Sometimes I need to see the bigger picture.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?