TCM: The Honest Acupuncturist
Can you make me quit smoking?
Can you fix my sciatica?
Can you get rid of my eczema?
I have found in my years of practice that most acupuncturists will blankly say 'Yes' to these questions. I don't.
I call myself the 'honest acupuncturist' and will be the first one to tell a potential patient my unofficial self-appointed title. They usually laugh and I explain:
I can't make you do anything you don't want to do. Do you like smoking? Is it something you enjoy? Because if it's you versus my acupuncture - or you versus my herbs - you win. Every time. So when you're ready to quit smoking, I will help you by reducing cravings and have you butt out earlier because you don't like the taste and smell as much. You'll also need to call the Canadian Cancer Society and plan a quit with them. They offer great counselling services which are beyond my scope of practice. I would like to see you once a week for 10 weeks.
I have a good track record with sciatica; however, how long have you had it? It is going down your leg? What part of your leg? Where does the pain start? How severe would you rate your pain? Most sciatic pain seems to respond well between 8-10 treatments, but we will know how you respond after 1-3 treatments. After you start to feel better, I will recommend we back off to bi-weekly and then monthly. You may need monthly or seasonal maintenance as sciatica often affects people in the spring and fall.
Eczema is very difficult to treat with acupuncture alone and most skin conditions take up to 30 treatments before seeing any difference. I would like to see you monthly, prescribe Chinese medicine dietary recommendations, herbs if you're open to that, and I think you're biggest bang for your buck is to see a Naturopathic Doctor.
...be honest with your patients. I always get positive feedback from a potential patient. Even if they don't become a patient of mine, they always seem to reciprocate the honesty - usually by recommending me!