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Acupuncture Today – February, 2012, Vol. 13, Issue 02

The Expanding Acupuncture Practice

Trend to Add New Products & Services Remains Strong

By Editorial Staff

The average acupuncture practice in the United States is changing. The trend of acupuncturists adding new products and services to their practice continues to rise at a fast pace.

An e-mail survey conducted in December 2011 found that 60 % of those acupuncturists surveyed were expected to sell products to half or more of their patients.

Approximately 51 % of those in the profession are expected to increase the products and services they offered to their patients. What is motivating practitioners?

Acupuncturist Alex S. of Seattle, Wash. said:

"Increasing the range of what I offer allows choice and tailoring for my patients. If they purchase products from me, they know that they can trust that they are buying the appropriate products."

When asked why acupuncturists should introduce new products and services to their patients, survey participant Sarah of Beverly Hills, Calif. noted:

"It is important that the patients have many options to optimize their health. It encourages them to actively participate in their own wellness journey. Also, it increases my resourcefulness and effectiveness of my clinical work."

The December 2011 survey found that how acupuncturists discover and learn about new products and services for their patients actually depends on their years in practice:

  • Less than 5 Years – from colleagues and at conventions
  • 5 to 9 years – from colleagues and the Internet
  • 10 to 14 years – from trade publications/colleagues
  • 15 to 19 years – from the Internet and trade publications/colleagues
  • 20 to 24 years – from colleagues and the Internet
  • More than 25 years – from the Internet and colleagues

Approximately 21% of acupuncturists surveyed offer products to "almost all" of their patients, with 22% offering products to half or more. The trend towards offering products to patients increases with experience and years in practice. The longer in practice, the more patients they offer products to.

There are a number of product and services that a significant percentage of doctors report that they are considering adding to their practice in the future. Some of these represent a significant increase in the percentage of acupuncturists already offering these products and services:

New Products/Services Current Use Considering Offering
Weight Loss Products 31% 10%
Rehab Products 12% 13%
Laser Products 8% 6%
Homeopathic Remedies 38% 11%
Anti-Aging Products & Services 27% 12%
Topical Analgesics 66% 9%
Herbs 86% 4%

The decision by more acupuncturists to offer weight loss products to their patients coincides with the increasing overweight and obesity problem in the United States. Doctors are recognizing the impact on patient health and looking for ways to address it.

Likewise, as the demand for anti-aging products and services increase more doctors will be looking for natural ways to extend vitality and youthfulness. This could potentially spark an interest in offering aesthetic products and services in the future.

Other products, such as homeopathic remedies and topical analgesics reflect natural choices to increase recovery, combat pain and increase wellness. With more half of the profession embracing the use of topical analgesics and another 9% looking to add them to their practice, topical analgesics could potentially rival rehab products in the next decade.

When asked what other products or services they currently offer or would like to offer to their patients, a number of acupuncturists mentioned: acupuncture, nutritional counseling, exercise tools and spa products.

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