Planting The Seeds For Success

I remember when I was in school at the New England School of Acupuncture; one of my teachers drew on the analogy of the body as a garden.

In this analogy, the future health and well-being of our patients is juxtaposed against the cultivation and support a master gardener gives to his/her garden.

Likewise, growing a healthy practice takes nurturing.

Give proper attention to your practice…and it will thrive.

Assume that it will take care of itself…and your practice will be overgrown with weeds.

Both the acupuncturist and the gardener are seeking the same outcome – a healthy and fruitful crop. In our case, the “crop” represents the health of our practice and patients.

Here are some “gardening” tips to support and nurture your practice:

You are no longer walking a patient through each treatment as they go, but providing them with the long-term vision of health under your care.

Patient education is “planting the seeds” for continued, long-term care!

Planting the Seed

Planting positive and strong seeds is vital to practice growth.

Your initial contact with patients – from the environment you create, reading materials, to the explanation of your first visit procedures and the implementation of them – can make or break a long term healing relationship.

Approach the first patient visit with clarity and balance.

Don’t offer too much information (it can overwhelm them), or too little (it can confuse them).

Just like under- or over-watering a new seed may inhibit its growth, choose to keep the initial session simple but informative.

In my first visits, I gathered all diagnostic information, and put together a Report of Findings(ROF) for them.

If you don’t know what a ROF is YOU MUST!

I strongly believe that giving an ROF to EVERY patient that walks into your practice is imperative!!

Learn more about the ROF here.

The first and second visits are the foundation for all future visits – in these visits, you are not only planting the seeds for the care they will receive from you now, but also future care – long-term, maintenance and wellness care.

Planting your seeds right from the get go, will reward you with stable and growing practice.


Sprouting the seed of health is a delicate process, yet it is the very foundation which supports a growing awareness in your patients.

After the initial session, your job as a gardener and cultivator is to present them with a clear outline, ie. the ROF, of what you have discovered and the type of care and treatment you will provide, while keeping them interested in the overall healing process.
As you apply Moxa or insert needles, ask them what they know about Qi, Jing or Shen.

Or explain the various benefits of Moxa.

Talk to them about the meridian points you are focusing on for their treatment and why you’ve chosen those particular points.

Share information about the seasons and how they affect the human body.
This information can help foster a growing awareness and interest of how acupuncture works to support long-term health and vitality.

What you are doing is sprouting the seeds of awareness with your patients through proper patient education.

Each visit, should be filled with tidbits and insights of what you do, or what the medicine is, or a new concept – something that makes them go “wow, cool, I had no idea!”


Re-evaluation – After a series of visits, you should conduct a re-evaluation.

A good time for this is after they have completed the first part of your treatment plan recommendations.
A re-evaluation will shed light on the care they have received from you and will help them see the progress they made while under your care. Review the notes from your initial ROF and discuss all of the changes that have occurred.
It’s easy for patients to forget about nagging symptoms and signs when they don’t experience them anymore.

With a re-evaluation, your patients will be able to truly see the benefits of your care, simply by acknowledging how things have changed.

This is also a great time to ask for referrals, especially if they have improved greatly while under your care.