I’ve been in The Profession since the mid-90’s, and for several years during that time I used to belong to another acupuncture organization. I will not name this organization because I am no longer a member, and the last time I did name it in a public post I got a nasty message from someone who holds a leadership position in the organization’s US branches, telling me not to mention the name.
This organization is headquartered in a large East Asian city, one with many acupuncturists. It was originally started by a handful of people. It had, by the time I was involved, about 60 branches in its home country, and a few more overseas. There was an official curriculum adopted by the leadership to teach newcomers the best way in which to do the style of acupuncture which was promoted by the organization. The way in which the curriculum was developed was quite interesting and fairly rigorous. As memory serves, it went something like this: Each branch would hold meetings, and share information with one another. Let’s say a certain member in Branch C got fantastic results using a particular technique. The head of Branch C would report back to HQ about this promising technique, and HQ would then contact branches F, G and H to try out the technique. If F, G and H got similar results, more branches would be encouraged to try it. Then, at a general meeting, there would be some debate on whether to include this fantastic technique in the organization’s teaching curriculum. If it made the cut, it would become an official technique of this East Asian acupuncture organization.
Members were, of course, free to treat however they felt best. But nothing was included in the official curriculum unless it had been thoroughly tested across a number of branches in a number of different locations for a sufficient period of time, and had been found to yield dependable, reproducible results. Thus this organization attracted a lot of scholarly, research-oriented Western practitioners who appreciated this kind of rigorous approach.
POCA is headquartered in a medium sized city, one with many acupuncturists. It was started as the Community Acupuncture Network by a handful of people, and has grown to over 200 member clinics. It has an official practice model adopted by the leadership to teach newcomers the best way in which to do the type of acupuncture which is promoted by the organization. This practice model has been developed over time by members who have shared their best practices with other members, who then try them out and report back to the general membership about their experience. If a certain practice is found to be promising, it may be adopted as an accepted part of the practice model. But nothing is included in the official curriculum unless it has been thoroughly tested across a number of clinics in a number of different locations for a sufficient period of time, and has been found to yield dependable, reproducible results.
And, unlike almost any other acupuncture org, POCA collects data, compiles it and reports back to the membership. For example we found that last year, member clinics did over 750,000 treatments using the practice model for an estimated $11 million worth of business. https://www.pocacoop.com/prick-prod-provoke/post/survey-says-750k-treatments-in-2012/ So we know from hard numbers, based on real research, that the practice model is working.
Any acupuncturists looking to join an organization which promotes co-operation, sharing of experience and a data-driven, reproducible, sustainable practice model? You don’t need to travel to a large East Asian city; you can find one right here in North America: the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture.
Skeptics in the acupuncture community say that CA clinics can’t be successful. A variety of reasons are cited – prices too low, patients want one-on-one attention and wouldn’t like treatments in a room with other people, Dr.