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!