Building Bridges–Part 2 5/5 (39)

Do you get referrals from chiropractors? If not, then you are missing out on a valuable referral source. I actually get quite a few each month. This may sound surprising, but I really do.

Most chiropractors are obviously capable of taking care of musculoskeletal pain conditions on their own, so why would they refer patients to, ME, the acupuncturist?

A few weeks back, I shared a blog post entitled: Building Bridges. In this post, we talked about building relationships with medical doctors in your community. Today, I’m going to talk about an EASY way to build a bridge between your office and the chiropractic office down the street.

Developing a relationship with chiropractors can be tough for acupuncturists because both practitioners treat a lot of the same musculoskeletal type conditions. I’ve figured out how to create a mutually beneficial relationship between acupuncturists and chiropractors that works REALLY well.

Step 1: Educate the Chiropractor

Take the time to educate chiropractors in your area regarding the benefits of cupping. Typically, chiropractors are not trained in cupping. Patients who have a lot of built-up tension in their muscles may not respond well to chiropractic. Often, the first step in treatment is to relieve muscle tension so that an adjustment can be more effective.

Create a one page information sheet regarding the benefits of cupping, along with an explanation of how this modality can benefit chiropractors–especially chronic pain patients who are not progressing with treatment as planned. Make sure to include your contact information along with a stack of business cards.

Step 2: Treat the Referral

On the first visit, I do a full evaluation and include my favorite “Musculoskeletal Tension Release” protocol. This treatment includes cupping along the spine, sliding cups around the shoulder blades and needles to release the trigger points in shoulders, back and legs. The goal for treatment is simply to open the channels, relieve muscle tension and resolve stagnation to enhance further chiropractic treatments.

Patients LOVE cupping because they feel great afterwards. Cupping doesn’t lie. When redness comes to the surface, it shows each patient exactly where tension is being held in the body, and becomes a visual reminder of the work that was done once they leave the office. After patients experience a cupping session, they become aware of how muscle tension was affecting their body, and often call requesting cupping when tension returns in the future.

And of course, EVERYONE plays show and tell after a cupping session–so make sure that you send extra business cards home with the patient. Easy referral, right?

Step 3: Send the Patient Back to the Chiropractor

Instruct the patient to return to the chiropractor within a day or two of your treatment. It has been my experience that chiropractic adjustments become more effective once the channels are open and the muscle tension is relieved. Both the patient and the chiropractor will be impressed because the next chiropractic adjustment will more than likely be more effective–which makes this referral a win/win situation for everyone.

Step 4: Follow up with a Graph Analysis/Report of Findings

Once you have permission from your patient to communicate with the chiropractor regarding his/her care, send a graph analysis in an email to the chiropractor with a quick analysis of your AcuGraph findings.

By educating healthcare providers in your area regarding health conditions that you can help with, you become an easy referral for them. Defining your role as a “Complimentary Medicine” doctor in the eyes of local chiropractors allows you to build a professional bridge between your office and theirs.

I guarantee that your patients will go back and give a positive report–which will allow you to strengthen that bridge even further.

Have a great week!

Please rate this



Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac.

Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac. is a US licensed acupuncturist in the state of Idaho and certified in the treatment of acupuncture, Oriental medicine and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Kimberly wears multiple hats in the acupuncture community. She owns her private clinic, Meridian Family Acupuncture. She has spent the last 10 years working for Miridia Technology as an acupuncture Research Analyst–where she helps plan, develop, and integrate modern diagnostic and treatment tools for the ever-evolving scientific world of acupuncture. Kimberly is a world-renown teacher, blogger, columnist, and mentor in the acupuncture community.

So, what do you think about it?