The Seven Habits of Highly Attractive Community Acupunks

1.  Don’t obsessively check your email during your shift.  This is especially true if you are in the middle of some kind of custody battle and you are looking for emails from lawyers or soon to be ex-spouses.  You are just asking for trouble.  You know the chances of good news are slim.  Keep your bad mood where it belongs:  at home, not at the clinic.  Before you know it you will find yourself telling all late patients to reschedule instead of fitting them in like you know Miriam Lee would. 

2.  Don’t be having some ongoing text message communique with anyone during your shift.  This is not the time for flirting!  How can you in good conscience tell your patients to lose the cell phone for an hour when you can’t even go ten minutes without checking for messages?  And besides, you know you have charting to do. 

3.  Don’t start crying when your patients loudly and violently flinch away from your needle in pain, knocking your glasses off and waking up the entire room in the process.  Pick up the specs and put on your best game face.  This is not about you, remember? 

4.  Do not judge your partner for doing secret boutique-style house call treatments on his days off.  After all, it’s not like he’s on the Board of CAN or anything!

5.  DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BLOCK OFF TIME SLOTS IN APPOINTMENTQUEST.  Just ask Skip if you don’t believe me.  How are you supposed to attract patients if you’re really thinking that you’re gonna need a ten minute break on Thursday at 4:20?  Replenish yourself on your own time.  Unless your clinic is closed or you just started working at someone else’s CAP, you should be as open for business as possible.  You know who you are. 

6.  Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Use the rolling stool!!  WCA uses them, I use them, and you will attract patients left and right, rolling around on that thing.   Plus, it will save your back.  I know someone who doesn’t use his, and let me tell you, he is in all kinds of pain, (though I am open to the possibility that there is no correlation). 

7.  Do not write your blog post during your shift!  You have one patient coming in the door every ten minutes.  This is more than any acupuncture student has ever dreamed they could ever begin to be able to handle.  Ever.  Six patients an hour?  Checking for email and text messages?  And writing a blog post, without blocking off time slots on appointmentquest?  No wonder your patients keep calling to tell you that they are “stuck in traffic.” 

OK, someone just sat down in a recliner so I’ll end this one. 

p.s.  Korben, just go ahead and delete this if you decide it’s irreverent.  I know I said I would run it by you but I had to post it while I still had the nerve. 

Author: ellengrover

is a punk at Philadelphia Community Acupuncture and POCA's current membership coordinator. Email her at

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  1. I shouldn’t have implied

    I shouldn’t have implied that he’s making a habit of it – to be fair to Korben, the house call situation was a singular event that I exaggerated here for fun Laughing

  2. This is too funny.

    I would like to add:
    * Don’t hold extra needles in your mouth.
    * Don’t tell your patients you’ll try something else “if this doesn’t work.”

  3. Ellen, I love it!

    One sure way to fix all these problems – don’t have your clinic computer on line!! No solution for those of you with on line scheduling, but it works for me!!!

  4.  From my experience, I will

     From my experience, I will add:

    8. Make sure that you log out of your Facebook account when checking it between patients.  Otherwise, your clinic partner will think it’s her account and start making out of character comments during her break!




    Circle Community Acupuncture

    San Francisco

  5. I broke out in a sweat just

    I broke out in a sweat just thinking about not having my computer online.  Something inside me screamed Nooooooo!  It’s possible I might need that addiction protocol.  

  6. not being on line

    I was addicted to reading CAN inbetween patients in the “early” days.  Even CAN can be a distraction.  On days when I leave the lap top at home to ride my bike to the clinic, it’s actually better.  I can study Dr. Tan inbetween patients.  (AND do charting, off course)

     Thanks, I had the reminder again yesterday, that I too need to set my cell phone to silence.

  7. 7 Habits of Substantially Improving CA Patients…

     Your post got me thinking…

    Seems to me there are, quite likely, 7 habits of the substantially improving patients as well…

    1) Turn off the cell phone before settling into your treatment, so that you don’t disturb others or disturb yourself, or get yourself worrying about the fact that you’re pinned down and your phone is sitting under your chair in your bag with the ringer on accidentally and could ring at any minute, while your other needled friends are quietly snoozing away…

    2) Give yourself ample time to enjoy and relax in the treatment.  If you have plans a half hour from the start, or have to dash out the door to check the parking meter, or start worrying about how much you have to get back to the office or library, or brought your kid to sit in the waiting area and are concerned about him/her – forget it… 

    3) Get treated frequently and regularly as your acupuncturist suggests.

    4) Pay what you’re comfortable paying so you can do #3.

    5) Do your homework, if you are given it.  That means if you have shoulder pain, don’t go out and practice serving the ball for 3 hours the day after your treatment just because it’s feeling better… keep resting it and using it moderately so it has time to heal!

    6) Shut your eyes, relax, fall asleep if you can… seems that a lot of the people who really get into it and let go get the most out of it.

    7) Stay in the chair and don’t move… if you need your acupunk, find a way to signal them.  Attempting to get up and walk across the room while needles are in is a bad idea, as is deciding to take needles out by yourself, or leaving needles in and reaching down to fish through your bag, etc.  “It hurts when I move!” is one of the most common complaints we acupunks hear – how profound… 

    Justine Deutsch, Lic. Ac., Acupuncture Together