Rescued: Small Damn Clinic!

All-  One of the questions we got from the New York workshops was how can one set up a CA practice where the rent is so high?  Lisa and I answered this too ways:  First that's a problem that all acupuncturists face, not just CA acupuncturists.  Second we have Lumiel's clinic in San Rafael to use as a model.  Her clinic is in a very high rent district and if she can do it solo practitioners anywhere can do it.  I wrote about her clinic last September and below I have rescued that post for all to read and ponder.

A problem that many acupunks encounter when visiting Working Class Acupuncture is imagining how they could duplicate its success when they are a solo practitioner with limited funds just getting started. After all WCA is a Big Damn Clinic- just under 4000 square feet in total, just under 3000 square feet in just the treatment area. Acupunks look around for a space in their town and al too often can't imagine how they could afford such a place. Okay. That's fair. But let me tell you about an incredibly cool, incredibly tight clinic. It's the clinic of Lumiel Kim-Hammerich and- get this- the whole thing is 280 square feet. Let me take you on a tour… . . . .

Okay. Lumiel's clinic is in the town of San Rafael- boutique HQ to the world. You cruise down the main street and its one cute little store after another, each of them outdoing the one before in unique and expensive stuff. You get to a corner and see a five story modern glass and steel office building. You walk in this thing and take the elevator to the 5th floor, suite 509 and open the door.

There you see Lumiel!
Behind Lumiel is the entire clinic- all 8' wide by 35' long
The office itself is 8X10 (That's Lumiel talking to Lupine and Lisa.)
My photos don't do justice. In the office every surface is used p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y. Every surface contains information without feeling cluttered.
Here's Thomas with Lumiel's herbs

But let's go back to the treatment areas. As you no doubt figured out the rest of the space is 8'X25'. It contains three treatment areas,partitioned by shoji screens, in succession: two areas with a LaFuma chairs and the last containing a massage table. Each space has a station with acupuncture equipment, all perfectly organized.

Here's a treatment area- and I apologize that the pictures don't convey the spaces adequately
and another
Here's Lisa in a chair with Lumiel
And here's the head of the massage table
What's amazing is how tight this clinic is. Everything fits and at the same time it doesn't feel crowded. Its a very relaxing space and after she converted to this open space she went from three patients a week to 50+. I strongly urge any acupunk in the Bay Area to visit Lumiel's clinic to see what the could do with a tiny amount of space. Its a work of art! It shows what can be done with a Community Acupuncture model.
Oh yes, Lumiel's prices on a wall
See? This is one tight clinic! Nothing sketch about it at all!

Skip Van Meter
Author: Skip Van Meter

Skip is Lead Acupuncturist and Co-Founder of <a href="" target="_blank">Working Class Acupuncture</a> in Portland, Oregon. With the earlier part of his life spent acquiring knowledge about geology, urban planning and teaching high school, he has now been an acupuncturist for 19 years, using about a 1,750,000 needles poking his patients. He likes all things soccer, has three fabulous sons, the best wife in the world, and a great dog and two cool cats.

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  1. Small is Beautiful!

    Thanks for reposting this, Skip!  It is indeed beautiful.  My “small damn clinic” seems big in comparison — maybe 600-700 sq feet.  Two community treatment rooms open on to each other (3 recliners in one, three recliners + one table in the other).  There’s a waiting area with three chairs and a coat rack, an office where folks check in (big enough for two desks and a supply cabinet) and now, after the handy dandy work of a carpenter client, an herb closet has been turned into a tiny private office, big enough for a desk, two chairs, and all the herbs that previously took up the closet.  It is sweet!   Like a tiny office submarine!  A place where I can sit and eat half a sandwich during a shift without every client who walks in looking at me.  Also a place to do intakes, make a private phone call, clean my teeth, whatever!
    As we have gotten busier, people keep saying to me, “you’re going to need a bigger space”.  I just smile to myself, and think, “no, we’re not!”.  You see, I have done the math.  We don’t need more space,   just more hours open.  After all, only one acupuncturist is here at a time.  If we are open 6 days a week, say, from 8am to 7 pm, at the rate of five patients per hour, this small damn clinic can treat 330 patients a week!  That’s right, we can triple our current client load, and never pay more rent or move to bigger digs.  Think about it, New Yorkers, and all others on the verge!  Not more space, just more hours!