Their model, our medicine…

I recently had the opportunity to do a presentation/demonstration at a doctor’s office here in Portland. I really enjoying doing these types of presentations. This is a private practice of about 12 doctors. Doctors have such hectic schedules that the easiest way to get a few minutes of their time is to take them to lunch….or in this case, bring them pizza. Doctors are very familiar with the pharmaceutical representatives coming to see them with the latest and greatest. Pharmaceutical reps bring them stuff; this is the western model. Happily we have all utilized the community model that WCA created, why not use other existing models out there?

Needles and cotton balls, biohazard container, water-less hand cleaner, brochures and cards and my plastic acupuncture model man with the meridians. (Put together a traveling bag for your acupuncture excursions) After a brief introduction about acupuncture as well as community acupuncture I answered a few questions before offering treatments.

Many were familiar, others have had it in the past, but all were receptive. The first doctor who I treated for neck pain had the perfect reaction as if I had paid her to act the part of the patient with instant relief. People came in small waves as the word in the office spread about acupuncture needles. (I primarily used scalp points.)

Later one of the nurses commented to me how relaxed the atmosphere of the normally busy conference room had become. When pharmaceutical reps visit one of the nurses said they come for the food and run.…..but this was different, this was interesting The caption could read East invades West with Acu-stoned Doctors…

I wonder how many practitioners have patients come for acupuncture treatment only after everything else has failed to help them? I believe this to be a common experience among all of us. What better way then to build relationships with doctors who have patients that we can help? Why not use the pharmaceutical model’s strategy for forces of good?

In my experience the thing you have to remember with marketing is that it takes time. It may be a year before someone will come see you after doing a presentation. I believe just the act of getting out there in different venues offering sample acupuncture treatments generates energy that eventually finds its way back to your clinic. Today a couple weeks after my presentation, one of the nurses from my presentation brought her dad in to our clinic for his first acupuncture treatment.

So my recommendation is to start calling doctors offices in your area and find out about hosting lunch for them and doing a presentation / demonstration at their office.

Building relationships is crucial to the growth of the practice. Working with doctors is just another great way to spread the message of acupuncture (and change the world).

Acupuncture has much to complement a western medicine practice. Help doctors manage their stress as well as their patients and maybe we really can change the world.

Author: Joseph

Moved to Portland from Albuquerque, New Mexico where I graduated from Southwest Acupuncture College in August 2006. Originally I co-founded Brooklyn Community Acupuncture and in May 2009 I joined forces with Working Class Acupuncture to open their second location. Prior to my studies in acupuncture I pursued the fine arts as a sculptor.

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  1. BCA: that’s a really great

    BCA: that’s a really great idea. I’ve been wondering how to approach doctors as referral partners, and you have provided a brilliant solution! I have been traveling to LBN meetings with my little acu travel kit, and have had the opportunity to demonstrate on a couple of people. I think you’re right that we need to be patient (not a strength for me!)–it may take months before a new patient its referred after reaching out like this to anyone. 

    Darlene Berger

    Community Health Acupuncture Center

    801 Livernois, Ferndale, MI 48220


  2. Funny Enough…


    …just today I experienced an example of delayed marketing success, as Joseph described.

    Last winter I purchased a large washer & dryer for the clinic from a local Best Buy (by the way, the best purchase I’ve made in a while…). The man who helped me pick out the machines and I struck up conversation.  Long story short, I gave him a card and flyer for the clinic after he mentioned his wife loves acupuncture.

    Fast forward to today, when a lovely woman whose been treating here for a week or so happens to mention she was referred here by her friend who works at Best Buy – of course the same man, named Ray.

    I had completely forgotten about Ray (Lemonheads fans anywhere?) and here that friendly exchange comes to provide a third link at an unexpected time.

    Nice lesson Joseph – thanks.