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Healthcare is a verb November 5, 2014

Recently, a patient commented that she didn’t know we offered free acupuncture to veterans every Thursday evening (this past week, the News-Journal recognized our free offering, so the word is out). It makes sense that my patient wouldn’t have known this as we don’t advertise it to the general public, only to organizations and agencies that service veterans.

Nevertheless, my first reaction was sadness and guilt.

Our paying patients are a large part of the reason why we are able to offer this free service to veterans. In other words, a portion of every patient’s payment goes toward providing a local veteran with free acupuncture every week.

Free Veteran’s Acupuncture Clinic on Thursday evenings. Photo credit: Nigel Williams, The News-Journal

This is huge, and it’s a glaring omission in our description of what you are getting when you make the decision to come to us for an acupuncture treatment. When new patients call our office to inquire about our services, most of that time is spent exchanging discussion about acupuncture, herbs, symptoms, rates and appointment availability. Some people want to know exactly how acupuncture works and how long it will take to see an improvement in symptoms. We are well-versed at fielding these questions, but we are leaving out some of the most important information.

So what exactly are you getting when you come to us for treatment of your health issues?

1) Chinese medicine. Ok, let’s get really basic for a minute and not avoid the obvious. We do a thorough health history review before offering acupuncture, herbs, massage, cupping, and/or moxibustion. We think you know that already. Insomuch as this is what we do, we expect that you will experience a change in symptoms and subsequently, a better quality of life.

2) Space & support. I want to really hammer this one home because, in my opinion, this holds quite a bit of value.

That space is not linear and is sometimes less of a brisk walk and more of a journey. Unlike some journeys, good health does not have a destination in that once you reach it you can kick back and relax. It is an ever-expanding, changing, ebbing and flowing force of nature. As your healthcare provider, we are 100% with you on this journey to celebrate the successes and provide support and encouragement through the difficult or stagnant portions. Within this journey, there is no such thing as failure, only opportunities for each of us to learn more about you.

I'm not telling you it's going to be easy....I'm talling you it's going to be worth it

Quote by Art Williams

Honestly, I don’t know if your low back pain is going to go away after one treatment or six, but when you bend over pain free to pick up your dog for the first time in 6 months after coming to see us, you’d better believe that I’m doing back-flips.

Our face-to-face time with patients during follow-up visits is only an hour, but we are always in contact with those who need us throughout the week via phone or email. It means a lot to us when our patients give us updates within a few days of their most recent treatment, regardless of whether or not they have “good” news to report. If our patients have questions or concerns, we want to address them right away, not during the next scheduled treatment session. Healthcare is a verb: our involvement with you and our attention to your health concerns does not begin and end with your scheduled appointment in our office.

3) Paying it forward. What’s better than getting rid of your chronic headaches? How about getting rid of your chronic headaches and helping a local veteran do the same. Our paying patients enable us to provide a free service to veterans every week and we are ashamed that we haven’t been more clear about that. Thank you! Thank you! A million times, thank you!
If you are a current patient, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your healing journey, however celebratory or treacherous it may be. We signed up to do this and will always show up for you. We hope you feel that.

If you are considering becoming a patient, call us or stop by the clinic when we’re in-office to get to know us and feel out our clinic space. Think about it this way: if you’re making the decision to drive across the country, you want to make sure that your car is comfortable and trustworthy, right?

Rest assured, if you get lost on the journey, we’ll offer you a map. And if you discover something new and wonderful on this incredible voyage, we will exhale with you and take your picture.

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