Acupuncture: Love It or Give It Back

Acupuncture: Love It or Give It Back
(Or Why Don’t Acupuncturists Actually Believe in Acupuncture?)

Awesome catchy title courtesy of Nick Kurtz

**DISCLAIMER please take this with a grain of salt and attempt to appreciate various sections of misplaced humor**

Ever since Lisa’s keynote address at CANference 2, I have felt like I
was blind and given sight again. (And if you haven’t read it it please
READ it in Lisa blog post. It’s AWESOME!)

Suddenly everywhere I am seeing signs that Acupuncturists don’t really
believe in Acupuncture. I mean just look at the current issue of
“Acupuncture Today.” Articles about medical qi gong, Jing Gui Yao Lue,
Herbal Formulas for Pain, dowsing, light probes, meditation,etc.etc.,
One quote is “The patient had sought both acupuncture and
chiropractic therapy with minimal relief which would last for only 1-2
days.” So “Acupuncture Today” is the monthly mailing that shows you what
products you can buy or stuff you can do when your acupuncture doesn’t

Did you have teachers in acupuncture school that didn’t believe in Acupuncture? I sure did. And I meet CEU providers that also don’t believe in acupuncture. I mean what are we? “Acupuncturists” are just a nice guilible market to sell random stuff to. 

I see discussions comparing community acupuncture to private practice. You know “Community Acupuncture” that’s where they ONLY do acupuncture.

Does anyone believe in acupuncture anymore?

I mean (besides the patients of course since they’re coming in after
reading articles in prevention magazine have how “acupuncture” helps
with back pain).

I mean why did we go get a degree in acupuncture, take acupuncture
boards, NCCAOM certificates, and get licensed as an acupuncturist? (And
continually pay money for CEU’s, to get our certificates, and licenses

Does acupuncture work?

I mean really without herbs, cupping, moxa, tuina, meditation, chi gong,
tai chi, food therapy, lifestyle counseling, etc. etc. 
Look understand what I am saying here. I believe these are all great
things and have their place. But do you believe that acupuncture works
without all this stuff?

Why doesn’t acupuncture work most of the time without all this stuff?
Because patients can’t afford to pay $60-$300 a treatment and can only
come in once a month, so of course you HAVE to give them herbs and

Look we are community acupuncturists and you know what?

We believe in acupuncture.

We see acupuncture working miracles everyday.

People sleeping soundly in recliners in groups with little needles sticking out of them.

Miracles everyday.

If you don’t want acupuncture give it back to us, we love it and believe in it!

Jade Fang
Author: Jade Fang

Opened Jade Community Acupuncture in July of 2009. Loving the CA experience. Love being a part of the community. It's my first time being in business by myself, so writing about the roller coaster ride it is being a first time businesswoman. Have some marketing experience, love to help people with their marketing. Really appreciate the community of support with CAN! Everyone's helped me so much!

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.


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  1. Love Jade

    and we’re never giving her back!

    how many thousands of times have we heard from our patients that when they tried it before, acupuncture helped for a day or two but they couldn’t afford to come enough to get long term relief. it’s heartbreaking. 

    every time I hear that “de-valuing the profession” argument, I just see our patients’ faces and think “No, not de-valuing! RE-valuing!!

    Patients are reclaiming acupuncture one sustainable community clinic at a time!



    Good health is not a measure of adapting to a sick society.

    When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

  2. Do I have to have that grain of salt?

    Because I’d like to take this 100% seriously.

    I can’t count how many times over the last few years — in the context of the FPD debates and other places — I have heard that Chinese medicine is SO MUCH MORE than just acupuncture, that Chinese medicine is a COMPLETE SYSTEM OF MEDICINE (which is why we all deserve to be doctors). Acupuncture is just a modality, and a lowly one at that. 

    For the record, I agree that acupuncture is just a modality, and what’s wrong with lowly? And yeah, OK, Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine. Whatever. I don’t really care, and neither do all the millions of people who can’t afford to use it. What good does all that completeness do them?

    But anyway,  given the prevailing low opinion of acupuncture, you would think the Chinese Medicine Doctors wouldn’t much care what happened to it. But no indeed, it’s like the dog in the manger.  Just sticking needles in people might be beneath contempt, but they’re still going to make sure that PTs can’t do it while practicing trigger point therapy, ADSes can’t do it while treating addiction, and God forbid the chiropractors even think about it.

    And we CA punks are degrading the profession by charging too little for this thing that apparently isn’t worth much anyway.

    Love it or give it back.

  3. Thank you Jade!

    I was so excited to see this blog post.  Mostly because as I was going through school I was incredibly confused about how all the teachers seemed to agree that acupuncture was powerful and amazing, but only two actually used it as the main part of their practice.  One of them was a community acupuncturist and the other a hybrid clinic owner. I am so excited that I have been able to see acupuncture work so much everyday that I don’t just believe that acupuncture works, I know that acupuncture works.  What’s sad is that is not true for all my teachers.  In fact many of them say things like “acupuncture doesn’t work if it’s not coupled with lifestyle advice.”  There was even one woman who would refer out any patient who smoked, drank caffeine, or seemed unwilling to change their diet / lifestyle as she deemed fit.   

    I am so glad to be a community punk!!!  Thanks again for this post Jade … I think it’s been on the tips of our tongues for a while now. 

  4. woo!

    Nice one jade!  This is my expereince too.  Had a teacher in skool say that acupuncture doesn really work unless you dont do life coaching.  I think he meant people wont pay you $80/treatment regularly if you just do acupuncture.

    Good thing my patients can pay $15.  Its good to be a punk.  


  5. just one example for guests on the forum

    Not that I need to convince anyone…but thought I would share…

    Am treating a patient with advanced stomach cancer with lots of pain due to the chemo…the medical staff told him that he could choose to die at home or in the hospital.

    A simple acupuncture treatment brought him 100% pain relief for 8 hours or more. Repeated daily, he now has hope.

    Yes, the ten thousand and counting modalities may indeed have their place, but I am content to focus on practicing acupuncture at an affordable price. Thanks Jade.


    Communichi Acupuncture Clinic, Seattle

  6. Thank god it’s true…

    that acupuncture alone works and works wonders.  I did not do the herbal certification education at Bastyr because, frankly, I could not afford it.  Even with the many, many student loans, I couldn’t do it.  So, in clinic when someone would say that acupuncture alone doesn’t do shit, my heart SANK.  Why the hell am I here, then?  So, I self educated and ended up focusing on western herbs and vitamins and minerals because at least it wasn’t a foreign language, since I was teaching myself.  What a relief it is to have found CA and I don’t have to carry all that around with me; I can just put needles in and get out of the way and let the PATIENT do the work, at their pace, in their way, because they know best.

    I love needles alone.  I love that I don’t have to cringe when I say someone needs a bottle of something…cringing because I know I couldn’t afford it if someone suggested it to me.

  7. I’ve been attempting to explain

    to whoever will listen, lately, how for the longest time we (the US, and scientific medical experts, specifically) doubted acupuncture’s efficacy because we couldn’t replicate Chinese amazing results in our US studies…  but most of them are once-a-week, six-month long trials, while Chinese studies tend to be longer, with more frequent treatments… and we see those awesome results ALL the time in CA clinics because people get the frequency necessary for amazing results… thank Jebus for CA finally validating acu for those people who experienced one-and-done, or minimal effects from acu previously (not to mention practitioners doing that medicine who must feel like they’re fleecing people, or have no soul at all), and for all our patients who love us for what we do… everyday: acupuncture!  the end!

  8. Jade!


    This is exactly what I try to tell people all the time, but in a very clumsy way.

    Thank you so much! You are my inspiration.  

  9. I love community

    I love community acupuncture, but find this post strange. A couple years ago I got really sick, was bed-bound and out of work for six weeks. Frequent acupuncture for six months helped a little, but not enough really get me well as I was only able to work a few hours a week. Thanks God I found an acupuncturist that practices Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional therapy. I was quickly able to return to working. 12 months ago I was talking to a disability lawyer about applying to go on disability, now I”m back to work full-time.

  10. it’s even worse

    It seems like a bunch of acupuncturists go even further and think that acupuncture can actually be harmful.  Don’t use too many needles, don’t cook for too long, and heaven forbid you use the wrong point prescription!  If you needle the back shus too many times you’ll kill a person!  I actually had a former classmate suggest that acupucture could cause cancer if you didn’t have the perfect Zang Fu diagnosis.

    Can you imagine the kind of hell it would be living with that kind of worry about your work?

  11. .

    We got a shit-ton of that at my school.  It was one big part of the superstition mongering that went on. I suppose it also works to reinforce a guru’s egotism when they believe it’s possible to do it wrong. My favorite thing now when patients ask me about how acu works is to tell them a very basic western look, including the fact that in clinical trials even “sham” acu brings about an effect equal to placebo rates.  Everyone smiles when I tell them that.  Needles in the skin = a positive effect. 

  12. superstition mongering

    love this phrase.  so effing accurate…  guru ego building and superstition mongering…