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(3 pages total)

Is Your Acupuncture Clinic Scaring Patients Away? by Charles Christopher

Do you hear that muffled gasp and the sound of footsteps fading down the hall? It’s your clinic door squeaking closed on the patient you’ll never see. She took one look at that framed orca whale print—you know, the one you bought at the onramp to the Tehachapi Freeway—and smelled that moldy naugahyde sofa (the one you should have dumped at the onramp to the Tehachapi Freeway), and she spun around on her patent leather Ferragamos, hightailing it right out of there. That’s right; this potential patient chose Plan B, which was to drown her menstrual cramps in a Starbucks mocha latte with a Midol chaser.

Like many acupuncturists, you shrug your shoulders in response, mumbling about the impossibility of pleasing everybody. There’s no accounting for taste, you say, gulping down your scorpion placenta tea. If that patient was looking for a fancy office she didn’t belong here anyway. Besides, she would have been horribly demanding, a serious drain on your “giving” nature. And you’re probably right. But while your criticism of this woman might be apt, it won’t help you pay the rent. A selfless, “giving” nature is a nice asset, God knows, but developing a sensible “getting” nature means you can stop counting paper clips. Self-righteousness won’t keep the lights burning. And if you’d find room in your heart for those “demanding” patients, you might find they become your most enthusiastic and appreciative patrons.

So let’s analyze what propelled your potential patient out the door. Your hopelessly out-of-date sofa (yes they do go out of style) with its dark, stain-concealing color, seems eager for its own End of Days, when it can give up those tarry splotches to the Holy Hereafter. And the “art” on the walls? Well, it violates a basic principle: office art should be either utilitarian (meridian charts) or so pleasantly innocuous that patients rarely notice it. Framed, inane phrases such as, “When we all work together as a team, we can get where we couldn’t otherwise get alone,” inspire no one. Doctors and employers, astoundingly, don’t seem to realize how transparent these bullying sentiments are. Studies show that these posters, with their manipulative messages written across dusky-hued pics of rowing teams, rock climbers and leaping dolphins, generate nothing but hostility. In either case, aluminum picture frames belong in the trash. Also dumpster-worthy are terrariums, dream catchers, autographed photos of Telly Savalas, knitted Afghans and anything resembling cute, pudgy, hairless kittens standing on hind legs, mouthing an eerie “Hello!” In short, if your office looks like an explosion in a tchotchke factory, it’s time for a garage sale.

So, how do you know if your office needs a make-over? Simply take this little personality test:


1. Chenille is:
A: A tufted fabric evocative of wisteria-scented autumnal morning trots down leafy horse trails in The Hamptons
B: A basketball star


2. Birkenstocks and dangly earrings are appropriate attire for:
A: An electroshock treatment
B: An acupuncturist

If you answered “A” to these questions, you’re doing just fine and you don’t need my advice; put down this article and go decoupage something. If you answered “B,” you’d better read on.

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