Have you Noticed these 5 Trends in Acupuncture? 5/5 (44)

Sometimes I need to see the bigger picture.growth2

I’m reminded of the story of the logger who is so busy working in the forest, harvesting and hauling trees, that he never takes time to stop and consider the forest itself.

So from time to time, I like to take a step back from my day-to-day work and consider the acupuncture profession in general. I’ve worked in and around the profession for the last 14 years, which doesn’t make me the most experienced voice out there, but I do have unique insight from working in the specific areas of my expertise.

As I’ve watched the profession grow and evolve over the years, I’ve noticed the following five trends emerging and growing among acupuncture professionals:

  1. Technology Use: Since I develop technology products for acupuncture, this is an area I watch closely. I’m pleased to report that technology use seems to be increasing among acupuncture professionals. The mixture of traditional wisdom with cutting-edge tools seems to be gaining wider acceptance among practitioners–catching up, I think, with acceptance among patients. Since patients like and trust technology in general, it’s nice to see practitioners adopting new tools. This is a positive move, in my opinion, that leads to better outcomes for everyone.
  2. Marketing Savvy: I’ve seen a trend toward better and more effective marketing by acupuncture professionals. Web, email, social media, and even traditional methods are proving more effective as acupuncturists find their voice, message, and tools to spread the word. This is a crucial area for any successful practice, and one that is often not well served by acupuncture education.
  3. Cash Practice: For a few years there, insurance was almost starting to look like a viable option for acupuncturists, as some insurance plans began offering acupuncture coverage. However, with the recent major upheavals in the insurance industry, and decreasing reimbursement rates, insurance is not looking as promising as it once did. The trend I see is more practitioners running a straight cash practice, selling treatment packages, and offering payment plans. I think this is a good thing, as we see the ongoing erosion and destabilization of the insurance industry.
  4. Broadening Technique: I’ve noticed a trend of more practitioners adding techniques to their repertoire. Along with TCM acupuncture, I’m seeing increased use of auriculotherapy, meridian balancing, five elements, hand therapy, and so forth. This goes hand in hand with marketing to treat specific conditions. No question, a broader set of skills is a boon to practice.
  5. Spa Services: I’ve noticed a trend of Acupuncture being offered as a spa service, either in conjunction with an existing spa, or as a spa experience by itself. Beyond mere pain control, acupuncture is being marketed for stress relief, weight loss, relaxation, energy enhancement, and beauty. Tapping into the spa crowd offers a new market filled with those who are both curious and willing to spend money feeling better.

So there’s my list of trends.

  • What are your thoughts?
  • Have you noticed similar trends? Or others?
  • Do you see things going opposite of the way I do?

I’m interested in your input. Leave comments below.

Please rate this



Dr. Adrian Larsen

Adrian P. Larsen, D.C., F.A.S.A., C.Ac. Dr. Larsen is President of Miridia Technology Inc., and one of the developers of the AcuGraph Digital Meridian Imaging system. He currently divides his time between research, product development, and teaching. Dr. Larsen also holds certifications in Applied Kinesiology and CPK, and has specialized training in SOT and craniopathy. He, his wife, and 7 children reside in Meridian, Idaho.

8 Replies to “Have you Noticed these 5 Trends in Acupuncture?

  1. 1- Integration both inside and outside the office.

    Trends in acupuncture start with integration, often the acupuncturist is aligned with someone or someone else which tells the whole story of health both in the office and out of the office. There is an explosion of these options from supplements to magnets to home applications of energy patches.

    Actually what is pragmatic or “what brings results” has always been a part of Chinese Medicine. I’ve been told by a practitioner that in China they did not ask for pay unless the patient actually got better. That is a standard of ancient China that has disappeared over the years. Today some supplement providers are brinnging back a guarantee on their product.

    2- More providers under one roof

    Why isn’t acupuncture enough? I think because we are becoming more full service providers like overseas. Acupuncture has often been in the context of tui na, herbs, cupping, moxabustion, food for health, and qi qong. And that is not even a complete list. Simply the explosion of wellness clinics or wellness centers tells this story. Most things that aid the body in healing itself can be used in parallel. Even doctors are starting wellness centers.

    3- Trend towards more people who are chronically ill.

    Why? Partially because the need for acupuncture and other healthy alternatives has never been higher. Our society eats cooked or processed food almost exclusively. It is the story of Pottenger’s cats coming true all around us from a study right out of the 1930s. So the trend is more diabetes, more arthritis, more lupus, more MS, more chronic disease mixed in with a society with more obesity and worse outcome from trauma. This is a perfect setting for acupuncture!

    In fact, one of my first studies in clinic was using acupuncture in Rady Children’s hospital for cancer. It was a perfect fit. It is rather humorous that today we have so much opposition to using diet, acupuncture, or even supplements to cancer treatments because the evidence based studies overwhelming favor a kinder, gentler treatment for cancer.

    4- More people willing to use alternative treatments for health.

    This brings me to my next trend which is a desire to use alternative methods of healing the body. Simply the number of health food stores across the country, and the amount of organic food being sold in ordinary food stores is telling of this trend. More people are willing to question the medical methods and consider the alternative.

    5- A plethera of healing choices.

    Along with this explosion of alternatives has come the difficulty of which one is best. I see parents struggling with special diets for themselves and their children. I see them spending $300 or more a month in supplements. I sometimes see people giving up because of the cost or the difficulty in following a new, stricter regimen.

    Where is the blue plate special of health? It is there but you must search for it. Not every regimen is the only solution for a problem. Yes, you can take 15,000 units of vitamin C intravenously or place your blood in a container which is cleansed with ultraviolet light and put back into your body … or you can balance your body. Lasers penetrate capillaries and cleanse the blood much cheaper than the IV course. Vitamin C in the ribose channel like BioEnergy C is fairly easily taken in a glass of water verses an expensive IV. Sometimes it is best to take enzymes to get the body to begin absorbing vitamins and minerals verses stacking up huge amounts of individual portions.

    I think acupuncture will continue to bring to the table a middle of the road, easy to administer solution that almost always works immediately. And I think herbs continue to be a synergistic approach to the body that complements highly this down to earth medicine. And I think over the counter solutions will continue to explode including a healthy dose of therapeutic enzymes which like acupuncture seem to make almost any treatment work better.

    1. Wow, excellent insights David! It’s certainly a different market than it was ten years ago. And you’re right–acupuncture has a lot to offer in this arena!

  2. 5. Spa services. I haven’t really researched it but I find this industry/demographic growth surprising. Perhaps because I have a bias of using Chinese “medicine” at a “spa”. I tried working out of a spa with massage therapists and estheticians for about 6 months and just didn’t find it to be professional enough. Wondering if medispas are influencing this trend?

    1. I’m not sure I’m thrilled with the idea that acupuncture is offered as a spa service, rather than health care, but it is definitely part of the market now.

  3. Yes. I agree SPA is a field where good lot of openings are
    available for Acupuncture Spa, especially in ships.
    Thanks for all your 5 trends.


    1. And acupuncture is EXPENSIVE on cruise ships. It’s interesting that it seems to do enough business to become a fixture there. That tells me there are curious people out there willing to spend a lot of money to feel better.

  4. Thank you for this inspiring article. I find that patients love to have a multitude of methods performed by one practitioner as opposed to being referred to several outside methods.

    I developed a system called electronic medicine that includes a multitude of methods. I use Acugraph within this system first because it is electronic, so fits within my system, but also because Adrian and his team are well ahead of the game. I have another meridian imaging tool but Acugraph and the team surrounding it are far superior. If I just need a quick fix for a visiting friend, Acugraph has a full bunch of protocols. Acugraph also offers the facility of visualising the spine and using auricular therapy together with stimplus pro (keeping everything electronic) as part of a session. Instead of seating in one place, my patients are directed on 3 to 5 stations within the same room. It is similar to referring them to different practitioners in different buildings, but, with me, it is done by one practitioner in the same room. I have 5 tables with a laptop on each placed around the room and a sofa. Each table has a different electronic platform such as iriscopy on one table, Acugraph on another, QMRS on another, etc… the sofa is for the patient to lay down so that I can use electronic equipment on his back, using acugraph to accurately determine areas.

    The patient loves to be moved from one place to another and see different techniques being used to scan the condition and sort it out.

    Hope this help

    Best regards

So, what do you think about it?