I’m a big advocate for having new patients commit to a series of acupuncture visits. In general, I don’t think that one visit is enough for someone to decide whether or not acupuncture REALLY works. My perspective comes with years of experience. I have to admit that in my early years, I didn’t yet have the wisdom to know the value of a treatment series.
To be honest, if a new patient isn’t willing to commit to at least four visits, as healing is a journey, they really aren’t the right fit for my practice.
Keep reading and I’ll give you a real life example of WHY treatment series are so valuable.
1. Acupuncture Treatments are Cumulative in Nature
Typically, a patient comes in because of a specific chief complaint, but the reality is that they have a LOT of imbalances. When a patient has a lot of imbalances, the body has to direct qi toward creating balance before the chief complaint can fully resolve.
This means that to achieve long term results for the patient, it will take more than a visit or two to fully resolve the chief complaint. Why? Because of the cumulative nature of acupuncture, and the relationship of one imbalance/source of pain to the other. I always tell my patients to expect progress throughout their journeys. I explain to them that if we can get a half day of relief after the first visit, we can get more out of the next, etc.
2. First Patient Visits are HARD Work
New patient visits take a lot longer than follow-up visits. In my clinic, a new patient is with me for 90 minutes. There are many steps in the new patient process.
- Taking pre-appointment phone calls to answer the patient’s questions
- Setting the patient up in my electronic health records system
- Sending pre-appointment emails and reminders
- Filling out the new patient paperwork
- Completing the intake and evaluation
- Conducting an AcuGraph exam
- Equipping the patient with educational materials
- Treating the patient
- Setting up subsequent appointments in their series
If I treated new patients all day long without the expectation that they would return, I would be exhausted at the end of the day.
My new patients are taught from the beginning that treatment takes time.
The first conversation I have with any new patient typically goes something like this:
“The imbalances in your body have led to the symptoms which brought you through my door. I’m really glad you are here and that you are ready to make some changes in your life. These imbalances have been here for awhile, so it will take a little bit of time to work through them.“
“In my experience, we’ll begin to see substantial, longer lasting results within 4-6 visits. I’ll treat you right now, and then we will look ahead and book your series of visits. My schedule is pretty full, so we’ll need to book your entire series in advance. I’ll graph you with AcuGraph each time you come for treatment so we can watch your progress. At the end of our series, we’ll evaluate how far you have come, and I’ll make recommendations for next steps based on your progress.”
3. Watch Progress and Adjust your Treatment Accordingly
During the course of the patient’s treatment series, I’ll expect to see changes in their AcuGraph graphs. The graph, and resolution of symptoms, will indicate whether or not my treatment plan is working.
Sometimes the graph is stubborn and I need to get creative in my treatment plan. Creativity may include:
- A different treatment modality—body, muscular, ear, etc.
- A different treatment tool—needles, laser, electroacupuncture, Pointoselect, cupping, gua sha, tui na, etc.
- Herbs and supplements
- Topical herbal liniments
It’s hard to estimate exactly what the patient will need on their first visit. If you book them for a series, you’ll have room for creativity.
4. Watch for Patterns to Evolve
Take a look at this patient on her second visit. As promised, I re-graphed her on her second visit to see how well she had progressed. She did great.
As you can see, the graph now matched her symptoms perfectly. The “extra” imbalances had resolved. I could confidently tell this patient that she was going to get better results today than she did on her first visit.
Do you know why?
At this point, her body didn’t have to resolve the array of imbalances that were present on her initial visit.
When I do a root treatment to balance the graph and a branch treatment to focus on the patient’s symptoms, I can expect even better results.
5. The Patient KNOWS that Acupuncture Works
Here’s how the treatment series progressed.
Do you think this patient has any doubt as to whether or not acupuncture works?
On treatment #4 she gave a glorious report. Not only had her neck and shoulder pain resolved, but her symptoms of tinnitus were down by 50%. She also noted that her energy levels were better, sleep was better, and her general outlook on life had improved.
The graph speaks for itself.
In reality, this was a team effort. She committed to her health and gave me the time that I needed to resolve her problem. I gave her my best through the series and adjusted treatment as needed.
6. Transition From Acute Care to Wellness Care
The patient in the example I gave is ready to become a wellness patient. Wellness patients are fun to treat! Honestly, they are the bread and butter of a clinic.
In my experience, once a patient is educated through the initial series, they often become patients for life. Many of these patients are proactive and come in for monthly wellness visits—before they ever start experiencing symptoms.
Others step away for awhile until their body starts talking to them again, which is perfectly fine as well. The key is, they come back.
Why do they come back?
Because they KNOW acupuncture works. You trained them well with AcuGraph!
7. AcuGraph: The KEY to Wellness Patients
The truth is, your patients don’t understand how acupuncture works, or how it can help them. The beauty of the AcuGraph Digital Meridian Imaging System is that it takes the confusion and mystery out of acupuncture, helps your patients “see the chi”, and creates raving fans who value acupuncture and refer you to friends and family.
How AcuGraph Works
AcuGraph allows you to conduct a simple, 2-minute exam, during which you’ll measure electrical skin resistance at acupuncture source points. From the data, AcuGraph creates a straightforward graphical representation of your patient’s meridian energetics (chi). Using the graph, you can explain exactly what’s wrong in a way that your patient will understand. As an added bonus, AcuGraph gives you treatment insight and suggestions that you can add into your treatment workflow to help balance the graph. Over time, AcuGraph demonstrates how you’re helping, and provides proof of results.
In a world where patients have been conditioned to trust x-rays, scans and tests, AcuGraph is the key to convert patients to your care, and skyrocket your practice success.
Are you utilizing the power of AcuGraph and a treatment series in your clinic? Take it from a girl with experience: It’s worth it!
AcuGraph even comes with a patient education video built right into the software that you can show first-time patients. This video was created specifically to help YOU educate patients about how acupuncture works, and AcuGraph, and help them commit to your care from visit #1.
You can watch the AcuGraph patient education video below.
Curious if AcuGraph is Right for You?
If you’re curious if AcuGraph is right for you, you’ve taken the first step toward revolutionizing your practice and having a database of patients who are committed to you and your care. Bravo!
Here’s what you should do next.
These resources will help you understand how AcuGraph works and whether AcuGraph will be a good fit for your practice. If you’re already convinced AcuGraph is what you need, you can click the link below to set up an online consultation with Dr. Adrian Larsen, the creator of AcuGraph. Dr. Larsen will give you personal, dedicated time to answer your specific questions, walk you through the software, or help in any way he can.
Schedule your Online AcuGraph Consultation Here:
AcuGraph not only gives you better intelligence for better treatments, but also attracts and keeps patients with objective proof and confident communication.
AcuGraph IS evidence-based acupuncture!
I hope AcuGraph is a blessing in your life like it has been for the practitioners below. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at +1 208.846.8448. If I’m not in the office, please leave me a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
Since I have brought the AcuGraph into my practice, I have seen my patient retention rate skyrocket! My patients are so interested in seeing how their “energetic body” actually works. Before using the AcuGraph, my consultation times were around 30 minutes with treatment explanations, etc. Now, I let the AcuGraph do it for me and I’m down to 10–15 minute consults and an extra 2–3 hours each day to see patients.
This was the best investment I have made in my practice in over 5 years.
—Ryan Lombardo, L.Ac.
I love the new AcuGraph program. Whenever I conduct external marketing programs, I ALWAYS use my AcuGraph program. It gets people past the needle concern and into the door. With one health fair alone, I was able to get 8 new patients in 2 hours.
This program is an excellent tool for any clinic, established or new.
—Jeffrey Grossman, L.Ac.
AcuGraph is so good for so many different things—from marketing, to credibility, to giving me different insights into treatments and things I might not have seen with people, like belt blocks. I would definitely recommend AcuGraph as a great tool for so many different reasons for anybody practicing acupuncture.
My new patients are impressed that I use so many different diagnostic procedures and that they can really relate to AcuGraph. They find it very interesting.
—Kathy Castrigno, L.Ac.
Dear AcuGraph, THANK YOU, THANK YOU and THANK YOU. Last month, we promoted acupuncture exams and treatment by asking patients “What was their CHI number?”. Immediately, I had patients and their friends making appointments to be examined by the AcuGraph to get their CHI number, or as your company states it: your P.I.E. score.
Explaining the patient imbalances with a single number makes life easier for both the patient and me. It was uncanny how the imbalances that the AcuGraph measured correlated with my patient’s symptoms or concerns.
In addition, the ability to help find acupuncture points with the point finder has given me a greater level of confidence that my examinations are accurate.
I have been using the recommended treatment screen from AcuGraph and every single one of my patients has responded with an increase in the P.I.E. score and are feeling better. I have been practicing Chiropractic for 15 years; AcuGraph has given me a new CHI in the way I practice. I have been able to help my patients in ways that I could not previously.
In short, AcuGraph is portable, easy to use, has professional looking screens and reports, is doctor and patient friendly and best of all, it has paid for itself through an increase in new and existing patients.
—Howard Fern, D.C., FIAMA