I have always been a big fan of the idea that many small changes yield big results. It’s a philosophy I discuss with my patients on a daily basis. I don’t believe that there is one single reason that a person gets sick; it’s more like a perfect storm of factors that bring most patients to my door. Likewise, it is usually not one single remedy that makes them better. It is a combination of small things like acupuncture combined with herbs, better sleep, stress reduction, dietary changes, and any other tweaks that I think will help, that sets a patient on the road to healing.
Acupuncture itself is a combination of small needle pricks to create greater change. In fact, the term acupuncture has been co-opted by other professionals, including city planners. They have coined the phrase urban acupuncture as a philosophy of incorporating many small changes within a city to effect greater results.
Lately, I have been doing a little acupuncture on my own acupuncture practice. I have made a couple of small changes that have made a difference in my patient numbers and my own enjoyment. Among them:
-About 18 months ago, I began confirming my patients’ appointments for the following day. For so many years, I was against it–my thinking was that my patients saw the importance of their time with me and would show up for their appointment. The reality is that people are busy, their schedule gets mixed up, and sometimes they flat out forget. Confirming my appointments the day prior has reduced my no shows to…uh, zero.
-I actually began to work less. That’s right, I made myself less available by one day a week. The surprising result was that I got busier. My patients found that they had to book ahead to get into see me at the time they wanted. I actually started seeing more patients each week by working one day less.
-I mixed things up. I very quickly got bored with working less. The reality is that if I have to get up in the morning and do something, I choose acupuncture. So, rather than add a day back in at my own clinic, I began treating patients on that free day at a very lovely, integrative, high-end health club. I am treating a different clientele in a different space, and it keeps life interesting, it keeps things fresh, and it keeps me on my toes.
-I became more focused on acupuncture and got help with some of the other details. For my practice partner, help came in the form of someone doing her payroll. For me, it was getting help with our online presence. I like to write about Chinese medicine and health, and continue to do so, but I got some help with social media. I still post to facebook, twitter, and Google+, but trying to keep up with it daily was beyond me. If you don’t have the time or don’t love doing something, hire an expert and free up your time for the stuff you do love.
It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I used to think that it would take an overhaul to get my practice of acupuncture to a place where it made me completely happy. The reality is that it may only take a few small tweaks–acupuncture for your practice–to make all the difference.