or realtor) but
unless they had pretty deep pockets, they couldn’t come often or stay for
Even a year into my community conversion, I was still, as one of my
associates described it, offering “working class rates to middle class
patients”. But hey, they kept coming in, and sometimes they even brought in a
spouse or other family member, so I figured I was on the right
What I see happening now is a gradual increase in blue collar
folks. More home health aids, supermarket employees, police and fire department
workers, landscapers, restaurant workers and teachers’ aids. I didn’t know how
to reach these people, and in the early years I wrung my hands over how to make
the connection and get the word out, but somehow time has done what my marketing
strategies could not.
This is making my office more colorful as well. I
have more people of color sitting in my chairs –hooray! Because these working
folks are younger than my previous client base, I also see a lot more tattoos
— four out of 8 chairs had prominently tattooed folks in them the other week.
People with blue collar jobs in our communities are often putting their
bodies on the line each time they go to work. They do the most physical, least
forgiving jobs, work that over a lifetime, really takes a toll on the joints,
tendons, muscles and bones. Whether they be fishermen and masons or house
cleaners and manicurists, they often live with the physical consequences of this
work the rest of their lives. My clinics — our clinics — can help them heal,
help them stay strong, ease their pain and otherwise make their lives a little,
sometimes a lot, better.
That makes me happy. I still see plenty of
retirees, elders, summer home owners and the like, but the presence of
affordable acupuncture is slowly seeping in to the working community on Cape
Cod, and turning my clinic a lovely shade of blue.