How Do You KNOW What Your Patient Wants?

I frequently hear Acupuncturists object to longer term treatment, past the number of visits to solve the main symptom the patient came in for, insisting that “my patient just wants me to solve their low back pain, etc.”  Additionally, many Acupuncturists site their short treatment protocols as a point of pride, feeling that this demonstrates how much compassion they have for their patient’s budget, and how quickly they can resolve symptoms and how honorable they are not to “overtreat.”

But, what if they have other concerns?  What if you notice facial pallor indicating possible blood deficiency or lung qi deficiency?  What if you notice that there are deep, deficient pulses?  Is it in your patient’s best interest not to at least tell them of your findings and educate them on the ramifications if THEY ARE NOT TREATED?  How honourable is it to solve one symptom when these other signs you have observed will likely inevitably worsen with time, creating new symptoms that could have been avoided with your care?

After you solve their low back pain, did you offer to solve their other health complaints that you documented in your thorough health history?”  On average, patients have 50-65 symptoms!!  Yes, even patients in their 20’s.

Most patients are never given this “What’s next” option

or “How can we take my health to the next level?” 

How do you know what your patient wants if you don’t ask?

Additionally, it’s not up to the patient to know what they need medically!  They are coming to you for your professional advice.  They are not simply paying you to respond to their chief concern. In fact, this is one of THE MAIN complaints patients have about Western Medical practitioners and a major reason why they seek alternative medicine!  They want REAL SOLUTIONS and not just band-aid; they want to treat the root cause of their health.

  • You are the Practitioner.
  • You are the authority on health with knowledge of an entire medical system.
  • You have been given a license that you studied, trained and asked for, therefore you are obligated to uphold the tenets of your profession
  • You have a Professional Degree.


You may not have thought about this, but your license means you are not only licensed to mJune 24 2014 download 102ake a Chinese Medical diagnosis and formulate a Chinese Medical treatment protocol, but you are OBLIGATED to do so, by virtue of being licensed and holding therefore a Professional Degree.   You are obligated to give them your professional assessment of their entire health profile per your Professional Degree.  Yes, your license is a Professional Degree.

professional degree prepares the conferee for a particular profession by emphasizing skills and practical analysis over theory and research. Most but not all of the professions associated with professional degrees are professions that require licensing in order to practice as a professional in the field. Professions include: audiologyarchitecturedentistrydietetics; many fields of engineering; public education; lawmedicine (MDDO or MBBS)chiropracticpodiatric medicinenursingmedical laboratory sciencemusic therapyspeech language pathologyoccupationalphysical therapyoptometrypsychologypharmacyradiographysocial workurban planning; and veterinary medicine all require a person to first obtain a professional degree in the relevant subject area(s) prior to professional licensure, certification or registration.”

Given that you have a Professional Degree, just like an MD, and as such are licensed for “practical analysis” and to practice (which means taking action) as a “professional in the field,” you are obligated, just like an MD, to review all systems of the patient’s health and render your professional judgment based on your “practical analysis.”

How would you feel if you scheduled a paid appointment with your MD for your back pain, etc. and all he/she did was hand you pain pills without investigating why the pain occurred, only to discover later that you actually had a tumor creating the pain, or a kidney infection or some other, possibly life-threatening condition?  Yes, MDs practice this frequently and that is the very reason that patients complain about their doctors and WHY they instead come into our offices!!!  We are obligated to fully analyze their entire health status, and based on patient’s response and criticisms of Western Medicine, we know they WANT our full analysis.

The best way for a patient to continue care, giving you time to offer your best and deepest healing, is for them to recognize you as a Medical authority and trust your advice enough to follow it to the very end of the care they need.


Caroline & Bryan

P.S. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Are your services WORTH IT??

As an Acupuncturist, you are considered to have a “Professional Degree“, i.e. you are in a profession like chiropractors, nurses, physical therapists and architects which requires licensing to practice a specific profession requiring analysis.  This category does NOT require that you have your Doctorate.


You may find it interesting that the median (by the way, “median” is a better number to look at since “average” includes those with UBER high incomes as well as uber low.  “Median” is the number you get when you remove the uber high and low and then take an average of everyone left in the middle.) annual income for others with a professional degree is $88,530!

Additionally, remember that this figure reflects those receiving a “salary”, meaning that there is almost always a benefits package equal to about 30% of the salary which provides for paid vacation, paid holidays, health insPresentations 047urance and retirement.  So, $88,530 with a 30% addition to give you the same overall salary package as others with your skill set is $115,089.

Since most businesses have 50% of their revenue that has to go to overhead, rent, electricity, office supplies, etc…

Your practice should gross $230,178!

That’s the amount of total revenue your practice should gross to give you the median, i.e. just the middle-of-the-road income as your fellow Professionally degreed colleagues.  It’s now the low end, but it’s certainly not the high end.  This is what you should expect.

       …SHOCKER, RIGHT??

You and I know it’s not about the money.  We love to help.  There’s nothing better in the world than helping people.  The look of relief on their face when you’ve taken away the pain.  The family and friends that tell you they can’t believe the difference in the loved one you treated.  The woman whose husband came into our practice after our treatments for a month that said, “Thank You.  I didn’t believe in this and thought she was just wasting our money, but I don’t even know when she has her menstrual cycle now, because she’s always happy and it was tearing our marriage apart before.”  Those moments are precious and they’re really all the payment we need.  We’d do this for free.

Unfortunately, most of us almost do.

But our rent isn’t free and our education wasn’t free.  We have to eat and have a place to sleep like everyone else.  Why shouldn’t we be able to afford a home and save for retirement like everyone else?  Don’t you deserve it?  Haven’t you worked hard to earn it? And, what about the value of your services?  Aren’t they worth it?  What would you pay or pay for your husband or child to relieve their suffering?  What have you had to pay?

Money simply says, “I value this” and to what degree.  You don’t have to make the most, but why should you make the least?


Caroline & Bryan

 P.S. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!


FastTrack Your Acupuncture Business TODAY To SHOCK Yourself with Practice SUCCESS!!

Oh, oh, oh, but how to do it? Can it be DONE?? A resounding YES!!!

Do you remember hearing of the protocols in China when you were in school? How acute patients came in every day or several timedownload Aug 31 030s per week to get results? Have you read research reports on these same protocols being used throughout Asia? Yes? I thought so. So, why do you tell your patients to come back in a week for another treatment? And only one week at a time?

I heard long ago that as Chinese Medicine gained popularity in the 70’s, people were also seeing their therapist once per week and Chinese Medicine decided to ” go with the flow” and so implemented the once-per-week model, but that has never been a part of our medicine!

When a patient comes to you in pain and is suffering, should we offer them less than our best?? OF COURSE NOT!! So, tell them … what… they…need!

I always recommend a series of 3-6 treatments IN A ROW, or every other day at most, so WE can both see how your symptom responds.


I can not overstate the importance of this simple statement. Here’s what is packed into it:

1. Expectations: You do not, and therefore they should not, expect that only one treatment is going to solve their symptom!

2. Instant Authority Creation:  The fact is…YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING, but how does the patient know this? When you tell a patient that you have an established procedure for new patients to assess their Rate of Response, you will command instant respect!  YOU become the authority because you have established parameters and are showing that you know what you’re doing! This makes them pay attention and accept you as the authority. This is one of the premier moments in which they decide that YOU are the person they need in order to heal themselves.

3. Measurable Results: You establish that you EXPECT results and that those results are measurable!! (So, make sure you have a method of measuring before and after!)

4. Patient Partnership: You create a partnership with the patient. Because you said, “We can both see how your body responds”, you have included them and engaged them in looking at their symptom WITH you. This creates the atmosphere of trust, partnership, working together side-by-side. You have implied that you have knowledge but are not placing yourself above them, but by their side.

5. Cumulative Results: The effects of Acupuncture are cumulative! Don’t chiropractors and physical therapists ALL find the same thing? When’s the last time you went to the gym ONE TIME and had the body strength, flexibility and weight you wanted after that one visit?? NEVERRRRRR!

You first need repeated signals to stop the bad pathway/function, e.g. if liver yang is rising,you must descend it. But is that enough? NO!! Won’t it just rise again unless you solve why it rose in the first place??  YES!! So, now you have to solve the reason WHY it rose:

Did the yang rise because liver yin was deficient? Then, you must now nourish liver yin! What does that require??2014 (36)

  • Dietary modifications
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • More acupuncture
  • Chinese Medicine Botanicals (I prefer this term since we are licensed professionals and highly trained to prescribe these as an elevated art form and have, at a minimum, our Masters Degree; we’re not simply bringing in some “herbs” from the garden to put in a salad! …And, most importantly, our patients need to realize all of this via our language.)

WOW! That’s a lot of stuff that needs to happen! So, how many visits does this patient really need?? How many consults? How many acupuncture treatments? How much info for you to provide on diet and lifestyle?

Write down everything they need and present them with your recommendations.

Remember, your job is to give them your best! They may say they do or do not want this amount of care or can or can not afford it, but it is your duty to tell them what they need and then create a plan around what is doable for their desires, time and budget.

You will be surprised at how many patients will make a concerted effort for months and years to not only resolve their symptoms, but solve the reason why they happened, but this can only happen if you present them with the plan of the care that they need..

Caroline & Bryan

Medical Magnificence!

CATAPULT YOUR Acupuncture Business to the TOP! TIP #4:

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Caroline Burdulis, LAc during a consultation

Did you ever stop to think or tell your prospective patients HOW FABULOUS you are?? Unless you tell them, they don’t know that:

1. Acupuncture is only ONE modality of the Chinese Medical SYSTEM.

2. Chinese Medicine IS an ENTIRE Medical System, which, like Western Medicine, has developed MANY tools and in its toolbox are: acu, botanicals, tuina, diet and lifestyle knowledge, and QI Gong, and THE LIST GOES ON!!

3. This MEDICAL SYSTEM (and please start using this phrase daily in your practice as you speak with your patients!) has ITS own understanding of physiology, pathophysiology, disease, health, and diagnosis.

4. YOU do NOT need a Western Medical diagnosis, since YOU are highly trained and skilled in making an Initial Working Diagnosis based on Chinese Medical principles of analysis of symptoms and that YOU are going to ANALYZE and DIAGNOSE as you are LICENSED to do!
…..BE SURE TO TELL THEM THIS, explaining how you go about making a diagnosis and then the thought that goes into point selection. If you just give a treatment without this prelude, you lose the ability for them to appreciate the VALUE you have to offer. There will be less understanding and therefore less trust and you will not be seen as the authority they will want to accept protocols from.

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NCCAOM Diplomate of Oriental Medicine Certificate… achieved after completion of all 5 national examinations

5. You have been taught and shown proficiency in, through standardized NATIONAL TESTING, at least 3, or some of you 5, areas of an entire medical system that, just like Western Medicine, requires 4 years of full-time education!

5. Many of you have 3200 hours of training, the longest Masters program in the United States! TELL YOUR PATIENTS THIS AT YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT!


Caroline & Bryan

P.S.  We’d love to know what you’re thinking… so please leave a comment!


To Discount or Not to Discount: THAT is the Question

This is a tough one!

As practitioners, we are hard-wired to help people and generally have some of the biggest hearts on the PLANET! The last thing we think about is getting paid! Frequently, patients ask for a discount to our services or sliding scale or tell us they are stopping care or can’t start care due to lack of money and we therefore, take them at their word and want to offer a discount. Here’s a few things to consider:

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Bryan Watrous, LAc specializing in Pain Relief instructs a patient in the deeper understanding of the channel connections

What does discounting your price say about how you VALUE your services and will this affect your patient’s view of your value?? Unfortunately, our culture decides if something is good, bad or better BASED ON PRICE! For example, when was the last time you chose to see a gynecologist based on price? Did you decide on Chinese Medical School based on price or where you thought you would receive the best education? The vast majority of people, especially when it comes down to their health, will only VALUE your services based on what you charge.

Value is about perception and the more something costs, the more we perceive it as having value. It’s not about the money, but how it’s PERCEIVED as representing something WORTHwhile. Even this word, “Worthwhile” is a fabulous example of how the cost of a thing is worth doing it!! On the other hand, Low price… low value. In our culture, we often ask “is it WORTH it? This is the perfect phrase that illustrates my point. Frequently, we make decisions that are not comfortable economic choices BECAUSE IT’S WORTH IT!! I didn’t make the rules, I just know ’em.

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It’s easiest to consider the value of your services in a quiet place of solitude

Years ago, I had a gentleman tell me he had very little money and needed a discount. So, being a compassionate practitioner, I reduced my price by half for several months, at which time he ended care, only to have him return to care in 6 months telling me about how many symptoms he was having again “since he and his wife and 3 children had returned from their 3 week family in the Bahamas scuba diving every day!” By the way, I never would have guessed this gentleman had those resources given his demeanor and clothing.

Another example was a woman crying in my office about her pain, but not enough money and could I please reduce my fees, and then later had her come in paying in all cash “from the vault of money her husband keeps as a partner in a law firm!” Additionally, the husband had come in to her Report Of Findings dressed in old, torn shabby clothes, which was fine, but the point being that visually there was no way of knowing he was a partner in a law firm.


Caroline & Bryan

Confidence, Confidence, Confidence!

The Top 3 Reasons an Acupuncture Practice is Successful That You Would Never Guess and Cost NOTHING!!!
In real estate, they say “location, location, location.” But why?? Because no matter what house you buy or business you rent, it’s only as good as its location. For example, if you live in a fabulous mansion in the middle of the Sahara with no close acces to food and water…FORGET ABOUT IT!

But for a Chinese Medical practitioner, it’s CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE! No matter how amazing your acupuncture skills are or how perfect your diagnosis and bedside manner, if you can not stand up tall, with shoulders back and chin uplifted and with no hesitation, speak in a clear and precise manner, you will not be seen as the incredible practitioner you are! Your advice will not be heeded and there will be only a few patients that find their way to your door.
So stand in front of a mirror and practice! Stand on both feet, as you stand on the shoulders of the men and women who worked tirelessly for generations to create this outstanding body of knowledge. Breathe deeply as you breathe in the Qi of our ancestors. Speak with authority and confidence just as you practice with the engrained experience of your years in school.

If you do not feel this confidence yet, allow yourself to be an open channel for the ancients to speak through. They support you, you have the knowledge from them, YOU embody the medicine and have everything you need. Let our history simply flow through you and utilize your EXCITEMENT of what you know can be achieved TO PROJECT THIS BODY OF KNOWLEDGE!!

Gotta PEEP with Your Peeps!

The Number ONE Mistake Most Acupuncturists Made Today that will cause them Financial Despair, Forcing Them To Close Their Practice

People Who Need People

We are all about PEOPLE. Therefore, our ability to develop a relationship with our patients is absolutely essential. But how to do it??

…Practice makes perfect…

And, The only way to practice is to TALK with thousands of people from thousands of different backgrounds and socioeconomic situations. You see, and I never really thought about this until recently, …it’s not about us! We are so eager to help others and offer our knowledge and skills, that we may not have taken time to think about what our patients want and need and HOW they want our knowledge offered.

In other words, you and I have chosen to SERVE. We wanted to help other people, so we spent years studying and practicing and now have the knowledge. Unfortunately, we may not have developed all the social skills we need TO help others! Can we talk to the shy person as easily as the loud, irritable person? Can we help those who are very wealthy as easily as we help those who are very poor?


Our job is to be the person that our patient needs. If they are loud and boisterous, then we should reflect that same personality back to them as that is what they understand and appreciate and therefore can relate to, which gives us the best opportunity to help them! However, if they are shy and withdrawn, we should similarly speak more quietly and perhaps lean back in our chairs to be able to give them the space that they need. This will help them feel more comfortable to be themselves and feel comfortable confiding what they need to in order for us to help them from where they are psychologically and emotionally. It’s about our being who they need us to be so that we can helpB Tongue DX2 them and not being “who we are” because it’s not about us!!

So, it is ESSENTIAL to go to your computer first thing tomorrow morning and google “events” for your local area. Set up a booth, which can be as simple as a card table with a decent tablecloth, some business cards and a few brochures.

The key is to engage everyone that walks by.

I’ve found the best way to do this is to set up an easel with a giant picture of a tongue and ask passersby if they know that their tongue can tell you what symptoms they are likely suffering from.
As you speak with people, you will develop CONFIDENCE AND SKILLS you never realized you needed or that you could develop. It works like magic!


Caroline & Bryan

Creating Events that CRUSH IT!

Wow! I just spoke with a dear colleague who asked me how we were able to get so many new patients from the events we did! This is a really broad topic. There’s so much that goes into creating events that CRUSH IT!! But here are a few things to remember in terms of what’s called “mindset”.


Mindset is really about your mental perspective and preparation. By the way, did you realize you are selling yourself? That sounds weird to hear and feels uncomfortable to write, but this is a realization I had years ago and is a major reason why you will attract only a few people or a lot of people! People are really investing in YOU! Any patient that’s never been to an Acupuncturist before, will decide on you… based on YOU! It’s the amount of trust you inspire and the confidence you command, so it’s essential to address your state of mind before speaking to others at an event.2014 (47)

1. First of all, there’s nothing that’s more fun! You have the chance to talk with HUNDREDS of people! You might think this sounds TERRIFYING!!! But, think of it as an opportunity to hone your skills. Since I include Tongue examination, I get to see hundreds of tongues at events. This has dramatically improved my range of knowledge (I’ve seen things I NEVER saw in our textbooks!!) and my ability to correlate tongue patterns with symptoms.

By the way, super important, when you’re having fun with this, they’re having fun and will feel a connection with you, since you inspired this emotion, which makes them eager to work with you!

2. EXCITEMENT!!! This is CONTAGIOUS and CRITICAL!! If you’re not excited and passionate and able to convey that to this new person, a gem that you have the opportunity to polish and watch as you help bring them to their full potential of radiance, they won’t get excited about working with you!

3. So, DO NOT try to “sell” to them! Don’t sell them on you or the medicine.



In Fact, trying to “sell” or simply being too anxious to help will make them suspicious and push them away.  Remember the first few dates you had with a really nice guy you likely would have otherwise liked, accept for the fact that he was just too anxious and eager?  We always want what is just beyond our grasp, so be “cool” and relatively neutral.  You can still be excited about what you do but NOT OVERLY excited to have them make an appointment.

The good news is YOU DON’T HAVE TO! Simply tell them how much you know, how long you’ve trained and the amazing things the medicine can do and share with them what you see on their Tongue. Your passion and confidence will be irresistible.


I get really pumped up and start the event by listening to some of my favorite music that gets me excited and dancing and singing at the top of my voice! Of course, this is on the way to the event and I’m sure my fellow drivers think I’m nuts! Gyrating wildly with arms in the air!! It’s embarrassing… you get the picture.

So, remember, before your next event or speaking engagement or even before seeing the next new patient:

1. Listen to your favorite, “get pumped up” music, dance around wildly to get the Qi flowing and build your excitement and energy!
3. Relax and HAVE FUN with it!
and finally…

4. KNOW THAT YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY 5000 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE!! Visualize the thousands of practitioners that poured the hearts and souls into this profound MEDICAL SYSTEM surrounding you with the GOLDEN LIGHT OF KNOWLEDGE and then just let it all pour out!!

Here’s to your SUCCESS!!
Caroline & Bryan