I remember back when I was studying at the New England School of Acupuncture, one of my teachers drew on the analogy of the body as a garden. They said the future health and well-being of our patients should be cultivated and supported just as a master gardener would cultivate and support their garden.
Both the gardener and the acupuncturist are seeking the same outcome, a healthy and fruitful crop. But, in our case, our crops represent the health of our patients.
This concept is not so new, but explaining it to our patients is.
Here are a few simple ways to plant the seeds of health within the fertile soil of your patient's mind.
Initial contact is important. From the very moment a new patient walks through your doors, you should be imprinting health and well-being on them. You can do this in a variety of ways. Try using posters, positive affirmations about health, healthy magazines, good office feng shui, and most of all, a simple, succinct conversation that explains what acupuncture is, what you do and how you do it.
The way we can water our patients is by sprinkling little tidbits during treatments. Call these your talking points. Talking points pique a curiosity. They help stir up awareness and further educate our patients. Here are a few ideas – as your patient is lying on the table, you can ask them what they think Qi is, or Jing, or Shen. You can also ask them if they think the seasons affect their health, and then tell them about the seasonal changes. Acupuncture is loaded with various points to talk about – wind, damp, 5-Elements, Ashi points, acupuncture point names, etc. Look at it as a way to create an awe about the depth of this medicine. Don’t let your table lay silent, stir up the Qi of their minds.
After a series of visits, make sure you perform a reevaluation. Go back over the notes from your previous visits and discuss with your patients what has changed for them. It is all too easy to forget about symptoms and signs when they are reduced or removed. A reevaluation will shed light on the care they have received from you. In this way, your patients will be able to truly see the benefits of your care, simply by acknowledging how things have changed. This is also a great time to ask for referrals, especially if they have improved greatly while under your care.
You can also share our new patient brochure with your patients, “Your Body is a Garden”.
The concept of the body as a garden offers an excellent illustration of the holistic theories behind Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. Now you can easily and effectively share this concept with your patients. "Your Body is a Garden" brochure creates a foundation for your patients to grasp the fundamental principles of TCM, and incorporate them into their daily lives, in order to achieve health and wellness. This brochure is colorful, easy to read and to-the-point.
This brochure will create awareness and understanding that true health needs to be cultivated and nurtured in order to reap the bountiful harvest of health. It is the perfect brochure to hand out after their fourth visit, or just before you perform your reevaluation. As it plants the seeds of continued care that aim at cultivating health.
Be well, and happy gardening!
Jeffrey Grossman, EAMP
"Treat every patient like a garden and your practice will bloom"